Whilst bucket and spade and an ice cream is the perfect combination for a beach day, these are the beaches we recommend if you want to get active or need something more adventurous for older kids.
Durdle Door is symbolic of the Dorset section of the South West Coast Path. It’s a steep walk down from the car park but it’s worth the effort. The beach to the left of the Door, Man-O-War Bay, is better for swimming as it is more sheltered. Go early or later to avoid the crowds. Take a yomp over the hill to next door Lulworth Cove – another natural wonder of the Jurassic Coast – to pick up some fish for supper.
Sandbanks in Poole Harbour is our nearest beach, a lovely stretch of golden sand dotted with cafes and restaurants. The sheltered harbour is perfect for water sports or you can catch the ferry across to Studland or Brown Sea Island. Studland Beach and Nature Reserve is a beautiful four mile stretch of soft sand with gently shelving bathing waters. The reserve is managed by the National Trust and there are facilities on all four beaches as well as beach hut hire, water sports, bike hire and pedalos.
If you are after a spot of rock pooling or fossil hunting head to Kimmeridge which also has an underwater nature trail snorkel route. The Dorset Wildlife Trust Fine Marine Centre at the end of the bay has interactive displays and aquaria providing a fascinating and vital source of information, encouraging all ages to explore the bay, its ledges and rockpools. Walk up to Clavell Tower for spectacular views over the bay.
Chapman’s Pool isn’t one for the faint hearted. It’s a steep climb down to this wild beach carved out of a ravine but once you’re there you are almost guaranteed to have the place to yourself. Nearby Dancing Ledge has a natural sea pool and is a popular spot for coasteering.