Dorset is a dog-loving county and welcomes four-legged visitors to most beaches, cafés, pubs and restaurants.

However, while a few beaches in and around Swanage and Purbeck allow dogs all year round it’s good to know that most areas have a restriction on certain beaches, or sections of beach during the summer months – typically between 1 May and 30 September.

Guide and assistance dogs wearing appropriate livery are welcome at all beaches all year round.

Dogs on knoll beach and person looking toward old harry rocks

Dog walkers at Knoll Beach in Studland

All year round

Various beaches in Purbeck are dog-friendly all year round:

  • Swanage – Monkey Beach, located at the southern end of town, close to the Victorian pier, and parts of North Beach accept dogs throughout the year
  • LulworthLulworth Cove, Durdle Door and Man O’ War Bay. Note that these can be very busy during school holidays and summer, and the walks to Durdle Door and Man O’ War Bay have high cliffs, so dogs should be kept on a lead.
  • Tyneham – The beaches close to the abandoned Tyneham village are quiet and dog-friendly year-round. Worbarrow Bay and Pondfield Cove make for a tranquil stroll
  • Kimmeridge Bay – The fossil-rich rocky strand of Kimmeridge Bay is dog-friendly
  • Worth Matravers – The nearest beach to Worth Matravers is Chapman’s Pool – its relatively remote location means dogs can explore here off-lead all year
  • Arne – There is a small, sandy beach on Poole Harbour, Shipstal Beach, within the RSPB Nature Reserve, which allows dogs throughout the year. Dogs should be kept on a lead here

May – September on a lead

Couple walking along Middle Beach in Studland

Middle Beach, Studland

Dogs are allowed on the beaches of Studland Bay year-round, however between 1 May and 30 September they must be on a two-metre lead.

The main beaches at Studland are Knoll Beach, South Beach, Middle Beach and Shell Bay, and there are plenty of other walks connecting to these throughout Studland and Godlingston Heath, and up to breathtaking cliff walks, such as the famous Old Harry Rocks.

May – September ban

Seasonal no dogs on Swanage Beach sign

There is a seasonal dog ban on Swanage’s main beach

  • Central Beach, Swanage – the main beach in Swanage has a dog-ban during this peak season.

Between 1 May and 30 September, dogs are banned from Swanage’s main beach, however the rest of the year they are welcome there.

Further along toward North Beach, dogs are welcome all year, and the small Monkey Beach at the southern end of the bay near the pier, dogs are also welcome year-round.

Visitors are asked to always clean up after their dog.