Knoll Beach is the largest and most well-known beach at Studland Bay.

Popular with families and watersports enthusiasts, Knoll Beach is also home to a wide variety of wildlife, with its sand dune, wetland and woodland habitats backing the stunning sandy beach.

With its National Trust café, Discovery Centre, walking trails and beach-side activities, Knoll Beach has everything for an entire day out. 

Note that, during the summer there is a dedicated swimmers’ area at Knoll Beach, however lifeguards are not on duty at any of Studland Bay‘s beaches.

Watersports

Knoll Beach offers a range of water-based activities throughout the year round (weather and sea state dependent).

Watersports hut at Knoll Beach in Studland

Studland Watersports hut

Studland Watersports activities

Primarily operating in the summer months through to September, and across Easter school holidays, activities at Studland Watersports offers something for the whole family across a range of ages including:

  • Kayaking and paddle boarding
  • Sailing and windsurfing
  • Paddle board yoga sessions
  • Banana Boat rides

Studland Watersports also hires out deckchairs and sun loungers in the summer.

To find out more check out Studland Watersports’ Facebook page: en-gb.facebook.com/pages/category/Outdoor-Recreation/Studland-Watersports

Contact Studland Watersports: 📞 07980 559143

Summer fun activities

If you prefer your beach-side fun to be land-based, there are plenty of other ways to explore, especially in the summer months when the National Trust runs various organised activities at the beach, in the woodland and at the Discovery Centre.

National Trust slackline sign on Knoll Beach

Slacklining at Knoll Beach is a free organised summer activity

Past activities include seashore-themed arts and craft sessions, volleyball, den-building, kite-flying and slacklining.

All activities are held during Monday – Fridays and are free to attend.

Food, shopping and facilities

There is a National Shop tea room and gift shop, as well as toilet facilities all conveniently located right by the car park.

National Trust shop and information point

The shop sells seasonal gifts, children’s toys, books and sustainable homewares, as well as outdoor and walking equipment for both you and your four-legged friend.

There is an information and visitor reception point next to the shop, where a member of the National Trust team is generally on-hand to assist with any enquiries.

Knoll Beach national trust gift shop

Knoll Beach National Trust shop

Café

Sit outside and take in the view across the bay to Old Harry Rocks, or get cosy indoors with a good range of menu choices including pasties, sausage rolls, sandwiches, soups and cakes.

Hot and cold beverages are available.

The café is open 9.30am – 4.30pm daily.

Toilets

A large, clean toilet block is situated between the car park and the beach.

Disabled facilities are also available (see below).

Knoll Beach also has an outside beach shower to rinse off.

Accessibility

Off-road, beach wheelchair (Picture credit: eltpics)

  • Parking – On the left-hand-side of the car park as you drive in to Knoll Beach you’ll find a designated, signposted disabled parking area. The short distance to the café, shop and toilets is via a flat, brick-paved path. You’ll notice the general car park can be quite bumpy, but the disabled area is constructed of compacted gravel for ease of movement. Blue Badge holders (and National Trust members) may park for free
  • Beach-accessible wheelchairs – Call in advance to check availability and book a beach wheelchair. Hire of beach wheelchairs is free – just leave something small (it doesn’t have to be money) as a deposit
  • Shop and café – Wheelchair users can access both the shop and café, which are in the same building, via ramps. Outside tables at the café can also accommodate wheelchair users to sit comfortably
  • Toilets – A RADAR key-operated accessible toilet is located next to the shop and café. Keys are available from the beach office

Dogs at Knoll Beach

Dogs are welcome all year round, but must be kept on a lead from May to September, inclusive.

Dogs on knoll beach and person looking toward old harry rocks

Dog walkers at Knoll Beach in the autumn

They are also welcome in the outdoor seating area of the café and in the shop all year round.

There is a dog water station next to the toilet block to help keep your dog hydrated.

If you’re walking in the sand dunes, woodland trails or nearby heathland be aware that there may be ground-nesting birds, as well as ticks and adders in the undergrowth, so a short lead is recommended for dogs’ safety as well as protecting resident wildlife.

Woodland walk and sand dunes

Behind Knoll Beach is a system of sand dunes backed by woodland which offers fantastic walking.

The woodland trail (which starts at the car park, to the left) leads to Little Sea, Studland’s freshwater lake, and you’ll generally find lots of fun facts along the way.

Discovery Centre and children’s activities

The education and learning discovery centre in Studland Bay

Discovery Centre

Studland Bay‘s Discovery Centre is located at Knoll Beach, just behind the car park.

It offers educational events and fun activities throughout the year.

Keep up to date with the bay’s latest events on the National Trust website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/studland-bay/whats-on

Naturism at Studland

A section of beach between Knoll Beach and Shell Bay is a designated naturist beach, where clothing is optional.

It is around a 1km stretch and a good half-hour walk from the car parks at both Knoll Beach and Shell Bay, so visitors are unlikely to cross paths, but it’s something to be aware of before visiting of you’re planning a long walk along the beach with children, so you know what to expect.

Users of this well-known and loved naturist beach adhere to the British Naturism Code and the area is clearly marked with blue signs.

How to get to Knoll Beach

Knoll Beach is situated down Hardy’s Road, just off Ferry Road in Studland.

By car

For your SatNav: BH19 3AH

From Swanage

Take Shore Road, or Northbrook Road and then Washpond Lane, towards Ulwell to join Ulwell Road. Follow the road until you join Swanage Road to the right, and continue into Studland.

You will pass turnings for both South Beach and Middle Beach (both just as worthy of an explore). Turn right into Hardy’s Road, just past Knoll House Hotel.

From Wareham

Take the B3351 from Corfe Castle, joining onto Swanage Road once you reach Studland.

From Poole & Bournemouth

By ferry – Take the Sandbanks chain ferry across Poole Harbour to Shell Bay. Continue along Ferry Road until you get to Hardy’s Road on your left.

By road – Join the route from Wareham to reach Knoll Beach without taking the ferry.

By Bus

The No. 50 bus runs hourly from both Swanage and Bournemouth.

For bus times see the MoreBus timetable: www.morebus.co.uk/services/SQ/50

Google Maps

Parking

Parking starts from £4 for two hours in summer months, but does vary seasonally.

Machines accept coins or you can use the Pay-by-Phone app.

Parking is free for National Trust members, who can scan their membership card.

There is also a bike park area where you can safely chain your bicycles while you explore the bay.