Dog-friendly beaches near Bournemouth

Dog-friendly things to do in Dorset

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Dorset’s probably most famous for its sprawling Jurassic Coast and vibrant British seaside towns like Bournemouth. If you’re staying in this part of the country in one of our Weymouth or Poole holiday parks, you’re bound to want to get out and explore.  

Thankfully, Dorset has so much to offer families with dogs! Here are some of our top recommendations for dog-friendly Dorset. 

Corfe Castle Model Village and Gardens, Isle of Purbeck

Corfe Castle Model Village and Gardens, Isle of Purbeck

This model village on the Isle of Purbeck is like stepping back in time. A 20th-century scale model captures the 1600s castle and village life—complete with mini villagers—sprawling over an acre. There’s also a fairy garden, fossil corner, giant games, and a spot to feed the birds in the wildlife garden. For history buffs, visit the life-size Civil War display. Dogs can join the fun here, just keep them on a lead!

Hungry after exploring this dog-friendly Dorset walk? The Courtyard Café dishes up delectable Dorset cream teas, homemade cakes, and more, with a licence to serve a cheeky glass of wine or ale if you fancy. 

Kimmeridge Bay

Nestled on the Jurassic Coast and part of the South West Coast Path, Kimmeridge Bay is a haven for rock pooling and a must-visit for dogs who like to sniff and scamper. There’s freedom to roam off-lead all year round! It’s accessible via a gently sloping gravel path, stretching for roughly a mile and a half, leading to breathtaking vistas from the headland. 

Facilities are handy with toilets and showers by the car park, which grants stunning views across the bay. Roam the rocky shores by foot or cycle for no cost. If you’re coming by car, it’s accessible via a toll road so there might be a fee. It’s best to time your visit with the low tide to make the most of your adventure, and don’t forget sturdy walking boots or trainers, the terrain here is more pebbly than sandy.

Athelhampton House and Gardens, Dorchester

Athelhampton House and Gardens, Dorchester

Athelhampton House is a captivating Tudor manor from 1485. Every room is decorated with exquisite art and furnishings, all with its own story to tell. The gardens, reimagined in 1891, are divided into themed compartments with unique styles and a water feature in each. Don’t miss the world-famous yew trees sculpted into towering pyramids! 

When visiting, you can head to the welcome centre, restaurant, and tearoom for that much-craved cuppa, and there's a gift shop where you can pick up plants and souvenirs.
If you fancy a bite to fill hungry bellies, The Coach House serves up coffee and lunch while The Long Hall is perfect for a hearty carvery. Or why not bring your own picnic to savour among the garden greenery? Dogs aren’t allowed inside the house but well-behaved pooches can enjoy the restaurant and gardens while on a lead.

Arne, RSPB Nature Reserve

If you're after a natural dog-friendly Dorset getaway, this gem is tucked near Poole Harbour. Explore woodlands, farms, and mudflats where seals often lounge along the coastline. It's also a rare spot where you can encounter all six native UK reptiles!  

The heath has been untouched for centuries, with grazing cattle and ponies wandering freely—so keep an eye on your pooch to keep them safe. The kids can unleash their inner adventurer in the play area, with den building and low ropes, and the paths are a breeze for pushchairs.

When you’ve worked up an appetite, the café is a cosy nook serving up local, seasonal delights—think hearty sandwiches, soups, and a selection of pastries, all washed down with a lovely cuppa. There's a charming shop on-site as well, perfect for picking up bird-friendly goodies and some nature-inspired gifts.

Discover breaks in Dorset

Weymouth Bay self catering holidays

Weymouth Bay, Dorset

4 nights from £59
Seaview  self catering holidays

Seaview, Dorset

4 nights from £49
Rockley Park self catering holidays

Rockley Park, Dorset

3 nights from £49
Littlesea self catering holiday

Littlesea, Dorset

3 nights from £49

The Royal Oak, Melbourne St Andrew

The Royal Oak, Melbourne St Andrew

For a family-friendly outing to a dog-friendly pub in Dorset, book a table at The Royal Oak Pub in Melbourne St. Andrew. On arrival, your dog will be showered with fuss from staff who get a real kick out of meeting new furry friends! 

They're all about mixing things up with themed food nights and cater for everyone with gluten-free and vegan options alongside classic pub favourites. There's a wide selection of drinks, plus a sports bar for footy fans. 

Their Sunday carvery is a highlight, and for the little ones, there's a kids' menu. If you’re not up for a big meal, there’s lighter options. When the sun's out, their garden is a gem, with a big wooden play zone for the kids and plenty of tree-framed spots to kick back in.  

It's a good idea to book ahead - this place gets busy, especially with folks coming off the nearby village walks. 

The Dolphin Centre, Poole

Who doesn’t love a bit of retail therapy? Head to the Dolphin Centre in Poole - it’s a shopper’s paradise with a vibrant mix of over 80 shops. You’ll find everything from the familiar high-street names to unique independent boutiques. And when you fancy a snack, there are plenty of restaurants and bakeries to choose from. 

Little ones getting restless? Stop at the play areas for a little diversion. The centre prides itself on being super accessible, ensuring that everyone, including those with wheelchairs, powerchairs, and pushchairs, feels welcome. Your four-legged friends can tag along as well! Out of all the stores, 56 welcome dogs inside - just keep an eye out for the paw print sticker in shop windows. Remember to keep your dog on a lead as you explore. 
There's designated disabled parking and it’s conveniently situated right next to the bus station.

The Angel Inn, Ferndown

The Angel Inn, Ferndown

For a quintessential pub day out, visit Ferndown’s cosy Angel Inn. Get comfy by the roaring log fire, tucking into a hearty Sunday roast with a pint of the local brew and your dog at your feet. Bliss! It's a perfect blend of rustic charm with a modern twist, with classic pub fare like juicy burgers and fish and chips.

Planning to pop in with your pooch? Just give the staff a heads-up so they can sort you out with a spot in the dog-friendly area. 

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