The four miles of National Trust owned beach at Studland have to be one of my favourite places in the world – and Buddy would agree. I have been holidaying with my family in this part of the country every year for the past 13 years. We all go camping for a week just outside of Swanage in Dorset and have the best time!
The beaches are sandy with plenty of sandunes for running in and shallow water to optimum frolicking. Dogs are allowed on the beaches all year round but must be on a lead between May and September. You have the choice of 4 different areas of beach (although they all connect): Shell Bay Beach, Knoll Beach, Middle Beach, and South Beach. Each beach has excellent facilities, plenty of water for thirsty pups, and *new for 2018* ice-cream for dogs.
Shell Bay Beach
Buddy’s favourite beach by far is Shell Bay. This beach is wider than the other areas, especially when the tide is out, providing lots of hard sand for dogs to really get moving. Shallows pool of water make this extra fun. This is the beach closest to the chain ferry and Bournemouth, so be prepared to fight for a space in the small car park if you come at a busy time or park along the road.
The busiest beach by far and one I would try to avoid if you don’t like crowds. While the water sports, gift shop, and tea room might make for a great day out if you have children, for smaller parties consider another beach to let your pooch have more space to play.
Middle beach has been my families’ go-to beach for 13 years and counting. This offers a good sized-car park, and a small tea room, but with fewer crowds. Expect to see plenty of good-boys enjoying the sun and sea on this stretch of beach. The edge of the water can be stoney in places, so it suits dogs who are confident in the water. Buddy finds it challenging to play in the water here and tends to spend his time on the sand (unless, I found out recently, you happen to be carrying cool boxes, bags, chairs, and his lead – then he suddenly gets excited by the prospect of a paddle).
The private beach huts and small stoney beach here make South Beach a bit more exclusive. It tends to be where visitors moor their boats before coming on land. Joe’s café is local favourite for food, but the best thing about South Beach is The Bankes Arms. Located next to the car park, this pub boasts the best view from a beer garden I’ve ever seen. Perfect for sharing a well-earned drink with your dog after a hard day on the beach
Visit: Early August 2018, as part of our annual holiday.
Distance: 2h 30mins (I would recommend going across the chain ferry in Sandbanks – but only if you are travelling down at a quiet time).
Notes: Car parks are operated by National Trust and so are free for members.