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Highlights of Chesil Beach

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Chesil beach is one of the most iconic beaches in the UK. It stretches 18 miles, from Portland to West Bay and is best known for its shelving pebble banks and dramatic seas. Unlike many beaches in the South West, Chesil remains largely untouched by commercialism. Instead it has a stark and rugged landscape which, in our opinion, only adds to its charm.

There are so many hidden gems to discover along Chesil Beach whilst visiting your holiday home in Dorset. Here we share just some of our favourite spots to explore during stays at your home away from home.

Chesil Cove

At the eastern end of Chesil Beach, you’ll find Chesil Cove. This part of the beach is popular with divers, snorkelers and spear fishermen, thanks to the deep shelving banks and sunken shipwrecks. The waters along this stretch of coastline are home to a vast array of marine life. It’s not uncommon to spot dolphins and even whales offshore.

Chesil Cove is easily accessible, with free parking just a short walk away. It’s an idyllic spot to spend a leisurely day beach combing, painting pebbles or simply relaxing whilst taking in the view. It’s one of our favourite places to watch the sun dip below the horizon. The sunsets here truly are extraordinary and not to be missed.

chesil cove on portland

If you’re feeling peckish, the Cove House Inn serves delicious food and boasts a popular outdoor seating area, where you can take in the scenery while socialising with friends. Along the promenade, Quiddles café is also well worth a visit. Brightly coloured, and decorated in a quirky style, here you’ll find a wide selection of home-made cakes and light lunches. During the summer they hold pop up restaurants, where you can sample cuisine from around the world.

Chesil Beach Visitor Centre

Just a mile or so along the bank, the Fine Foundation Chesil Beach Centre offers the chance to learn more about the marine life found in local waters through interactive displays and exhibits. There’s also the opportunity to delve deep into history and hear the stories of people who once earned their living fishing from this famed stretch of coast. It’s a great pit stop with plenty to offer younger members of the family. There’s also a small gift shop and tasty café.

At the visitor centre the beach is separated from the mainland by the Fleet nature reserve. This salt water lagoon is a haven for wildlife, attracting bird watchers and landscape photographers to the area. In the summer there is a glass bottom boat trip available, offering visitors the chance to see the various species that live below the surface. The guide will also tell interesting tales of smugglers, geology and the areas involvement in the Second World War.

aerial view over chesil beach and fleet lagoon

The Fleet Lagoon continues then for 8 miles, making some areas of Chesil Beach difficult to access by foot. At Abbotsbury the Fleet comes to an end and the beach becomes accessible once again. There is a small pay and display car park here and a level path above the beach. The path allows for lovely scenic walks even in the colder winter months. Of course, you could also venture onto the beach itself, for a picnic or BBQ.

Further along the beach, we recommend a quick stop at Cogden. This part of Chesil is managed by the National Trust and idyllic on blustery autumn days. In the spring there’s often a carpet of wild flowers sprawling over the pebbles, creating a pretty backdrop for photos.

Burton Bradstock

No trip to Chesil is complete without visiting Burton Bradstock, which is located just a short walk from Larkfield Holiday Park and our Jurassic Retreat lodge development. The landscape here is most impressive, with dramatic golden sandstone cliffs flanking the beach. This section is a favourite for foodies, thanks to the Hive Beach Café. This well-regarded eatery has earned an enviable reputation for serving some of the freshest seafood around. 

Hive Beach Cafe seafood restaurant on chesil beach

Burton Bradstock, like the rest of Chesil Beach is a popular shore fishing venue, attracting anglers in their droves each year. When the wind direction and sea conditions are right, you’ll see colourful fishing tents lined along the shore. In the winter cod, whiting, and rays can all be caught. In the summer, plaice, gurnard and mackerel are the catch of the day.

West Bay

Chesil Beach comes to an end at West Bay. This lively fishing village has much to offer visitors, including boat trips, fish and chips and amusements arcades just minutes’ walk from the beach. This stretch of Chesil is similar to Burton Bradstock with beautiful cliffs lining the shore. It featured heavily in the ITV series Broadchurch, which continues to draw visitors to this day.

Best view of Chesil Beach

To appreciate the scale of this magnificent beach, we highly recommend heading to an elevated position to take in the view. From the Olympic rings statue on Portland you’ll be treated to far reaching views along the coast, which includes Chesil Beach, Portland Harbour and the Fleet Lagoon. Alternatively, the coast road at Abbotsbury offers beautiful vistas over the Dorset countryside with Chesil in the distance. In fact, this stretch of road has been voted one of the most picturesque routes in the whole of the UK!

view over chesil beach from abbotsbury