Chesil Beach in Dorset

Chesil Beach

A natural phenomenon stretching 18 miles from Portland to West Bay.

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19 miles from Highlands End
21.1 miles from Golden Cap
15.9 miles from Graston Copse
13.2 miles from Sandyholme

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  • Chesil Beach in Dorset
  • Chesil Beach in Dorset
  • Chesil Beach in Dorset
  • Chesil Beach in Dorset
  • Chesil Beach in Dorset
  • Chesil Beach in Dorset
  • Chesil Beach in Dorset

Chesil Beach extends 18 miles from Portland to West Bay and is perhaps the finest example of a barrier beach anywhere in the world. This phenomenal stretch is part of the Jurassic Coast – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The beach is famously said to comprise of more than 180 billion pebbles, which gradually reduce in size as you travel along the beach. Chesil draws visitors regardless of season, although it is seldom busy. The entire stretch remains almost entirely undeveloped and the golden pebbles stretch in a steep shingle bank as far as the eye can see. Even a gentle swell creates an enormous roar as the pebbles move in the waves.

To truly appreciate the sheer size of Chesil Beach, it is best to view it from an elevated position. There is a viewpoint at Portland Heights on the Isle of Portland which allows you to admire almost the entire beach in all of its glory. The Jurassic Coast Road also offers excellent views, which encompass the patchwork countryside and Fleet Lagoon.

Swimming at the eastern end is discouraged due to the depth of the water, which shelves away quickly just metres from the shoreline. Swimming is possible at West Bay where there is a lifeguard service in the summer months, however care should always be taken. Chesil Beach is a popular site for experienced divers due to its rich marine life. It is also one of the premier destinations for beach fishing venues in the UK, meaning the beach is peppered with anglers and their tents throughout the year.

The Chesil Beach Visitor Centre near Portland is well worth a visit during your time on the south coast. Here you can learn about the history and geology of this spectacular site as well as the species that inhabit the shoreline and waters.

Watch the sun set

‘Chesil’, as it is affectionately called by locals is a wonderful place to sit in the evening and watch the sun go down. Sunsets here are incredible spectacle, best enjoyed with a glass a wine in hand and delicious food shared with friends. The Cove House Inn and Hive Beach Cafe are both just a stones throw from Chesil Beach and serve an extensive menu throughout the year.


Despite it’s length, Chesil Beach can only be accessed in a handful of locations due to the Fleet Lagoon. At the eastern end you can use the Chesil Beach Visitor Centre pay and display car park, which is only a short albeit steep walk up and over the bank to the beach. Similarly, there is a dedicated car park behind Abbostbury Subtropical Gardens with a small cafe serving takeaway hot drinks and snacks. Access to the beach is easy here, due to a wooden ramp laid over the pebbles. There is also a paved and level road, which runs parallel to the beach which is excellent for admiring the views.

For parking at the Western end use the pay and display car parks at West Bexington, Burton Bradstock and West Bay.

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Holidays in Dorset

At West Dorset Leisure Holidays, we have a great choice of accommodation and facilities across 4 family-run holiday parks on or near the Jurassic Coast - Highlands End, Golden Cap, Graston Copse and Sandyholme, as well as Caravan and Lodge Holiday Homes for sale.

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Our Awards & Accreditations

Our parks have been recognised as some of the best in Dorset. We're extremely proud of the awards and it's easy to see why our guests return year on year. You can be safe in the knowledge that you're staying at one of the best parks in the county! Please note awards vary by Park.

2021 travelers choice tripadvisor awarddavid bellamy conservation gold award 2020/21david bellamy blooming marvellous pledge for nature 2022tatse of the west south east england gold awarddavid bellmay conservation award honey bee friendly park award

What our guests say

  • Very peaceful Park

    The wildlife is stunning, we were visited by the ducks on a regular basis which was lovely. Our visit was very enjoyable and we will definitely be back in the future!

    Sarah W - Pitch Up

  • 5 out of 5 isn't enough!

    This is simply our favorite touring park along the south coast. The location couldn't be better with views to die for and an abundance of fresh sea air. The park is spic and span and extremely well kept with very friendly staff.

    Big Caravan Adventures - Tripadvisor
    Highlands End

  • Best holiday ever!

    This is by far the best Holiday Park I have been to. The views are breath taking with easy access to the beach and nice coastal walks to West Bay. If you're looking for a relaxing holiday in a stunning location, then this is the place to come.

    Alison D - TripAdvisor
    Highlands End

  • Fantastic holiday once again

    We have been coming here now every year for about 10 years. Its our favourite place and the Park has everything we need.

    Andy M - TripAdvisor
    Highlands End

  • A little bit of heaven!

    Golden Cap is a little bit of heaven. The views are awesome, right next to the sea. It's all relaxed and low key just how we like it.

    Esther Woodhouse - Facebook
    Golden Cap

  • Idyllic setting

    Quiet site in a beautiful setting with exceptionally clean toilets and showers

    Anthony M - Pitch Up
    Graston Copse

  • Would definitely recommend

    Close to beach, a nice local pub, dog friendly and a very relaxed atmosphere.

    Dan M - Pitch Up
    Golden Cap

  • A tour of Dorset!

    An excellent Park as a base to visit the Dorset coast, Jurassic Coast, Chesil Beach, Lyme Regis, Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, to name a few.

    Arthur D - Tripadvisor
    Graston Copse

  • Fantastic Park

    10 out of 10 is not enough for this Holiday Park. We have been here 3 times and we love it more and more every time. The park has all you need, with some pitches overlooking the sea and a great restaurant.

    Shirley Thompson - Tripadvisor
    Highlands End

  • A hidden gem

    The location is amazing, right on the beach and all the facilities are good. It's a hidden gem this one, one of the best parks in the country

    Mark Tee - Tripadvisor
    Golden Cap

  • Lovely tranquil campsite

    The location was great as we could easily walk to the village or local beaches through the beautiful countryside. I would recommend this campsite to families for a peaceful and safe stay.

    Sarah - Tripadvisor
    Graston Copse