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.

Book a Holiday in Dorset

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Our Awards & Accreditations

Our parks have been recognised as some of the best in Dorset and the South West. 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 - there is more information on the pages for each park.

dorset tourism awards gold 2021/222021 travelers choice tripadvisor awarddavid bellamy blooming marvellous pledge for nature 2022david bellamy conservation gold award 2020/21taste of the west south west england award 2022david bellmay conservation award honey bee friendly park awardgolden cap holiday park commended south westthe queens green canopy platinum jubilee logoplastic free champion surfers against sewage

What our guests say

  • The Most Magical Campsite

    We have just come back from the most magical few days staying at Highlands End. In fact, it was so good we extended our stay by a few days whilst on park. We are new to campsites and this was beyond my expectations

    Mr Scott - Tripadvisor
    Highlands End

  • Happy second visit

    Perfectly clean, ample space, lovely views, close to everything, what more could be asked for?

    Dan Pipper - Tripadvisor
    Golden Cap

  • Well maintained and quiet

    Lovely clean and tidy site. well maintained and quiet in walking distance to Hive Beach and West Bay only a couple of miles away over the coastal walk.

    Linda S - Google Reviews
    Graston Copse

  • Friendliest park on the Dorset coast

    Possibly the friendliest park on the Dorset coast. Staff are exceptional, very helpful and keep the place spotless. The views are fantastic. Showers and toilets are very modern and extremely clean.

    Mr Leck - Tripadvisor
    Highlands End

  • Fantastic

    This is a lovely quiet, friendly, well maintained site with very friendly, helpful staff who are knowledgeable about the local area and more than happy to pass on useful information to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

    Nigel White - Tripadvisor

  • Wonderful three night stay

    Our pitch was spacious and quiet. The facilities were clean and a generous number of showers etc whatever time we needed them. A very picturesque site and plenty to do straight from the van without the need to drive

    Rachel L - Pitch Up
    Golden Cap

  • Beautiful weekend away

    This park is in a wonderful location. The local village is beautiful and only a 15 min walk along the river. The beach is then another 15 minutes along - again a beautiful walk. We were blessed with amazing weather so we spent the afternoon on Hive Beach.

    Clairey16 - Tripadvisor
    Graston Copse

  • Ideal base for exploring

    Ideal base for exploring Dorset , everywhere we wanted to visit was within easy reach . Site itself was very good, nice and quite and clean and staff very friendly.

    James S - Tripadvisor