“It is above all an elemental place, made of sea, shingle and sky, its dominant sound always that of waves on moving stone: from the great surf and pounding … of sou’westers, to the delicate laps and back-gurgling of the rare dead calm….”

This famous description of Chesil beach was written by the author John Fowles, who lived in Dorset. Standing upon the huge sweeping form of Chesil Beach it is hard to deny its power. The imposing scale of the shingle ridge stretching for miles along the coast and the raw interaction between rock and sea is humbling.

In this place nature is king, and not the soft existence of living things, but the primal, hard forces that, given enough time, grind continents to dust and carve out the very fabric of our planet’s surface. These processes were there at the very beginning of the world’s oceans, over four billion years ago, and they continue until our dying sun boils the seas away in just over five billion years’ time.

How to Get There

Chesil Beach is bookended by Portland and West Bay and is best accessed by the Jurassic Coaster bus or by car along the B3157.

For further information, visit our Travel page.

Chesil Beach
Chesil Beach as seen from the Isle of Portland.

Car Parking and Facilities

There is parking available at the Chesil Beach Centre car park adjacent to the beach. From here it is a five minute walk over the pebble ridge to the sea.

There are toilets available when the Visitor Centre is open, typically from 9-5. Check the centre’s listing for more details.

There is good accessibility in the area around the Chesil Beach Centre, which is operated by Dorset Wildlife Trust. There is a boardwalk over the river to the start of Chesil beach, but no sea view.

It is possible to cross the road to a hard surface track accompanied by sweeping views. There are also accessible toilets open during the visitor centre’s opening hours (typically 9-5).

Chesil Beach Visitor Centre - Garry Knight
Chesil Beach Visitor Centre. © Garry Knight via Flickr.

Beach Information and Dogs

Chesil Beach is a shelving beach made up of pebbles and shingle. There is a protected area for nesting birds at the back of the beach.

Bathing here can be dangerous; the beach shelves steeply and there is a strong undertow. Take care on the shoreline because sudden large waves can engulf people at the water’s edge.

Dogs are allowed on Chesil Beach all year but must be kept under control near nesting birds and mudflats.

Mudflats on Chesil Beach 1800px - Stephengg
Mudflats on Chesil Beach 1800px. © Stephengg via Flickr.

Where to Stay

We recommend booking accommodation in nearby Abbotsbury, Chickerell or Weymouth with one of our Business Partners such as holidaycottages.co.uk.

For a comprehensive list of local options, visit our Accommodation page.

Chesil Beach & St Catherine
Chesil Beach, the Fleet Lagoon and St Catherine's Chapel. © Gary Campbell-Hall via Flickr.

Things to Do

Chesil Beach
Chesil Beach. © Steve Belasco - stevebelasco.net

Things to Do Around Chesil Beach

Visit our Weymouth and Abbotsbury pages for information about attractions and activities in each location.

There’s also the charming village of West Bexington (pictured here) which faces directly onto Chesil Beach.

Beach huts, West Bexington
Beach huts, West Bexington. © Steve Belasco - stevebelasco.net

Walks Around Chesil Beach

The South West Coast Path retreats from Chesil Beach’s harsh shingle to border the Fleet Lagoon.

Pick up an OS Map from our online shop to plan your Chesil Beach walking adventure.

Fleet Lagoon
The Fleet Lagoon. © Angel Ganev - via Flickr.com

Need to Know: The Future of Chesil Beach

Chesil Beach is less than 20,000 years old and will one day break apart – testament to how fleeting our landscapes are in the face of geological time. It is indeed an inspiring and elemental place, illuminating the forces and processes that underpin the natural world.

Chesil footprints
Footprints on Chesil Beach.