Stand Up Paddleboarding in Dorset: Studland & Poole Harbour

March 30th, 2021

Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is fast becoming one of the most popular watersports in in Dorset. This low impact activity is great fun for all ages and abilities and a fantastic way to experience the beauty of the Jurassic Coastline. We’re fortunate to have some of the best places to go stand up paddleboarding in Dorset within easy reach of Ulwell Holiday Park. Here we share some of our favourite SUP locations along with recommendations for board hire and lessons.


Paddleboarding Studland Bay

Studland Bay is fantastic location to try stand up paddleboarding for the first time. The water is shallow and the bay is relatively sheltered, giving complete novices the confidence needed to give this fun-filled sport a go. Beginners may require some assistance to pick up the basics and learn important safety skills. If you’re completely new to the sport we highly recommend booking a couple of lessons to help you on your way.

SUP Lessons & Hire

Fore Adventure at Middle Beach offer a variety of courses for all abilities. The 2-hour taster session is aimed at people with no prior experience. An instructor will help you perfect your paddling technique and master the art of turning and keeping your balance.

Stand up paddleboarding sunset

If you have some experience already, there are intermediate sessions available that include a paddle around Old Harry Rocks. This is a fantastic way to see this iconic natural landmark and the world-renowned Jurassic Coastline from a completely different perspective.

Once you’ve completed a taster session you may choose to hire a board to hone your new found skills. Spend a couple of hours paddling close to the shoreline and playing water games with your friends and family. There are a two stand-up paddleboard hire facilities to choose from at Studland Bay, depending on which of the beaches you visit. Hire a board from Fore Adventure or Studland Watersports at Knoll Beach. 


Poole Harbour

Poole Harbour is the second largest natural harbour in the world and is one of the most popular places to go stand up paddleboarding in Dorset. Getting out on an SUP is a fantastic way to discover the beautiful scenery and explore remote locations that are inaccessible by foot. On a hot and sunny day, there’s no better way to take in beautiful vistas along the South West coast.

Group SUP Sessions & Guided Tours

There are a wide variety of watersports centres to choose from along the shores of Poole Harbour, each offering expert tuition and board hire. If you’re looking for a fun-filled children’s activity during your stay at our holiday park in Swanage, why not participate in an Easy Riders Sunday SUP event. These group sessions are family friendly and well-suited to complete beginners. Children are allowed to share a board with their parent, which is a fun experience.

lady paddleboarding

Experienced paddlers may opt for a guided tour with The Watersports Academy. The 2-hour tours include a gentle paddle along the Sandbanks Peninsula, where you can admire the multi-million-pound mansions on this famous spit of land. If the conditions are right, you’ll also get the chance to head to Brownsea Island. This National Trust Nature Reserve is often likened to the French Rivera and is home to a wide range of beautiful flora, fauna and wildlife.

If you plan on hiring a board for an hour or two there are plenty of hire facilities to choose from. Always take a moment to read the Harbour Authorities Code of Conduct. There are a couple or rules you must abide by, including avoiding the harbour entrance and shipping channels.

Dorset paddleboarding FAQs

Can you paddleboard at Studland Bay?

Yes, you can paddleboard at Studland Bay – it’s a wonderful place for beginners as well as experienced board riders. Beginners can get to grips with basics in the sheltered and shallow waters and participate in lessons offered by local outdoor activity providers. Improvers can take on more challenging routes to Old Harry’s rock. Stand up paddleboard hire is available at Knoll Beach and Middle Beach.

Can you paddleborad to Old Harry Rocks?

Yes, you can paddleboard to Old Harry Rocks, though it is not recommended for beginners. Experience in open water is necessary and you must have an excellent understanding of tides and wind conditions. Always wear a buoyancy aid and have your leg leash connected. If you’re unsure, we recommend joining one of Fore Adventure’s guided tours. They will offer expert advice and ensure you follow the correct route.

Can you paddleboard in Poole Harbour?

Yes, Poole Harbour is a great place to go paddleboarding in Dorset. There is a lot of boat traffic, so you should make sure you stay out of the shipping lanes.

Can you paddleboard at Sandbanks?

Yes, stand up paddleboarding is one of our favourite places to go stand up paddleboarding in Bournemouth. The sandy beach is ideal for families, couples and friends. If you don’t have your own equipment, there is board hire available from the watersports operators close to the beach.

What our guests say

  • A lovely quiet site

    Andy Blackwell

    A lovely quiet site, nice warm amenities with good sized shower cubicles, shop not open yet as it’s too early but the local pub is ideal. Staff were very friendly and helpful. If you’re reasonably fit you can walk into Swanage but the bus service is great so why would you want to. Overall a very nice break, we will be back.

  • Super swimming pool

    Joseph Molford

    Fantastic site, we have had a brilliant holiday. Super swimming pool and changing facilities. Site really handy to get to Swanage and Studland. Will definitely return. Thanks to all the staff for a lovely holiday.

  • Excellent quality caravan site

    Peter Skrobacz

    Excellent quality caravan site, top quality, small and friendly, location fantastic. Been visiting Ulwell for over 25 years now and every year is special.

  • An amazing week at Ulwell

    Jenny H

    We have just returned back from our weeks stay at Ulwell Holiday Park with our 2 small children and dog. It was an absolute brilliant week! The site has everything you need, and more! A lovely comfy pub on site for drinks and a bowl of chips, a small shop, swimming pool, large play are with park, and the bus stops right outside.. what more could you want

  • Easter break


    We have just returned after a brilliant Easter break. Couldn’t fault anything at all and we didn’t want to leave. We didn’t visit the pub but the shop is stocked with local produce and essentials. The facilities are great and the location convenient. Our van was spotless and had everything we needed. We will definitely be back

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We are currently at an amazing 4.5 score at TripAdvisor, based upon 200+ reviews from verified guests.

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Proudly associated

Over the years the family has developed the park to award-winning standards and in a style which compliments its surroundings.

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Finding us


From Bournemouth via the Sandbanks chain ferry and following the B3351 into Swanage.

From Wareham using the A351 into Swanage, turn left along the seafront towards Studland.


The park is situated on the main bus route from Bournemouth to Swanage.


1 ° 58’ 16” West, 50° 37’ 34” North



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