After exploring the dazzling beauty of the Jurassic Coast and the county it cradles, there’s no better way to refuel and relax than by partaking in some delicious refreshments from some of the area’s local hotspots. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite beach cafes in Dorset that are well worth popping into.
If you’re in… Purbeck:
Sitting right on the beach in Swanage, The Cabin offers hot and cold refreshments. Enjoy them on one of the tables outside, or pop onto the sand and watch the waves on the shore and take in the glorious views. Dogs are welcome too so take a seat and browse the delicious menu which includes local crab sandwiches.
Part of the National Trust Studland Bay nature reserve, this beach café has seating both inside and out (so you can beat the British weather), and even boasts a cosy wood burning stove too. Refresh after a day on the beach or warm up after a winter walk! In the on-site gift shop and you can also pick up a trinket or two to remember your visit or purchase the bucket and spade you left at home!
A great family café, this little gem (which is more of a shack on the beach!) has outdoor seating. You can take your goodies away to enjoy as a picnic on the beach or grab an ice cream to enjoy in the sunshine. The views are almost as fantastic as the menu, and you won’t want to miss a slice of some of their homemade cake.
Another great beach cafe, just a stones throw from Middle Beach at Studland. A short walk from the National Trust car park this cafe has plenty of outdoor seating (great for your canine companions) and a reasonable sized self-service cafe inside. Perched on the cliff overlooking the beach, the views are fabulous looking out over the whole of Studland Bay.
With its own rich nautical heritage, this former seafarer’s lock-up has a great terrace which is ideal for soaking up the last rays of the day and enjoying some great local grub. Be sure to try some of the sumptuous seasonal specials and local fish dishes, and sit back and enjoy the view of one of the jewels of the Jurassic Coast – Lulworth Cove.
If you’re going to… Poole:
With a fantastic playground for the kids right next door, and wonderful views of the water, Sandbanks Beach Café is ideal for taking some time to relax. Serving delicious food and drink (including a bumper English breakfast), you’ll be spoilt for choice at this award-winning café.
Enjoyed by holiday makers and locals alike, you can enjoy freshly prepared food as well as music from some highly-talented folk. Friday nights offer stars of the UK Jazz scene, whilst Sundays you’ll be able to experience chilled tunes with your roast dinner – wonderful.
From cakes and coffee to a sumptuous three-course meal, Branksome Beach is a great destination to relax in the sun. With tables on the terrace by day you can enjoy the good weather, and by night enjoy food under the stars, how romantic!
If you’re going to… Weymouth and Portland:
Fancy tucking into some locally produced food and drink on the banks of the famous Chesil Beach? Then Taste* is just the thing. There’s a leisurely atmosphere, great selection of dishes and a specials board really worth boasting about. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon… be sure to take a look around the Chesil Beach visitor centre, admire the wildlife and venture up on to the top of the Chesil bank for a great view of the beach. Taste* even sell ice cream for your four-legged friend!
A restaurant that celebrates quality food, The Crab House Café is the place to go if you’re celebrating or have a special occasion. With oysters fresh from the seabed just next to the restaurant, you can’t get more locally produced than that – even Rick Stein has given his approval of their delicious food.
A family-run establishment that makes you feel right at home, the Lookout serves artisanal ciabattas and other uniquely flavoured dishes that can be enjoyed alongside views that go right out across Weymouth. There’s plenty of space for the kids to run around and they sell doggy treats too!
For a mellow atmosphere, stylish surroundings and picturesque views then pop in to Café Oasis. Whether you’ve been for a walk, cycle or you’ve got something lovely planned there’s seating on the patio, beach and in the restaurant where you can enjoy food, coffee or something a little stronger from their selection of fine wines.
For cool surf vibes, hot drinks and cocktails by the coast, Billy Winters offers a casual atmosphere and views over Portland Harbour. If the weather’s nice you can make the most of outdoor seating, there’s no need to book, just walk in off the beach.
If you’re exploring further afield:
This one of the most famous beach cafes in Dorset. With such an excellent breakfast and lunch menu it’s no surprise that the Hive Beach Cafe opens its doors a little later for evening meals on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays during the summer. Warm evenings by the beach are made for enjoying a sharing platter and homemade treats, including their very own craft ale. Hive Beach Cafe is famous for serving up great fish dishes so treat yourself to a day out in West Dorset.
The sister destination of Hive Beach and the ideal spot for taking in the breathtaking Jurassic Coast, the Watch House Café offers more sophisticated surroundings, a decking area and what most regard to be the best pizzas in Dorset!