The best dog walks in Dorset holiday cottages


The best dog walks in Dorset

Ed Roberts 08 February 2024

Dorset is absolutely packed with things to set tails wagging – including fresh sea scents to sniff, undulating hills to chase up and forest floors to rootle through. We can’t imagine a more perfect holiday for your dog than exploring the miles upon miles of walks throughout Dorset.

With both the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the South West Coast Path to roam, it can be hard to know where to begin when it comes to finding the perfect Dorset dog walk. 

For more staycation ideas for your pet-friendly holiday, why not read our ultimate dog-friendly guide to Dorset for more staycation inspiration? Also, be sure to sniff out our complete guide to dog walks around the UK, where you'll find wonderful dog walks all over the country. For the ultimate Dorset break browse our collection of pet-friendly accommodation by clicking on the button below. It's the most relaxing way to get to know this beautiful part of England.

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Durdle Door and White Nothe walk | Lulworth Cove

Beagle dog at Durdle Door in Dorset

On the Durdle Door and White Nothe walk, your pup can feel the wind through his ears and the salt in his fur on this high coastal path, which is also perfect for burning off excess energy. Plus, kids and the young at heart will be delighted that it passes through Scratchy Bottom! 

This is THE definitive Dorset walk, taking in the famous Durdle Door, so if you’re only going to do one walk in Dorset, make it this one (if your legs are up to it!) This walk starts in Lulworth Cove, where there is parking and toilets, and goes in a circular route along the South West Coast Path where there are abundant views but scarce facilities – so pack a snack and some water (plus some treats for your good boy). There are some steep sections of cliff on the coast path too, so keep an eye on your four-legged walking buddy. For more beach inspiration, here is our guide to dog-friendly dog beaches in Dorset.

Good to know

  • Distance: 7 miles | Difficulty: Challenging
  • Terrain: Very hilly – pack some water for you and the dog
  • Stay nearby: Carefree Cottage | sleeps 2 dogs + 4 humans

Highlands End and Golden Cap walk | Bridport

Blue skies seen above the Golden Cap landmark in Dorset

If your hound fancies channelling his inner Indiana Bones, the walk between Highlands End and Golden Cap on the Jurassic Coast (near Bridport)  is for them – although if they've  got little legs, be prepared to take a few breathers as it’s a lung-buster! Fossil hunters – this walk goes along the World Heritage coastline which has been recognised for its archaeological significance. So, if your dog likes to dig, he may find some important old bones!

The trail begins in Eype where you’ll find parking. There are toilets a few miles down the coast path at Seaton, as well as an inn if you need some refreshment. It then takes a circular route past Golden Cap and back to Eype via Seaton.

Good to know

  • Distance: 4.5 miles | Difficulty: Challenging
  • Terrain: Hilly and muddy after rain
  • Stay nearby: Beach Retreat | sleeps 2 dogs + 4 humans.

Cerne Giant walk | Cerne Abbas

Cerne Giant chalk-figure as seen from high above

Take your dog to see the UK's largest and most famous chalk figure, the Cerne Giant at Cerne Abbas in Dorset. The walk is a fairly relaxing until you reach the climb which is long and steady. However, it's mostly flat through woodland, with a few small hills – plus a stream which we know your pup is going to love! 

Park in Cerne Abbas – there’s a car park near the village hall. There’s also an award-winning pub in the village for when you need a post-walk pint and something to eat, and it welcomes four-legged guests too. If you are feeling hungry, take a look at our canine-friendly guide to places to eat with your dog in Dorset.

Good to know

  • Distance: 3.5 miles | Difficulty: Moderate
  • Terrain: Mainly flat, long hill, muddy, sealed paths
  • Stay nearby: Abbey Cottage | sleeps 2 dogs + 5 humans

Corfe Common walk | Corfe Castle

Two dogs play with a chew toy on Corfe Common in Dorset

This gentle walk on Corfe Common (close to Corfe Castle)  is perfect for the smaller pup and the common is home to a wide variety of wildlife – and interesting scents – for your hound to explore. The walk starts and ends in Corfe Castle where there is parking, toilets and dog-friendly pubs.

At Corfe Castle you can also enjoy a dog-friendly visit to the castle ruins, or if you have time, climb aboard a stream train to the coast at Swanage. It's a gorgeous, dog-friendly area of Dorset's Isle of Purbeck.

Good to know 

  • Distance: 1.5 miles | Difficulty: Easy 
  • Terrain: Mostly grassy with a few hills up to the top of Corfe Common.
  • Stay nearby: Purbeck House | sleeps 2 dogs + 8 humans
Dog-friendly Corfe Castle cottages

Old Harry Rocks walk | Studland Bay

Old Harry Rocks seen from the air

If your dog is top of his obedience class, this is a great walk to Old Harry Rocks near Studland Bay and Swanage is for them. They can enjoy the sea breeze, the steady climb and the cliff-side scents and you can rest easy knowing they’ll come back from the sheer cliff edge when called. 

Geologists will love Old Harry Rocks which is a fine example of a stone stack formation. But if you couldn’t care less about rocks, you get to take in some beautiful views and there’s a pub waiting for you at the end! Parking, toilets and that aforementioned dog-friendly pubs can all be found in Studland and Swanage where this walk begins.

Good to know

  • Distance: 3.5 miles | Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Terrain: Mostly level with a few gentle hills. Watch out for the sheer cliffs on the coast path.
  • Stay nearby: Greystones | sleeps 1 dog + 8 humans.
Dog-friendly Studland Bay cottages

Langdon Hill Bluebell walk | Seatown

Playful red dog in a woodland patch of bluebells

This woodland walk at Langdon Hill near Seatown is packed with scents to sniff, mud to run through and, most importantly, squirrels to chase! Nature lovers will want to save their visit for spring so they can discover the carpets of bluebells stretching as far as the eye can see! While they’re a delight to look at, they don’t make great food for your pup so keep an eye on him if he loves a good chew. 

Park in Langdon Hill car park where there’s also a play area for children. More facilities are found in Seatown or Chideock, both 1 mile away, or there’s a lovely farm shop in Morcombelake (0.75 miles).

Good to know

  • Distance: 1.5 miles | Difficulty: Easy
  • Terrain: Mostly level woodland with a few slopes.
  • Stay nearby: Beehive Cottage | sleeps 1 dog + 2 humans
Dog-friendly Seatown cottages

Dancing Ledge walk | Swanage

Waves crash against the cliffs at Dancing Ledge on the Purbeck Coast, Dorset

This dog-friendly walk on the Isle of Purbeck can be rather challenging with its stiles and steep hills; however, it leads to some remote and striking sea views. Heading in from Durlston Country Park, you will come to the strange Dancing Ledge, which was so named because its size and dimensions are akin to a dancefloor. It’s actually, a natural shelf of rock that hangs out over the sea below. 

There used to be a lime quarry close by and you can see remains of the industry here and there along this part of the Purbeck Coast. This is a great place for a quiet walk, away from the crowds, just you and your dog. It’s a great place to enjoy wildflowers, and spot dolphin pods, and other wildlife.

Good to know

  • Distance: 5.5 miles (circular) | Difficulty: Challenging
  • Terrain: Hilly, muddy when wet, unsealed paths, lots of stiles
  • Stay nearby: Family Tides | sleeps 2 dogs + 5 humans 
Dog-friendly Swanage cottages

Hengistbury Head walk | Bournemouth

Colourful beach huts on the sand spit of Mudeford on Hengistbury Head on the Dorset coast

A few miles west of Bournemouth lies the natural landmark of Hengistbury Head. Once the site of an Iron Age hillfort, this outcrop is home to some amazing dog walks and surprisingly, the UK’s most expensive real estate (per square foot). After enjoying some amazing sea views from the top of the headland, you can climb down the other side and walk along the spit, lined with over a hundred beach huts, which would set you back a hefty sum if you fancy buying one. 

There is a seasonal dog-friendly café where you can take in great views across Christchurch Bay as far as Stanpit Marshes. A sealed road back to the car park saves you from climbing up, or you can take the dog-friendly road train back if you are tired.

Good to know

  • Distance: 4 miles (circular) | Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Terrain: Sandy tracks, mild steady inclines, stone paths, sealed roads, beach
  • Stay nearby: Island View | sleeps 2 dogs + 12 humans  
Dog-friendly Bournemouth cottages

Stay at a dog-friendly holiday cottage in Dorset

Whether you choose a sandy scoot, a woodland wander or a countryside chase – we think Dorset ticks all the boxes for a dog-friendly holiday. Take a look at our full range of Dorset cottages by clicking the button below.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

The best dog-friendly cottages in Dorset
Ed Roberts 12 April 2024
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