Coastal cafes in Dorset: 8 of the best places to go
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What could be more relaxing than sitting with a cup of coffee and a slice of cake as you look out to sea? We think it’s hard to top, so we’ve picked eight of the best beach cafés to visit in Dorset
Watch House Café, West Bay
The Watch House Café is a cosy post-walk spot to indulge in big breakfasts, wood-fired pizzas and seafood specials. Large bi-fold doors give uninterrupted views of honey-coloured cliffs and across the beach. During the warmer months, the doors open out on to a sun-drenched terrace where diners can enjoy breakfast al fresco.
The Watch House Café is dog-friendly too, so enjoy your latte with Fido at your feet (the homemade dog biscuits can be found behind the bar).
Chineside, Bournemouth Beach
If you enjoy your flat white with a generous helping of sea views on the side, we know just the place. Chineside is right on the beach with a top deck for outside dining. Tuck into poached eggs and fresh coffee for breakfast or deluxe burgers for lunch as you people-watch on Bournemouth Beach.
In the winter you can still get your seaside fix with a winter walk on the beach followed by a hot chocolate with all of the trimmings as a reward. Sandy boots and doggies welcome too.
Taste Café, Chesil Beach
Recognisable on the outside by its 'Scandi' wooden-clad exterior, inside Taste Café is 'Dorset' through and through. All ingredients are locally-sourced where possible, and with Portland Harbour and Weymouth Harbour on the doorstep expect lots of fish from Dorset waters including Portland crab sandwiches and Weymouth Bay grey mullet.
Taste Café has an accolade of Dorset awards under its belt including 'Gold' at the Dorset Tourism Awards 2017/2018.
The Crab House Café, Weymouth
The Crab House Café won 'Seafood Restaurant of the Year' at the Dorset Food, Drink and Farming Awards 2016. Chef proprietor Nigel Bloxham and his team source most of their fish and shellfish from Weymouth, and it's often dropped off by the skippers, including line-caught sea bass from boats fishing just a stone's throw away from where customers are dining.
This nautical haven is made for hot summer days when you can sit outside and enjoy the sea breeze with a plate of oysters harvested from the Fleet just a few feet away.
The Boat Shed Café, Lulworth Cove
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Just steps from the beach at the Boat Shed Café you can enjoy one of Dorset's most famous views with a coffee in one hand and a bacon sarnie in the other. There are blankets available if you want to sit outside in the winter sun too.
Inside, cosy up with a Dorset cream tea before heading out to explore the Jurassic Coast.
The Beach House Café, Mudeford
After stretching your legs along Mudeford Beach, you can't beat a little pick-me-up at The Beach House Café. There's just one catch… you can only get a spot at this coveted café if you arrive by foot, boat or train.
Soak up the uninterrupted views across Hengistbury Head and Mudeford Quay whilst you tuck into moules frites, gambas pil pil and other mouth-watering dishes. After all, you have worked hard to get here.
Hive Beach Café, Burton Bradstock
Park up at the National Trust car park nearby and head to the Hive Beach Café - famous for its fish and chips. On the go? You can always get a chippy tea to takeaway.
From shellfish platters, to grilled lobster and king prawns, after breakfast the daily menu mostly consists of fish, fish and more fish. Prepare to queue when the sun is out, but the food (and the wonderful seaside views of Lyme Bay and the Jurassic Coast) is certainly worth the wait. Walk the calories off on the beach after your feast.
The Lyme Bay, Lyme Regis
With exposed brick walls, real wood floors and higgledy-piggledy furniture, expect Instagram-worthy interiors with a menu to match when visiting The Lyme Bay. The café-cum-restaurant has been open less than a year but is already making a well-deserved mark on the Dorset foodie scene.
On the menu you'll find Barista-style coffees, and plenty of yummy options for brunching and lunching. We like the sound of the pancake stack with fresh berries.
This article was updated by Martha Griffiths in July 2021.