5 spots with a café in Dorset to paddle board

A silhouette of a person and paddle board on still water

Paddle boarding is a fun and easy water sport to try this summer. - Credit: Tiago Muraro, Unsplash

We highlight five of the best beaches in Dorset to spend a day paddle boarding, that all have cafés nearby

This year many of us will be staying closer to home but still looking for fun ways to spend the sunny days. Paddle boarding is a growing popular water sport that may even end up at the Olympics one day. It's pretty easy to learn and doesn't need much fitness to enjoy, making it the perfect activity for both adults and children this summer. Here are five places in Dorset you can take a paddleboard, all of which offer beautiful views and calm waters so even a beginner can enjoy. Not only that, they are all only a stone's throw from a café and delicious food.

Bowleaze Cove

The cove curves away from the camera on a sunny day, you can see the modernist style of the Riviera Hotel on the cliff

Bowleaze Cove is also home to the Riviera Hotel - Credit: Julian Walker, Flickr

Bowleaze Cove is a fantastic stretch of sand and shingle to get on the water. Sheltered by cliffs on either side, the water tends to be calm as long as there is no strong winds. You can stay in the small bay or, if feeling confident, go in either direction and explore the coast line. 

Paid parking is available right next to the beach and Sunset Bar and Restaurant is open seven days a week for when you get peckish. Alternatively, you can paddle west along the coast and stop off nearer Weymouth at Café Oasis or Jurassic Rocks Café depending on how far you want to go. 

Lyme Bay

Lyme Bay stretches into the distance past a rocky outcrop. Seagulls fly overhead.

Lyme Bay has lots of options for sports and food! - Credit: Alison Day

Off the coast of Lyme Regis is our next stop and is perfect for an early morning paddle boarding session. At low tide, this stretch of sea is incredibly flat and easy to launch from, allowing everyone to enjoy. You can go around the Cobb and follow Monmouth Beach for a longer paddle, then stop off on the beach to search for fossils. This area is one of the best in the country to try your hand at hunting for those elusive spirals.

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When you're ready for a break from the water, Jane's Café or any number of other takeaways and pubs will be ready to fill your stomach and give you the energy to get back on the water.

Hamm/ Chesil Beach

Chesil beach curves round to meet the road to Portland. You can see buildings along the road too.

There's plenty of spots on the way to Portland to hop on your board - Credit: arg_flickr, Flickr

Driving out of Weymouth across the causeway towards Portland offers plenty of places to try paddle boarding next. Chesil Beach, which runs alongside the road, offers plenty of shelter which makes these waters pretty calm when the weather is good. Parts of this stretch of sea are pretty shallow too so kids can play safely. 

Parking and food can be found either at Billy Winters or the Taste Café located in the visitor's centre. Both are the perfect place to warm up with some tasty food before paddling out again.

Swanage Bay

Taken from the cliffs looking down, you can see the distinctive rise of the rocks that have eroded away from the mainland

Old Harry Rocks are just round the bay - Credit: Darren Tennant

Swanage Bay is a bustling area where the further north you go, the quieter it gets. Why not start off in the centre of the bay on the outskirts of Swanage town and head towards The Foreland in the distance. This protruding rocky headland is home to the beautiful Old Harry Rocks, a unique rock formation that paddle boarding allows you to get up close and personal with.

Once you've explored to your heart's content, heading back to Swanage offers plenty of food options including The Cabin and Down The Beach. This route can be tried by any ability although you may need to rest occasionally along the way if its been a while since you paddle boarded.

West Bay

The distinct red rock of West Bay's cliff stand imposingly over the sea.

The perfect view to accompany your visit - Credit: Frank Shepard, Flickr

Finally we head to the iconic cliffs of West Bay which offer a picturesque place to take to the water. Many will know the reddish cliffs as the location for the TV series Broadchurch, starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman, and you can pick out the filming spots as you explore the town too. The cliffs are a fantastic sight and really highlight the Jurassic coast that Dorset is famous for. 

There are lots of food options in West Bay for your trip, from fish and chip shacks along the harbour, to straight-off-the-boat seafood cafés. Its a great place to watch the sun go down over the coast if you fancy a late afternoon paddle too. 

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