Studland bay is located between Swanage and Poole (via a chain ferry), and with its beautiful sandy beaches and good facilities everyone from children to naturists will be happy.
As the cooler weather comes in I thought I’d revisit some of the summer holidays we’ve spent at Studland beach. My husband and his family introduced me to the beach as they’ve been going there since before ED was born. It is a beautiful beach and now we’ve got the children I can appreciate how child friendly it is.
The National Trust car park is located behind the beach where you can park for free if you are a member. There is a toilet block with outside showers, a shop and a cafe, which has high chairs, but for some reason they removed the microwave when they refurbished it last year and refused to heat baby food because their microwave is industrial high strength (I complained several times last year so would like to think they would resolve this but I didn’t need to use it this year so I don’t know, but there was no obvious microwave). There is also a cafe and toilet block at Middle beach (walking along the beach away from the National Trust towards Poole).
The sea is shallow so children can safely walk out without suddenly finding a deep bit; at times they can walk out for several meters and still only have water up to their waist. The sea can be bit rocky and weedy in a few places close to the shore, but once through that it is sand under foot. On calmer days, the water can be surprisingly clear so you can often see fish without a snorkel, just looking down into the water, this means children with a net can catch all sorts of sealife. This summer B caught crabs, small fish, sea eel and shrimps. On calm days it is also a good place to paddleboard, in fact the National Trust sometimes run paddleboard yoga sessions. There are plenty of places to paddleboard in Dorset if you like variety.
The bay is popular with boats, and on warm days there will be a variety of small boats in the water including blow up dinghies, canoes, small sailing boats and motor boats (there is a 5 knot speed limit close to the beach). Boats can easily be taken in and out of the water using the slipway accessed from the car park via the boat park; boats can be stored all year round in the boat park but can also taken down for a day. You can hire sailing boats and pedaloes near the National Trust shop.
Due to the shelter provided by Old Harry Rocks the bay can be popular with yachts who can anchor on the west side of the bay, although there is a voluntary no anchor zone marked by 4 yellow buoys in each corner, to protect the local seahorse population.
I’ve been on two sailing holidays where we’ve anchored overnight in the bay. It is wonderful to wake up to the view of the Studland beach in the morning, and to be able to stay on the beach late at night when it is quiet.
There are lots of different walks you can start from Studland beach, you may even be able to find sea glass as you walk. You can walk towards Swanage along the coast line, passing Fort Henry (Winston Churchill used this as an observation point to watch D-Day landing preparations), on to the Jurassic Coast path and out to Old Harry rocks. This can be a popular walk, but the paths are wide and the views of Old Harry and Studland beach are worth seeing. Walking inland you can find the Agglestone rock, a very large sand stone rock which looks very strange sitting among the heath land. Walking towards Poole there are dune walks and a woodland walks which includes a bird hide overlooking the freshwater lake known as Little Sea.
Although I said I’m reliving my summer with this post, we actually visit the beach throughout the year and in all weathers. The children are always happy to dig in the sand and paddle in the sea!
Which is your favourite UK beach? What are your favourite beach activities?
Disclaimer: non required. This post is based on many years visiting Studland beach and I’m a paid member of the National Trust.