8 best beaches in Minehead, Somerset (2024 guide)

Are you looking for the best beaches in Minehead? 

The beaches in this part of Somerset are incredibly unique. 

They’re part of the Somerset Jurassic Coast (which isn’t the Jurassic Coast in Dorset and Devon!), making these beaches incredible for fossil-hunting. 

Many of these beaches aren’t sandy (although some are!), so make sure you know which beach to head to (Minehead town beach, Blue Anchor or Dunster) if you’re looking for somewhere to stretch out for a day and catch some sun. 

If you want to take a coastal walk and look for ancient fossils, you can pretty much do this at any of the nearby beaches. 

I’ve visited Minehead a few times when I’ve been exploring my backyard – I started my South West Coast Path hike from here and recently returned to check out its attractions and beaches!

So, here’s your Minehead beach guide! 

Best beaches in Minehead

The first thing to know about Minehead beaches is that there’s only one in the town itself. 

To check out the others, you’ll need to journey a short distance from Minehead – but there are eight very different beaches in the vicinity! 

So, here are all of the best beaches in Minehead!

Minehead Beach

Minehead beach in Somerset

A sandy expanse stretches from the town of Minhead, interspersed with shingle and rock pools.

Minehead Beach, ideal for beach games and sandcastles, is a hive of activity, overlooked Butlin’s holiday camp and North Hill.

Gaze across the Bristol Channel to views of Wales and Exmoor, while the South West Coast Path begins its 630-mile journey from this very beach.

Serving as a hub for various activities, such as rock pooling and windsurfing, this friendly beach is a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts – although there isn’t a lifeguard present, even in the busy summer months. 

And with the town centre nearby, a quick retreat for food, drink or shopping is always an option.

You could also step into the Minehead Museum to learn about the town or take a ride on the vintage West Somerset Railway

Dunster Beach

Dunster Beach mixes sand and shingle and is close to Minehead & West Somerset Golf Club and a family-friendly holiday village.

There’s also a wonderful view extending over Blue Anchor Bay and the Bristol Channel, reaching towards the South Wales coastline – you might even be able to make out Barry Beach near Cardiff

These views make the beach a popular spot for walkers, especially since the 25-mile-long West Somerset Coastal Path passes right through.

Adding to the charm, the nearby West Somerset Railway Line passes through after it winds through the Quantock countryside.

Dogs are welcome on the beach, although they should be leashed near the grassy area by the Dunster Beach chalets.

Porlock Weir Beach

Sunrise at Porlock Weir Beach

A rustic fishing harbour leading out to a pebbled beach, Porlock Weir Beach may be the ultimate Somerset Hidden Gem. 

Porlock Weir’s name originates from the Old English ‘port loca‘, denoting an enclosure near a harbour.

A village since the 12th century and harbour from the 14th, Porlock Weir was once a busy trading port.

This popular beach caters to a wide range of interests – from fishing to sailing – and has an idyllic backdrop of the Bristol Channel and Exmoor National Park.

Try some local delicacy at Porlock Bay Oysters, caught straight from the surrounding waters. 

This seaside spot welcomes dogs. 

Behind the beach lies an enticing marshland, teeming with diverse wildlife.

A half-hour walk away, find the picture-perfect village of Porlock which presents a parade of thatched cottages housing shops and cafes. 

Kilve Beach

Rocky coastline at Kilve Beach

Kilve Beach, a rocky stretch adorned with fossil-rich cliffs, offers a unique coastal experience that intertwines geology with the simple joy of a beach day.

Popular with rock pooling and fossil hunting, Kilve Beach forms part of the Blue Anchor to Lilstock Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The cliffs here serve as nature’s time capsule, brimming with fossils such as ammonites, belemnites, and even shark teeth.

It’s part of the Somerset Jurassic Coast – the little, lesser-known counterpart to the Devon and Dorset Jurassic Coast!

Once a humble port used for importing culm and burning limestone, it carries a colourful legacy of smuggling.

And if the beach’s features seem familiar, it might be because they were immortalised in the video for Bryan Adams’ hit song “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”.

Bossington Beach

Bossington Beach boasts a unique blend of history and nature, tucked into the hamlet of Bossington on the North Somerset coast.

The pebble beach forms part of the Holnicote Estate, with an intriguing past that includes being a strategic base for King Alfred to deter Viking invasions.

The charm of Bossington Beach is not just confined to its pebbles and the tidal traces on the sand.

Behind the beach, a lush marshland is a thriving habitat for an array of bird species, including waders, ducks, and geese.

You’ll love fossil hunting here too – there are plenty of pebbles in Bossington, some of which are ancient! 

Peppered along the beach, you may stumble upon remnants of the past, including World War II pillboxes and a ruined control centre.

Travelling with a four-legged companion? Dogs are welcome, and they’ll love walks along the coast.

Blue Anchor Bay Beach

Blue Anchor Bay beach, one of the best beaches near Minehead

Blue Anchor Bay Beach is a sand and shingle beach, notable for its sprinkling of alabaster rocks.

A stop along the nostalgic West Somerset Railway, it’s an excellent destination for those interested in the area’s rich history.

Dog walkers and families find this beach a fantastic spot for an afternoon outing and has public toilets and a nearby pub (the aptly named Smugglers Inn). 

There’s free parking on the road next ot the beach. 

It also sits in the same Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as Watchet, due to its significant geology and fossil finds!

Nearby, the Driftwood Cafe, known for its hearty fare, welcomes patrons and dogs.

West Street Beach

West street beach, also called Watchet Beach, one of the best Minehead Beaches for fossils.

Situated within walking distance of Watchet village centre and just a short drive from Minehead, West Street Beach beckons with its rocky shoreline and fossil-laden cliffs.

This isn’t a sandy beach – it’s part of the Somerset Jurassic Coast – but if you want to explore the craggy coastline and potentially even find a fossil, it’s a place for you. 

The cliffs are a trove for fossil enthusiasts, particularly known for their abundance of ammonites.

And at low tide, the rock pools spring to life!

The Victorian tidal pool is an echo of the beach’s past; there actually used to be two pools here, one for men and one for women!

Doniford Beach

Doniford Beach is a short drive from Minehead and is again teeming with a bounty of fossils and intriguing rock pools. 

For those keen on fossil hunting and rock pooling, Doniford is the place to be.

The rocks and pools along the shore offer up treasures from ancient times, including ammonites, belemnites, and even shark teeth.

Meanwhile, the creatures that inhabit the pools at low tide offer an enthralling insight into marine life.

Doniford Beach is dog-friendly all year round, ensuring your canine companion can join in the outdoor fun.

FAQs about Minehead beaches

Minehead Beach with Butlins in the background.

Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about Minehead beaches: 

Is there a sandy beach at Minehead?

Yes, Minehead Beach is primarily sandy, offering traditional beach activities such as sandcastle building and beach games.

It also features sections with shingle and rock pools, with a mix of coastal landscapes!

Can you swim at Minehead Beach?

Yes, swimming is possible at Minehead Beach, although there is no lifeguard service, so do be careful when swimming. 

The beach is popular with among windsurfing enthusiasts and there are other watersports opportunities available just off from the shore! 

Is Minehead better than Weston-super-Mare?

Choosing between Minehead and Weston Super Mare depends on your personal preferences.

Minehead’s more laidback and is between two of the most beautiful parts of Somerset. 

But if you prefer a vibrant, bustling seaside resort with attractions like the Grand Pier, Weston Super Mare is the go-to.

Weston-super-Mare beach is quite muddy due to its position right at the mouth of the River Severn. 

Personally, I much prefer Minehead Beach, but Weston has its charms!

Here’s my full guide to Weston-super-Mare.

Are dogs allowed on Minehead Beach?

Dogs are allowed on Minehead Beach, but there are restrictions in place.

Specifically, dogs are not permitted on the main stretch of beach between the harbour and the golf course from May through September.

Outside of these specific areas and times, dogs are welcome.

What is Watchet beach like?

Watchet Beach, or West Street Beach, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Its rugged landscape includes rocky areas and fossil-rich cliffs, making it a popular destination for rock pooling, sailing, and fossil hunting.

The beach also boasts a historic Victorian tidal pool and a convenient boat slipway.

Does Minehead have a pier?

Minehead does not have a traditional pier.

However, the town is home to a lovely seafront promenade that offers stunning views across the Bristol Channel and towards Wales and Exmoor.

The promenade is a popular spot for strolling and soaking up the seaside atmosphere.

Is Minehead good for a holiday?

Minehead is a great choice for a holiday.

This charming seaside town has a variety of attractions, including a sandy beach, stunning scenic views, and proximity to the South West Coast Path.

The town’s close proximity to Exmoor National Park also offers opportunities for seeing the beautiful countryside.

Does Minehead Beach have toilets?

Yes, Minehead Beach has toilet facilities.

Jubilee Cafe is right by the beach, and there are deck chairs and windbreakers available for hire.

The close proximity to the town centre means that other amenities and dining options are easily accessible.

Are you ready to visit Minehead’s beaches? 

While the beaches around Minehead are a bit different to those that you may find on the south coast of Devon or in Cornwall, this coastline is historic and enthralling. 

This is Somerset’s lesser-known Jurassic Coast, with fossils aplenty to discover!

The beaches are generally a lot quite than others in the region, and they’re mainly dog-friendly. 

So, next time you plan a trip to the West Country, consider these West Somerset beaches!

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