Some of the oldest beach huts in Europe, below, are tucked away on the wooded approach to this beautiful stretch of Blue Flag beach, two miles from swanky Sandbanks - home to some of the priciest real estate in the UK. The sea is as blue ( if not as warm) as the Med, the sand soft and almost white, and it stretches for miles, so even on summer weekends it's never too packed. All you need is the sun to come out and you could be in Miami...
To get there, follow a steep path from a tree-filled park off the main road, opposite The Pantation ( below) . Dogs aren't allowed on the beach in summer, but you can walk them along the promenade, which runs the length of it.
Where to stay
The Plantation, Canford Cliffs
About four minutes from the beach, this recently revamped pub, with (10) pretty rooms, has a new Head Chef, Darren Beevers, formerly of foodie meccas like the Michelin-starred Chez Bruce and Pollen Street Social. Expect locally sourced ingredients in dishes like heritage beetroot carpaccio with goat's cheese and gin–cured salmon with picked sea herbs, and wake to the smell of freshly-made bread wafting through the restaurant in the mornings.
Room are bright, and - if you care about these things, and we do - some of the most pet-friendly we've stayed in, with dogs actually allowed to be left on their own in the rooms ( a rarity- and necessity if you want to hit the beach in summer). There is a nifty fire escape in case Fido is caught short in the middle of the night, and a park for walkies right opposite.
The Plantation, 53 Cliff Drive, Canford Cliffs, Poole, Dorset BH13 7JF, 01202 701531
Doubles from £130, B&B.