One of the few beaches on Portland, it has pebbly shores and cliffs on three sides which shelter bathers from the prevailing wind.

Dorset Beaches: Church Ope Cove

Best feature: It is sheltered and safe for swimming, snorkelling and diving.

Local facilities & shops: There is a café and caravan park nearby.

Great for the kids? Bathing within the cove is clean and safe, but bathing outside the cove limits is for experienced swimmers only. Beware of strong currents. The steps may be a bit much for little legs – and a complete no-no for pushchairs.

How far are the loos? On the beach.

Parking: Parking for a few cars a quarter of a mile away opposite Pennsylvania Castle.

Public transport: The nearest train station is in Weymouth, seven miles away. First National and Sureline provide services from Weymouth.

How about pets? Dogs are allowed.

Fancy that! Rufus Castle overlooks the cove and the ruins of Old St Andrew’s church can be reached by steps and footpaths from cove. The area is a haven for bird watchers and dolphins have sometimes been sighted in the Channel.

Wet weather options:

Portland Castle One of Henry VIII’s finest coastal fortresses, in a waterfront location overlooking Portland Harbour, with 500 years of history. Open daily (Apr-Oct) 10am-6pm. 01305 820539.

Portland Museum With gallery, fossil garden and exhibitions. Open daily 10.30am-1pm, 1.30pm-5pm (not Weds or Thurs). Open all week during school holidays. 01305 821804.

View most interesting 'church ope cove' photos on Flickriver

For more information on this beautiful coastline

visit our local newspaper websites for and


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