The attractive Georgian market town of Bridport, set in the heart of Dorset’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is renowned for its abundance of independent shops and art galleries, thriving cafés, bars and restaurants serving exceptional locally produced food and drink, and its lively music, art and literary scene.
Whether you enjoy spending your holiday browsing market stalls and quirky shops, indulging in a mouth-watering cream tea, or people-watching over a leisurely coffee - this charming town won’t disappoint.
Less than 2 miles away lies Bridport’s picturesque harbour, West Bay, which offers access to the world-famous Jurassic Coast. Here, you’ll find an assortment of pubs and restaurants, two excellent sandy beaches, a marina, and of course breathtaking coastal views.
If you’re feeling active, West Bay is perfect for a spot of fishing, walking, bathing and rock pooling. Or if you’d rather take it easy, unwind over tea and cake in one of the harbour’s delightful tea rooms. West Bay is also the setting for the popular ITV drama Broadchurch, where you will recognise many landmarks from the show.
Bridport and West Bay are ideally positioned for exploring the stunning Jurassic coastline. Why not try your luck at fossil hunting to see if you can uncover an ancient relic or two, or take a stroll along the glorious South West Coast Path to blow away the cobwebs and take in the magnificent views.
Nearby popular attractions include the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre, Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens and the Lyme Regis Aquarium, and if you fancy a day at the beach, you'll be spoilt for choice on this pretty stretch of Dorset coastline. Some of our favourite family-friendly options include both West Bay beaches, Cobb beach in Lyme Regis, Charmouth beach and Weymouth beach.
A holiday cottage in either Bridport or West Bay provides the perfect base from which to enjoy the delights of a vibrant market town, whilst staying close to the coast to easily indulge in your favourite seaside activities - making for a most memorable Dorset holiday.
Bridport is the oldest golf club in Dorset, celebrating their 125th anniversary in 2016 but enjoying modern facilities catering to the 21st century golfer. Located on the Jurassic coastline, the views stretch across Lyme Bay and along Chesil Beach to Portland. The 6213 yard, cliff top links style golf course is a challenging but fair test for all abilities and can be played on all year round. There’s a driving range and a putting green, clubhouse and pro shop, and green fees start at £40 in high season.
Featuring beautiful fossil collections, guided fossil hunting walks, rock pooling walks along the local coastline and even the opportunity to meet the Charmouth Dinosaur, Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre is a small charity and is free to visit, although they do welcome donations. A charming family day out, it’s a chance to learn about the local coastal and marine wildlife with facilities including interactive computers, hands on displays, marine tanks and a video microscope. They also have Jurassic Theatre shows of a short film on The Jurassic coast and finding fossils at Charmouth (adults £1, children 50p), and of course there’s a souvenir shop.
A small and friendly horse riding stables, Vineyard Stables in Wooton Fitzpane is beautifully set on the edge of a forest with sea views and wonderful riding opportunities on bridle paths and country lanes with no main roads for miles. There’s a sand school as well as a cross country course, which are available for private hire, as well as off-road hacking. Lessons start at £10 per hour depending on your requirements, and they also offer personalised classes in dressage and jumping, which can be discussed over the phone to cater to the individual.
Welcoming visitors and members alike, Lyme Regis Golf Club occupies a cliff top location with views over the Jurassic coastline towards Portland Bill, and overlooking the historic town and World Heritage Site of Lyme Regis. Although originally just nine holes, the course was extended to the full 18 after 1934. These days the course measures 6283 yards par 71. Green fees for a full round start at £40 and there’s a clubhouse with a bar and restaurant as well.
Lyme Regis and the Jurassic Coast have a wealth of natural history to explore, but alongside that, they also have a fascinating literary background. Literary Lyme Walking Tours take you on a journey through the setting of films and novels, introducing you to the inspiration behind famous characters and following in the footsteps of authors who chose to visit and live in the area including Jane Austen and Mary Anning. Tours are themed to particular genres and authors, such as the Jane Austen tours or the French Lieutenant's Woman tours. The walks range in times and prices so for more information get in touch or take a peek at their website!
An attractive pub with a welcoming interior full of plenty of tables and cosy corners. Pop in for a delicious light lunch or choose from the tempting dinner menu both of which champion fresh, high quality local produce
The George Hotel 4 South St, Bridport DT6 3NQ (T: 01308 423187)
There has been an inn on this site since the 13th century but it has been bought right up to date by Weatherspoons with a modern interior, extensive menu, licenced outdoor area and TV screens showing live news and sporting events.
The Greyhound 2 East St, Bridport DT6 3LF (T: 01308 421905)
A small pebble beach close to the historic market town of Bridport, Eype Beach is a steep shelved beach (Eype means ‘steep place’) with beautiful views of the West Dorset coast. Dogs are permitted all year round and refreshments are available at Lower Eype. The beach is part of one of the most beautiful little villages in the area, where buildings can be traced back to the late 18th century. Consisting of Lower Eype and Higher Eype, it’s the lower part of the village that has access to the beach, which also boasts the magnificent Golden Cap, the highest cliff on the south coast at 191-metres above sea level. The beach is favoured by swimmers and fishing fans as well as avid fossil hunters, and there is parking nearby for a few cars as well as toilets and a pub.
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Very narrow single track access road with limited passing places. Would not recommend purely due to access difficulties.
Under the golden glow of the majestic sandstone cliffs and the Golden Cap, the highest cliff on the south coast, West Bay Beach (made famous by the popular drama series Broadchurch) is in the south of the historic market town of Bridport. At the western end of Chesil Beach, the area forms part of the Dorset Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site within Lyme Bay and is a wonderful location for family holidays. Bridport Town is a short bus ride away or a very pleasant 20-minute walk. The beach itself is shingle, sand and pebbles with steep shelving, a slipway and a harbour. There’s an auxiliary coastguard and lifeguards at your service, toilets, disabled toilets and a beachside refreshment kiosk. Nearby activities include kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, sailing, swimming surfing and jet skiing. There are also car parks close by and while dogs are banned from May to September, they are allowed out of the summer season.
A National Trust beach in Burton Bradstock, Hive Beach is part of an estate that forms one of the main gateways to the Jurassic Coast and the South West Coast Path. Around it are beautiful cliff top walks, and surrounded by the sandstone cliffs, Hive Beach perfect for visiting families. Made of shingle, it forms part of the larger Chesil Beach and is on a World Heritage Site that has the largest shingle ridge in the world. The nearby Burton Cliff is an example of extraordinary geology in the area, which appears to glow bright gold in the sunlight. Perfect for picnics, the beach has a car park and toilets nearby, linked to the Hove Beach Café which specializes in serving fish. From 1st June to the end of September there are restrictions for dogs on the beach, but they are welcome on at least part of it all year round.
A National Trust beach, Cogden is a little known, secluded sand and shingle beach that comes complete with a members’ car park. It has a wonderful sense of feeling remote but being surprisingly easy to access – the bus even stops there! There aren’t any facilities, but it’s a beautiful setting, and in truth, the lack of goings on is part of its charm. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round and it’s a haven for walkers looking to explore the area with the National Trust’s two mile/one-hour circular walk passing through it from flower-filled farmland, past ground nesting birds and along this striking section of the Jurassic Coast, known for having the largest shingle ridge in the world.
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There's a lovely 2 mile circular walk through the fields from the NT car park - through late spring and early summer orchids are to be found
A shingle beach that shelves steeply, West Bexington Beach is in Bridport, and like many beaches in the area is popular with walkers with beautiful views in all directions. There’s parking close by so remember to bring cash, as well as toilets and facilities, shops, restaurants, a refreshment kiosks and a picnic area. Dogs are allowed on the beach but there are restrictions and seasonal bans, so keep that in mind before you visit. The village of West Bexington itself is a small coastal village surrounded by National Trust land, so as you can imagine, it’s all suitably scenic. The area is perfect for sea fishing off the beach, catching mackerel in the summer and bass in the autumn on a landscape that consists of the beach, a reed bed, wet meadow and scrub – it’s a birdwatchers paradise. The beach is also good for swimming, but only if you’re a strong swimmer, and the entire Jurassic coastline is ideal for budding adventurers to hunt for fossils.
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Always quiet, usually sunny and sometimes dramatic. Treat the pebbles like a beanbag and you can settle in for a sunbathe.