The picturesque seaside resort of Lyme Regis, with its relaxed pace of life and genteel, old-world charm is a wonderful place to escape and unwind. Situated on the dramatic Jurassic Coast, on the border between Dorset and Devon, visitors to the town will appreciate the natural beauty of the setting nestled in rolling countryside, with miles of stunning coastal scenery right on their doorstep.
The town itself is famous for its iconic Cobb, a curving harbour wall dating back to the 13th century that is also a great spot for crabbing, fishing, or taking a boat trip to admire the magnificent views from the water. At the far end of the Cobb you’ll find the Lyme Regis Aquarium featuring a variety of local marine life, including crabs, seahorses and (at the time of writing) an 80-year-old lobster!
The Lyme Regis Museum is certainly worth a visit, and afterwards, why not use your new-found local knowledge to find a few fossils of your own along the ancient coast, or take part in a guided fossil walk to uncover some relics from the ancient cliffs around the town, which are continuously being eroded by the sea.
Lyme Regis is the perfect place to while away a pleasurable afternoon strolling through the historic 14th century old town which is brimming with characterful shops, tempting tea rooms and quirky galleries. Then enjoy a lively evening at the sea front theatre, or at one of many outstanding bars and restaurants serving locally caught fish and locally produced culinary treats.
If you fancy a beach day, the town's Cobb beach is popular with families, but there are several more beautiful beaches to discover nearby, including Charmouth beach, Chesil beach and Weymouth beach.
Meanwhile, for a family day out, there are several attractions within easy reach, including the Axe Valley Wildlife Park, Seaton Tramway and Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary, all of which are just over the border in East Devon.
A holiday cottage in Lyme Regis allows you to take full advantage of all this lovely seaside town has to offer, whilst being a great base to explore this beautiful corner of Dorset and East Devon.
A private museum that’s owned and run by Palaeontologist Steve Davies and his wife Jenny, Dinosaurland Fossil Museum contains a spectacular collection of the local Jurassic marine fossils. The collection grows each year, meaning there’s always something new to see, with more than 10,000 specimens to show people just how exciting and wonderful the world of fossils and dinosaurs really is. Even the building itself has an interesting pedigree as the pioneering fossil hunter Mary Anning was baptised here on 27th June 1799 and continued to worship here until about 1830. She discovered the first Ichthyosaur on the beaches here in 1811. Opening times are seasonal, but it is open every day through the summer with admission fees at £5 for adults and £4 for children.
Giving you the opportunity to learn to sail in the ancient Cobb Harbour with all its beautiful scenery, Lyme Regis Sea School offers RYA accredited intensive sailing courses over the summer if you’re on holiday in Dorset for a little while. There’s also a variety of sailing groups including Saturday Sailing for both adults and children aimed at developing sailing skills in an informal manner throughout the summer. The school is housed at the Lyme Regis Sailing Club and also offers instructor courses for those wishing to take it to the next level.
With views of The Cobb, the beach and the coastline to Portland, the 18-hole mini golf course in Lister Gardens provides a challenge to players of all ages. Open from 9am-6pm in the spring and summer, winter opening times are a little shorter. Prices start at £3.00 per game for adults and £1.50 per game for children under 14.
Standing where Dorset meets Devon, the Lyme Regis Museum is on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and was built on the site of fossilist Mary Anning’s home. A chance to discover Lyme’s history, geology, fossils, artists and writers, from J M Whistler to Jane Austen and John Fowles, the museum stands in the heart of the town and is run almost entirely by volunteers. Collections range from interesting to quirky displays with walks and events scheduled throughout the season, so keep an eye on the website for more information. The museum is open from Easter to November and prices start at £3.95 for adults while children and students go free.
Brandon Lennon is a professional fossil collector in Lyme Regis who has turned his expertise into an experience to share, offering guided tours along part of Lyme Bay’s famous Jurassic Coast. Informative, educational, and giving you the chance to find your own fossils along the way, he set up the business with his father Ian, himself a geologist, and together they offer more than 25 years’ experience in the field. Brandon’s fossils are sold in local shops and online, and the pair have featured on numerous TV programmes showcasing their knowledge. There’s a timetable of public walks that you can book, as well as private walks available – simply contact them directly through the website.
The Volunteer Inn is a family-run, seventeenth century pub located in the heart of Lyme Regis in Dorset. One of the only remaining pubs on the high street it is traditional in style with cosy areas to sit and chat, a nice fire roaring in the colder months, great atmosphere, friendly staff, and of course a good pint - a winning combination!
The Volunteer Inn 31 Broad St, Lyme Regis DT7 3QE (T: 01297 442214)
A charming hotel restaurant serving top-quality dishes which celebrate local produce with an award winning wine cellar to accompany them. The food at the Alexandra ensures a truly fine dining experience and the head chef and his team create dishes using a fusion of the traditional and contemporary. Testament to their 2016 Gold Award.
Alexandra Hotel & Restaurant, Pound St, Lyme Regis DT7 3HZ (T: 01297 442010)
A family run pub with a fantastic atmosphere in a great location on the harbourside of Lyme Regis. Catering for everyone including the dog and also specialising in gluten free food. A whole range of wonderful choices to excite your taste buds and well positioned to enjoy the summer carnival, food festivals and famous lifeboat week.
Cobb Arms, Marine Parade, Lyme Regis DT7 3JF (T: 01297 443242)
In the picturesque harbour town of Lyme Regis, Town Beach is covered in pebbles at one end thanks to the coastal protection scheme that placed them there to provide essential care for the Marine Parade and the buildings along it. At the other end the beach has been built up with sand, no longer gets covered at high tide and provides an extensive beach area manned by RNLI lifeguards in the summer. There are kiosks, cafes, shops and restaurants bordering the beach, so it’s ideal for visiting with family and spending the whole day on the sand if the weather allows. The main sandy beach in the area, it’s a delight and easy to get to when on holiday in Dorset. There is paid parking nearby, so don’t forget your change, and remember that dogs are not permitted from 1st April to 31st October, while from 1st November to 31st March they must be on leads.
Famous for its picturesque Jurassic coastline, as well as its array of fossils, Church Cliff Beach is on the edge of Lyme Regis town. Sandy in places, at low tide there is an extensive rock ledge with hundreds of rock pools where you can catch shrimp. The River Lym flows into the bay, so paddling is a necessity if you want to stroll on the sand. The beach is flanked by rock armour which protects the promenade, and the sand is covered at high tide. There’s paid parking close by, so don’t forget your change. There are facilities, restaurants and cafes in the town. There’s no lifeguard cover on this beach, and dogs are permitted all year round, which is great news for walkers as it also makes up part of the West Dorset Heritage Coast and its accompanying footpaths.
A fine shingle beach with sand at the water’s edge, East Cliff Beach is a beautiful place to spend the day with the family on summer holidays in Dorset. There’s lifeguard cover from July to September in the summer holidays on East Beach itself, but that doesn’t really cover East Cliff Beach, so just be careful when and where you swim and stay away from the cliff base to avoid falling stones. There’s a long stay car park behind East Beach and a smaller short stay car park just before entering the harbour area in front of the Bridport Arms Hotel. Toilets are located at the main West Bay Road car park and baby changing facilities are provided as well. Dogs are permitted on the beach all year round, but it is a clean zone that’s regularly patrolled by wardens imposing fines, so don’t forget to clean up after your pets!
This pretty harbour town dates back to the 14th century, and is sheltered by a curving harbour wall, The Cobb, as its known contains a small sandy beach made famous in the opening shot of the film The French Lieutenant’s Woman. You reach the beach between the RNLI station and the slipway, and there is lifeguard cover in the summer months. Activities nearby include fishing, sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, swimming, surfing and water skiing, while facilities close to the beach include cafes and restaurants and toilets. There are lots of walks in the area including guided tours of the famous fossil bearing cliffs. There is paid parking nearby, Axminster train station is five minutes away as the crow flies and buses are available to the town centre. Dogs are allowed on the beach from 1st November to 30th March as long as they’re on the lead, but they are not permitted in the summer months.
Named after the Duke of Monmouth who landed here in 1685 in an attempt to take the crown from King James II, Monmouth Beach is a large pebble and sand beach that stretches over a kilometer southwest from the Cobb wall. There are beach huts, a bowling green, the Lyme Regis Power Boat Club and paid car parks close by. Meanwhile, for those wishing to have their own exploratory adventures, you can find a layer of limestone called the ammonite graveyard at Monmouth Beach, containing a large number of (you guessed it) ammonites. There are numerous walks close by and dogs are allowed on the beach all year round. There is lifeguard cover in the summer, and all the town’s cafés, restaurants and amenities are within easy reach.