Dating back more than 900 years, Forde Abbey House and Gardens is a family home as well as a working estate that welcomes visitors all year round. In more than 30 acres of grounds including lakes, the age and beauty of the property is something to experience in itself, with features including the famous Mortlake tapestries created from the cartoons Raphael painted for the Sistine Chapel. You can have lunch or tea in the Monastic Undercroft Tearoom, there’s a gift shop and plant centre for gifts to take home. The property also hosts guided tours and activities for families and children, and seasonal events are organized, so do keep an eye on the website before you visit. Prices start at £12.50 for adults while children under 15 go free.
Caring for unwanted and abandoned animals for over 75 years, Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Somerset hosts activities and events that contribute towards the charitable running costs of this wonderful facility. Set in 51 acres, you can visit the ever changing menagerie of animals including dogs, cats, horses, pigs, goats, sheep, rabbits, birds, chinchillas and more and have coffee and lunch while you’re there. The Sanctuary is open seven days a week and all donations are welcome.
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Home to four species of deer, the South West Deer Rescue Centre is set in over 110 acres of Somerset countryside. Learn about the deer, and even touch them in their ‘Touching the Wild’ experience, a completely magical event for anyone involved. Visits are arranged by appointment, for more information visit the website.
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The former coaching Inn dates back to the 16th century, and it’s one of Axminster’s favourite places to dine out. Its cosy atmosphere, great quality food and service is a hit with everyone including our four legged, furry friends in the bar area. With a separate dining room and outside patio for the fresh air types among us there is something for everyone.
The Tytherleigh Arms Tytherleigh, Axminster EX13 7BE (T: 01460 220214)
Situated in the heart of the historic market town Axminster and a short drive from River Cottage HQ, the canteen offers guests a wonderful experience. The award-winning restaurant and deli celebrates fine seasonal food and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Coffee, cake and snacks are available all day whilst regular live music features in the evening accompanied by a fantastic selection of cocktails and English wine. There is a dedicated children’s menu too and guests can also take home some of the local produce on offer throughout the menu.
River Cottage Canteen and Deli Trinity Square, Axminster EX13 5AN (T: 01297 631715)
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One of the nicest places to eat in Devon, we've been twice and had lovely food
We had a fantastic meal there back in April and hope to visit again next year
Le Pisani serves great tasting Mediterranean food in comfortable, contemporary and stylish surroundings. Excellent foods and wine with attentive service. Renowned for their warm welcome and vibrant approach to food, encapsulating all things Mediterranean and Sunday traditional roast available with all the trimmings
Le Pisani, Church St, Axminster (T: 01297 631697)
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We were staying in Axminster and this restaurant was recommended . It was lovely , Staff friendly , excellent food and we would certainly recommend to anyone . Go and enjoy I am glad we did .
The Axminster Inn is a friendly, traditional pub near the town centre with a real log fire for the winter months, and a lovely enclosed beer garden to enjoy in the warmer weather. Offering a good range of real ales and good-value home-cooked food including breakfasts, lunchtime and evening meals and Sunday roasts.
Axminster Inn, Silver St, Axminster EX13 5AH (T: 01297 34947)
Perfect for family days out, Charmouth Beach is a mix of sand and pebbles, fossils (for which the area is famous), good swimming and good surf. It is divided into two distinct areas (East and West) by the mouth of the River Char, which often forms a lagoon suitable for boating or watching the ducks swim past. To get to the beach, simply find the centre of the village and follow Lower Sea Lane. There are ample car parks close to the beach as well as another one half way down Lower Sea Lane if those are full. Dogs are allowed on the West beach as long as they are on leads from 1st May and 30th September between the sea defenses and Lyme Regis but not on the area of beach in front of the beach huts and the Heritage Centre. From 1st July to 31st August dogs are not allowed on East Beach between 10:00am and 6:00pm, but are welcome outside these hours. At East Beach there is a beach café and picnic tables close by, and in the summer months there is a bouncy castle. There are also lots of beautiful walks close by to enjoy. West Beach meanwhile is about a mile and a half long and is a haven for fossil hunters and avid rock-poolers.
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Lovely spot to sit, relax and look for fossils.
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!
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We walked from Lyme Regis to Charmouth across this beach at low tide. MUST be low tide. It was a super walk, a bit challenging in places as we had climb over rocks. The dog absolutely loved it.
I really enjoyed this side looking at interesting stone formations. The beach 'shelving' has to be looked out for if you are paddling and it is better to wait until very low tide so that you can see where bits rise and fall.
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.
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.
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We had a lovely dog walk along the beach, very pleasant.
A lovely family friendly beach. Pebbled at one end and sandy at the other. Plenty of eateries and ice cream places. A good place for fossil hunting.
Excellent area and beach although extremely busy if the sun makes an appearance. I go to Lyme Regis whilst dogs are allowed on the beach (I do use it with my dog) and would like to see more policing re dogs off leads.
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.
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Lovely to see this in sunshine for the first time in several visits. Worth going early to see it uncrowded.