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The 12 best things to do in Lyme Regis

The 12 best things to do in Lyme Regis

The 12 best things to do in Lyme Regis

Nestled in the corner of Lyme Bay lies the most idyllic English seaside town along the whole of the world famous Jurassic Coast.

Lyme Regis is a fabulous place to visit, and we know you are going to love being here just as much as we do.

So, we’ve put together this handy ‘locals’ guide to give you a complete rundown of the best things to do in Lyme Regis.

Whether you prefer soaking up the sun, discovering delicious delicacies, or getting out into the great outdoors, this guide is packed full of fun and entertainment for all tastes and pockets.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

1. Take in the stunning views

Even the most jaded traveller’s heart soars as they crest the hill and look down on this historic fishing port, with its sweeping stone Cobb, brightly painted houses clinging to the steep hill, and dramatic Jurassic coast curving away to Portland in the East and Exmouth in the West.  

To get the best view of Lyme Bay’s breathtaking scenery, head up to the seafront gardens and enjoy the vistas with a delicious local ice cream (watch those seagulls!).

Why not pop on a local history podcast while you’re at it, and learn about the town’s unique and fascinating history stretching all the way back to the 8th century.

2. Go fossil hunting

Explore for fossils on any one of the nearby beaches.  This is where Mary Anning, the great nineteenth century paleontologist was born and made her discoveries. 

Head towards picturesque Charmouth Beach with its lovely cafes and fossil shops, or take a walk West, at low-tide, past the pretty beach huts by Monmouth Beach and follow the trail to the amazing Ammonite Pavement.

Here you will discover thousands of fossilised ammonites embedded in limestone. These little creatures form an extinct group of marine molluscs dating from 199 million years ago!

If you prefer a guided tour, Lyme Regis Museum runs regular fossil walks from May onwards. Guides will be on hand with all the tips and tricks to have you finding fossils like a seasoned rock hound!

3. Get location spotting

Lyme has been used in innumerable films and television shows.  ‘Ammonite’ starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan is set in Lyme, as well as recent filming for Netflix’s ‘Heartstopper’.  

The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ has a wonderfully moody scene of Meryl Streep walking on the Cobb.  More recently Timothy Chalomet’s Willy Wonka lands on the Cobb in ‘Wonka’.   

Even as far back as 1818, Lyme Regis was featured in Jane Austen’s novel ‘Persuasion’. You can book a Jane Austen tour at the wonderful Alexandra Hotel, where you can also enjoy an incredible afternoon tea with spectacular views across the bay.

4. Take a trip to Baboo!

Treat yourself to some locally produced, award-winning ice cream from Baboo Gelato.

With outlets at either end of the iconic beach, the family owned company has won heaps of foodie awards for their handmade gelato and sorbets.

Made with organic milk (non-diary is also available!) and the best seasonal ingredients, you’ll find everything from traditional favourites like Madagascan Vanilla to exotic delicacies like Piedmont Hazelnut gelato and Sicilian blood orange sorbet.

But don’t be limited by a cone or a cup, they’ve also got rich gelato milkshakes and their famous ‘croffles’ (a croissant toasted in a waffle iron with a big scoop of gelato, whipped cream, and caramel sauce).

5. Discover the best local food

From fine dining to fish & chips, Lyme punches way above its weight with some of the best pubs, restaurants and cafes in the South West. 

Lilac Restaurant, Tom’s and Hix’s Fish & Oyster Bar are unmissable. 

For something more casual go to the beautifully located Swim or Poco Pizza; and for a very superior scallop while watching the sun go down, try Herbie’s on Marine Parade.  

6. Shop local

As you wander through the old town, you’ll discover a whole raft of independent shops, cafés, micro-breweries and museums. 

It may only have a population of 3,000, but there’s so much to see and do on the high-street and the little alleyways and passages that meander away from the main drag.

For those of you who like to read, there are many lovely little historic book shops to be discovered around here too.

Unlike some seaside towns, Lyme has made great efforts to preserve its charm, drawing on years of history to provide visitors with a truly memorable day out.

7. Find your inner child

For those of you with kids to entertain, and those just looking to recapture your childhood, there’s mini-golf in Lister Gardens to get your competitive juices flowing. Or why not gamble your 2p pieces away at the classic seaside amusement arcade.

Alternatively, just let the sand run between your toes on one of the South Coast’s warmest, most sheltered little beaches.

8. Dive into watersports

One of the best things about Lyme Regis is that you can swim all year round (but do check what the locals are doing first).

The harbour and breakwater provide plenty of protection. Even in January there’ll be a hardy contingent of cold water swimmers, while in the summer it’s positively Mediterranean (well, not quite, but we’ve got to dream, right?).

For the more adventurous amongst you, there are all kinds of boat trips available from fishing trips to rib rides. You can even book sailing courses at Lyme Regis sailing club throughout the summer.

9. Visit Lyme Regis Marine Aquarium on the Cobb

This little museum is eccentric and charming.  It’s not every day you get to hand feed a mullet or touch a starfish. 

Lyme Regis Marine Aquarium is a fantastic place to learn about the marine life along the Dorset and Devon coast lines.

It’s an experience your small children are unlikely to ever forget!

10. Attend our local events

During the summer there is scarcely a weekend that goes by without some kind of entertaining and unusual event.  

Dorset have every sort of music festival, food festival, pirate festival, Dorset Knob throwing competitions, the huge Melplash Agricultural Show in nearby Bridport, and of course the World Nettle Eating championship.

The Marine Theatre also has a full programme of events running throughout the season, from community theatre to live music.

11. Visit the Town Mill

This ancient watermill, set in the artisan quarter of Lyme Regis, was rescued from dereliction by local volunteers. It has been lovingly restored and is now run as a small charitable trust.

Today, the story of the Town Mill is recounted by the volunteer millers who mill stoneground wholemeal flour, and keep this special place open for you and your friends to enjoy.

Set around a picturesque cobbled courtyard, the restored mill buildings house a working watermill and mill shop, art gallery, as well as a selection of creative, artisan businesses.

12. Hike the South West Coast Path

Feeling fit?

The South West coast path is the perfect way to explore this designated area of outstanding beauty in all its glory.

You really shouldn’t visit Dorset without making time to explore at least some of this incredible countryside.

There are trails leading in all directions from Lyme Regis. Scale the Golden Cap and stand proud on the highest point of the South coast, or cross the River Lym and hike deep into the Axe Valley.

A large part of the area is managed by the National Trust, which provides many of the car parks (free to National Trust members) that you can use as a base to explore from.

A good route for more advanced hikers would be from the Golden Cap to Thorncombe Beacon (stay away from the edge!). Although be warned that you will have to pass the Anchor Inn at Seatown on the way - a fine pub that has been known to ruin many a hikers best intentions!

Over to you!

We hope this article has inspired you to make the most of your time in this wonderful corner of the world.

Next we’d love to hear from you. Did we miss anything? What did you most enjoy about Lyme Regis? Let us know and we might include it in this post!

And hey, if you found this article useful and you know someone else who is about to come down to Lyme Regis, please feel free to share it with them!


images from Astrid IQ 
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