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Often nicknamed ‘The Pearl of Dorset’ this beautiful seaside town in West Dorset is, perhaps, one of the county’s best known. With its historic Cobb and harbour, sweeping beaches, safe bathing waters, breathtaking scenery and a plethora of things to do, it’s not difficult to see why it attracts so many visitors, especially during the summer. Set on the Jurassic Coast, Lyme Regis is also a popular spot for fossil hunting - a pastime enjoyed by all ages. Its unique features, combined with boutique shops, friendly pubs, delicious restaurants, and unique attractions, offer visitors a wealth of things to do and we have picked out the very best to help you plan your next trip to Lyme Regis.
1. Go fossil hunting in Mary Anning’s footsteps at Monmouth Beach
The birthplace of Mary Anning, one of the most important fossil collectors and palaeontologists in history, you can follow in her footsteps at Monmouth Beach. The remains of marine reptiles were first discovered in 1811 by Mary Anning and her brother, but today, they can still be found on the beach and make special souvenirs from your trip. The best time to set out is at the falling tide, as the sea pulls back and leaves them behind on the shore.
Situated in the heart of the town, Lyme Regis Museum is built on the site of Mary Anning’s home. Inside, great work has gone into ensuring that this small museum is packed with interesting displays, fascinating stories, and a true insight into the town’s dynamic local history. With everything from geological displays to writer’s galleries pointing to the town’s literary connections with the likes of Jane Austen and John Fowles, a visit to the museum is certainly a must if you’re staying in the area or visiting Lyme Regis on a day trip.
A favourite for families, Lyme Regis Marine Aquarium offers an interactive insight into Dorset’s underwater world. Located at the end of the Cobb, the town’s iconic harbour wall, adults and children alike can get up close with a variety of sea creatures such as starfish, lobsters, crabs, and all kinds of colourful fish. Packed with presentations and exhibits, it is well worth spending some time here learning about the creatures and even holding and feeding some of them!
4. Step back in time at the Town Mill
Take a tour of Lyme Regis’ restored, working watermill and marvel at the giant waterwheel, driven by water from the River Lym. Learn about the workings of this fascinating mill through the ages with live demonstrations and fascinating displays. You will also discover how the Town Mill’s hydro-electric system is having a positive effect on the environment by generating its own ‘green’ electricity.
5. Tuck into a portion of fish and chips on The Cobb
Synonymous with British seaside holidays, complete a day at the beach with a portion of local fish and chips on the iconic harbour wall known as ‘The Cobb’. There are plenty of fish and chip shops in the town for you to choose from, most of them serving locally caught fish for a taste of authenticity. Complete the experience and as the sun goes down, enjoy your takeaway feast with your feet dangling over the harbour wall, watching the boats as they come in for the day.
6. Discover a plethora of Lyme Regis walks
A walker’s paradise, Lyme Regis offers a variety of routes that take you in and around the small town, as well as some long-distance trails for hardcore hikers. With several Lyme Regis walks to choose from, walkers of all abilities will be sure to find a route to suit them.
- The River Lim Walk (1.5 miles) – An easy route that takes you along the river and into the pretty village of Uplyme.
- Slopes Farm (1.5 miles) – A Woodland Trust walk past the river and through a newly established woodland at the back of the town.
- Undercliff (7 miles) – A more challenging route over the cliffs with rewarding glimpses of the sea.
- Lyme Regis to Charmouth (2.5 miles) – With beautiful views across Lyme Regis, this route takes you up Church Street to a footpath.
- The Liberty Trail (28 miles) – Not for the faint hearted, this challenging route stretches from Lyme Regis to Ham Hill in Somerset.
- East Devon Way (40 miles) – This long-distance route runs from Exmouth to Lyme Regis passing through eight villages and crossing five rivers.
7. Attend one of Lyme Regis’ colourful events
A schedule of colour events brings Lyme Regis to life throughout the year, from food and music festivals to feel-good family fun days. These are the Lyme Regis events that should be at the top of your schedule:
- Lyme Regis Regatta and Carnival – taking place during the summer holidays, you can expect everything from regatta races and carnival processions to fireworks and kids’ entertainment.
- Lyme Regis Lifeboat Week – this annual event takes place every July with all kinds of entertainment, events, and competitions for families to take part in.
- Food Rocks Festival – a busy programme of events across two days in September to celebrate the very best of South West produce.
- Lyme Regis Fossil Festival – Usually taking place in October, the festival is alive with experts, walks, talks, entertainment, displays and hands-on science for all ages!
8. Spend a day on one of the Lyme Regis beaches
With several to choose from, Lyme Regis is a great destination for beach lovers and with three of four of them welcoming dogs all year round, it’s a great choice if your canine will be joining you on holiday. Offering a combination of pebbles and sand, Town Beach stretches for the length of Marine Parade. On the south side of the Cobb, you will find the sprawling beach of Monmouth with its colourful beach huts and fossils. The smaller beaches of Church Cliff and East Cliff sit to the north of the town towards Charmouth.
9. Dine out in one of the delicious Lyme Regis restaurants
Scattered with cafes, pubs and restaurants, foodies will be spoilt for choice when looking for places to eat in Lyme Regis. A fabulous way to start your day is with breakfast at The Lyme Bay Café & Bar as you admire the panoramic views over the bay and across The Cobb. There are several welcoming pubs in Lyme Regis; head to The Cobb Arms for a hearty pub lunch or soak up the sights and sounds of the River Lym at The Millside Restaurant, located in one of the oldest parts of the town. Treat yourselves to a memorable evening meal at the elegant Oak Room Restaurant at the Royal Lion Hotel.
10. Go on a Lyme Regis boat trip
Experience the local area from the water on a Lyme Regis boat trip with Lyme Rib Rides. Not only do they offer the thrill of a coastal rib ride, but also more leisurely scenic cruises lead by experienced skippers around the Jurassic Coast. Get up close to some of the most beautiful sights on this stretch of coast. Sure to be a memorable experience, a Lyme Regis boat trip is a fun family-friendly activity to add to your itinerary. They also run a series of sea taxis that take the scenic route to West Bay – hop aboard and avoid the traffic! You can also join Nick’s Fishing Trips and experience life as a fisherman aboard a chartered boat.
11. Browse the unique collection of Lyme Regis shops
There’s always time for a little retail therapy when on holiday and Lyme Regis certainly won’t disappoint. With an assortment of independent shops, you’ll find everything from unique gifts and handmade jewellery to fossils and antiques. That's not to mention the bakeries, butchers, greengrocers and delis selling the very best of local produce. Why not pop into a local store at the start of your stay to stock up on self-catering supplies? Not only will you find the main street of Broad Street packed with shops, but look a little deeper, and you’ll uncover many boutiques hidden down smaller streets and away from the main hubbub of the town.
12. Relax and play in Lyme Regis’ Langmoor and Lister Gardens
These fabulous seafront gardens offer some of the best views in Lyme Regis. A haven for flora and fauna, the woodland boardwalk offers lots of places to sit with an ice cream, enjoy the view and listen to the huge variety of birds that have made the gardens their home. Complete with a crazy golf course and table tennis tables, it’s somewhere you can while away the hours on a summer’s day and leave feeling completely relaxed and content.
Stay in a Lyme Regis holiday cottage
A characterful apartment located in the heart of Lyme Regis, just a short walk into the main town and seaside, and a few steps to beautiful Langmoor and Lister Gardens. It’s the perfect cosy bolthole for a romantic couples’ escape in Dorset.
Wandas – sleeps 2, 2 dogs welcome
Located just outside of Lyme Regis in the pretty village of Uplyme this beautiful open-plan studio apartment provides couples with the very best of the Dorset coast and countryside. Enjoy a picturesque walk to the beach through a wooded glen beside the river and spend days on the beach and evenings on the sunny terrace.
This beautiful house in the charming village of Uplyme is perfect for a small family, with plenty of space inside and a pretty garden for enjoying the sun. Soak up the surrounding countryside with an abundance of footpaths, including a beautiful route beside the river that will take you into Lyme Regis itself.
Are you ready to book a holiday on the Jurassic Coast? Whether you have been inspired to stay in Lyme Regis or another of Dorset’s coastal towns we hope we’ve helped plan your itinerary. For more ideas on where to stay in Dorset, view our full collection.