Easily accessible, and only three hours from London and the Midlands, Lyme Regis is away from it all, nestling in the unspoilt West Dorset countryside. Part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site, and surrounded by areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Lyme Regis, the “Pearl of Dorset”, is famous for its fossils, its historic old town, its Cobb and its beaches. And now it’s a destination for food lovers, with Hix Oyster and Fish House in the town, and River Cottage HQ and Axminster Canteen both close by.
The old town, dating back to the 14th century, is an ideal place to walk and explore the local shops, art galleries, newly replanted gardens with myriad places to stop to eat and drink. Built around the River Lym, Lyme has its own working Water Mill, recently refurbished to include an electricity generator. Lyme Regis is probably the smallest town in the country to boast its own cinema, theatre, and museum.
The Cobb attracts visitors – not just for its visual splendour and its magnificent naval architecture, but also for its connections with great literature. Indeed, people come from all over the world to see the steps where Louisa Musgrove fell in Jane Austen’s Persuasion; or to see where Meryl Streep stood, looking forlornly out to sea, in the film adaptation of John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman. And art lovers are drawn to Lyme for both its beautiful scenery and for its wide range of art galleries.
Holiday makers will enjoy a family-friendly, sandy beach and an often-surprising micro-climate in the shelter of Lyme Bay. Marine Parade is a great place to walk, sit, enjoy the views and visit its small shops and eating places. Here the seafront facilities will soon benefit from restoration of the Marine Parade Shelters, opened in summer 2011. The town and surrounding area have many attractions and host a range of family-centred events, including a Jazz Festival, a Fossil Festival, Life Boat Week and a Regatta & Carnival Week.
For visitors who have had enough of the hurly-burly, and need to escape, there are many delightful places to stay to suit all budgets. You will be able to enjoy walks in the surrounding countryside and there are many opportunities to go out on a boat to view the glorious coastline from the sea or to fish in the clear waters of Lyme Bay.
Whether you are into sunbathing, walking, fossils or even jazz – Lyme Regis has something for everyone.