Lyme Regis, Dorset is a seaside town fondly nicknamed ‘The Pearl of Dorset’. With breathtaking scenery, fabulous coastal walks, family-friendly beaches and delicious food, it’s a great place to visit all year round. There are many exciting things to do in Lyme Regis, whether it’s hunting for fossils, admiring the coastal views, or immersing yourself in the artistic quarter of the town.
The harbour in Lyme Regis is known as the Cobb. This old stone pier is believed to have existed from the time of Edward I. Stretching for 870 feet, the Cobb’s curved shape forms a breakwater to protect the town from the damage of storms. The artificial harbour greatly helped the town prosper as a port and shipbuilding centre from the 13th century onwards. At one point during the 1700s, the port was larger than the Port of Liverpool. The Cobb has featured in films and books. Jane Austen loved Lyme Regis so much that it was mentioned in her book Persuasion, where Louisa Musgrave walks along the Cobb when she slips and falls – so watch your step! In the film The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Meryl Streep walks to the end of the Cobb in a storm. The landmark is a popular place to visit today, with many cafes and restaurants close by. Along the Cobb is the Lyme Regis Marine Aquarium where you can learn about local marine animal and plant life.
Things to do in Lyme Regis
Lyme Regis Museum
The Lyme Regis Museum is packed with curious and engaging displays. The collections are quite extensive for such a small museum, and cover the town’s local history through incredible fossil collections, maritime and domestic objects, paintings, prints and photographs. The museum is built on the site of Mary Annings’s home, a palaeontologist who made important finds in the area. Today, the museum runs fossil walks with local experts where you can discover the geology of the Jurassic Coast.
Dinosaurland Fossil Museum
Another fun museum if you’re interested in fossils is the Dinosaurland Fossil Museum. You’ll find over 12,000 specimens on display, including the largest recorded dinosaur and the smallest microfossil. In the Time Gallery, you can discover the earth’s history and see how the continents have transformed over the years. In the Natural History Room, a collection of taxidermy and present day skeletons awaits. Why not take a fossil home with you? Visit the gift shop and browse more than 500 types of fossil and mineral rocks.
Lyme Regis is a walker’s paradise. Perched on the Dorset-Devon border, the town has walks in both directions. Within the town, there is a lovely walk along the Marine Parade where you’ll find shops, cafes and restaurants along the beach. Lyme Regis is part of the South West Coast Path, England’s longest waymarked long-distance footpath. It stretches for 630 miles but fortunately, there are shorter sections of the route you can take from Lyme Regis. The walk from town to West Bay is around 10 miles and passes through the village of Charmouth, over the famous Golden Cap, down into the pretty village of Seatown before arriving in West Bay.
Stretching for a mile from the Cobb to Pinhey Beach, Monmouth Beach is part of Dorset’s magnificent Jurassic Coast. The sand and pebble beach is a great place to go fossil hunting and rockpooling, and it’s also dog-friendly all year round.
The Town Mill
The Town Mill is a one of a kind combination of a working water mill, art galleries and creative businesses. A short walk from the seafront, you’ll find art galleries, artists’ studios, a cafe, a silversmith, a seamstress, a pottery, a bakery and deli, and a microbrewery. You can also take a tour of the restored water mill to see the Victorian milling machinery. A miller will explain how the giant water wheel creates power to drive the grindstone. Watch the process from start to finish as grain is converted into wholemeal flour.
Places to Stay in Lyme Regis
The Cobb Arms
The Cobb Arms is the perfect place to relax and enjoy extensive views over Lyme Bay. This family-run pub is bursting with charm and character, and has three comfortable luxury ensuite rooms to choose from.
Alexandra Hotel & Restaurant
This boutique hotel is set within peaceful private gardens overlooking Lyme Bay and Cobb Harbour. Wake up to a sea view in one of the classically decorated rooms. The restaurant serves fresh local food with dining room, orangery or terrace dining.
The Mariners Hotel
This 17th century hotel has retained all the charming period features of the former coaching inn, including beamed ceiling and fireplaces, and most of the rooms have sea views. There is a large private garden overlooking the bay where you can enjoy meals from the hotel restaurant.
Places to Eat & Drink in Lyme Regis
The Harbour Inn
Enjoy al-fresco style dining on the beachfront at The Harbour Inn, a family-run restaurant serving fresh, homemade dishes. The menus change regularly depending on what produce is in season.
Serving 100% homemade vegetarian and vegan food, Tierra Kitchen has an ever-changing menu of delicacies with a Mediterranean influence. The restaurant also has a riverside terrace and a deli.
The Royal Standard
Boasting views of the harbour, The Royal Standard is a traditional pub serving home cooked food. Enjoy the sun in the beer garden which leads down onto the beach.