Right in the southwest corner of Dorset you will find the beautiful small town of Lyme Regis. This small hilly town hugs the English Channel and is famous for its fossil hunting.
Staying just across the border in Devon, I made a day trip to Lyme Regis at the start of the summer holidays, arriving early to beat the crowds and secure my spot upon the small, sandy beach.
Upon arrival at the beach, the tide was beginning to go out and in the shallow water you could see lots of little hermit crabs scurrying about in the ebbing waves.
The water was calm and for once, relatively warm (I must add that this was during the July heatwave so that probably helped!).
This beach also has the advantage of lifeguards during the peak of the summer, so is understandably a popular swimming spot for families.
After some time spent relaxing on the beach, I popped to a seaside beach bar, SWIM, to enjoy a spot of lunch before walking along the historic Cobb.
The Cobb is one of Lyme Regis’ most distinctive features and is often the image associated with British storms. This sea defence structure is often photographed in the winter with huge rolling waves crashing over it.
On the day I visited though, it was a place of tranquillity with the water barely reaching much height on the walls. It’s pretty amazing to think that a structure similar to what exists today has been there for so many centuries too.
Along the Cobb you can expect some magnificent views of Lyme Regis town, the harbour and towards the Jurassic coastline, a World Heritage Site thanks to its geological features. As you look westwards along the coast you can see some of the cliff faces that are home to fossils.
At low tide, you can go fossil hunting for yourself along here, although of course, be very careful of being too close to the cliff face and make sure you know your tide times. To err on the side of caution I’d recommend booking onto one of the guided fossil walks that is run by the Lyme Regis Fossil Museum. Unfortunately, this was fully booked when I visited but is something I’d love to do in the future.
Look eastwards along the coast and you can see along to Charmouth (another great spot for fossil hunting) and on a clear day, you can see the Isle of Purbeck and Chesil beach in the distance.
From the Cobb you can also book onto various boating excursions including mackerel fishing and RIB rides. There’s also a small marine aquarium where for a fee, you can view some of the marine creatures that are native to our British seas.
For a small amount extra, you can also pay to handfeed some of the mullet.
Although not a huge aquarium, it is certainly informative and any younger visitors in your group will probably enjoy seeing some of the fish and crustaceans that lurk in our waters.
After the inevitable ice cream and play in the small seaside arcade, I wandered up through some of the town. There is a thriving independent shop scene here in Lyme, with some lovely looking boutiques, an independent wine shop and the children’s favourite, the fossil shop where I’m sure lots of pocket money gets spent!
If you are down in the Dorset/Devon area then I’d definitely suggest adding Lyme Regis to your itinerary.