By Katie Wilson
If you’re planning a trip to the Jurassic Coast, one of the best places to stay is Lyme Regis.
This pretty West Dorset seaside town is famous for its iconic Cobb harbour, fossil beaches where there is treasure to be found – and it’s fast becoming a foodie hotspot.
The best way to get there is by car, especially if you want to explore more of the 95 mile stretch of the Jurassic Coast, England’s only natural World Heritage site.
Trains go to Axminster where you can get a bus or taxi into Lyme Regis in around 40 minutes. There is also a hop-on hop-off Jurassic Coast bus which runs from Exeter to Poole.
Where to stay in Lyme Regis
Lyme Regis is full of holiday homes, hotels and B&Bs, so you won’t be short of places to stay. Most are within a 5-10 minute walk to the beach.
Our favourites are Lyme Townhouse, which includes a continental breakfast. Pubs with rooms, which are worth a visit even if you’re not staying there, are the Rock Point Inn with harbour views and The Pilot Boat with its huge beer garden. Some rooms come with roll top baths.
For self-catering stays check out Lyme Bay Holidays for over 200 options, ranging from traditional cottages near the River Lym in the older part of town to luxury seafront apartments.
We stayed at Lyme Bay’s Little West Hill Studio on Pound Road, just off Silver Street – the main hill which leads from the town to the harbour.
Check-in was contactless using a key box at the Lyme Bay office very close to our apartment. Once inside, we loved the compact but well thought out set up which definitely made the most of the space.
There was a sofa, coffee table and cosy wood-burner style fire, separate dining table and fully equipped kitchen. Guests can choose to use the mezzanine bed accessed by a ladder or the pull out sofa bed. There is a separate bathroom with shower.
The thing we loved the most was the sea view from the balcony which looked magical in the mornings or at sunset. The property owners, who live in a separate house next door, also have two pet ducks who came to say hello a couple of times.
Rates start from £410 for seven nights
Where to eat in Lyme Regis
If you’re a foodie, Lyme Regis is the place for you. Restaurant Robin Wylde by chef Harriet Mansell is where to head for fine dining.
A nine course tasting menu making the most of local produce is £68pp. Add wine pairing for £50pp. It’s worth noting there is only one sitting starting at 6pm or 6.30pm for dinner Wednesday to Saturday. Lunch is served from 12pm.
Sister restaurant and wine bar Lilac, which opened in summer 2021, is a short walk down the road and is definitely worth visiting while you’re in the area. Pop in for a drink – the wine is impeccable – or try some of the delicious small plates from the ever-changing food menu. Highlights when we visited were the Mackerel with Charred Peach and Salsa Verde and the Confit Duck leg.
For pub grub, our hands down favourite was the Rock Point Inn which did such good fish and chips we ordered them twice (on different days). If the weather is nice grab a seat on the terrace and soak up those harbour views.
Be aware that pubs close to The Cobb close at around 9pm even on weekends, so stay in town and head to the pubs the locals drink in.
The 400-year-old Volunteer Inn on Broad Street is one of the last independent pubs in Lyme Regis and has a great atmosphere. You’ll definitely make friends in here. Further into town, head to The Ship Inn, a cool boozer open from 3pm until 11pm every day.
Just next door in The Town Mill district pop in for a pint at Lyme Regis Brewery. This cute courtyard is also home to the upmarket Millside restaurant, cafes, art galleries, pottery and sewing workshops, plus a working water mill.
TIP: Walk along the cottage-lined riverside path behind the mill to get back into town.
Swim Cafe on the seafront is great for terrace drinks or casual all-day dining. Grab an award-winning pastie or slice of cake at The Cornish Bakery. While Baboo Gelato serves up great coffee and ice cream near the beach.
What to do in Lyme Regis
The main thing people flock to Lyme Regis for is fossil hunting, and if you’ve never given it a go, it’s surprisingly addictive.
Monmouth Beach is where to see the famous Ammonite Pavement, a fascinating trail of huge snail-like fossils embedded into the rock.
If you’re serious about finding your own fossils to take home head to Black Ven beach – which Lyme’s most famous resident, Victorian fossil hunter Mary Anning, used to scour daily. Just make sure you check the tide times before you visit so you don’t get stranded.
In warmer months go for a swim at Lyme Bay, try paddleboarding, kayaking or go on a boat trip. The more adventurous can book a high speed Lyme Rib Ride boat.
Must-dos all year round are a stroll along The Cobb, which looks just as good with waves crashing over it as it does in the sunshine. Keep your eyes peeled for the steps known as Grandma’s Teeth.
Langmoor and Lister Gardens, where the trees illuminate in bright colours at night, are particularly pretty to walk through on your way down to the beach.
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