Immortalised in literature and film, it’s a gem of a town to explore
As you arrive in the coastal town of Lyme Regis, you realise pretty quickly why it’s nicknamed The Pearl of
Dorset. Sitting alongside crumbling cliffs on a perfect stretch of beach, it’s an atmospheric place that’s great for whiling away a long weekend. The area is famous for the fossils found in the cliffs and on the beaches, and you can pick up beautiful ammonites from shops around town if you fail to hunt any out for yourself.
The view out to sea is dominated by a distinctive harbour wall known as The Cobb, where you can retrace the steps of Meryl Streep’s eponymous character in the
1981 film The French Lieutenant’s Woman – although perhaps in less stormy conditions!
What to do
Apart from the obligatory beach walks and fossilhunting excursions, the town itself has some fabulous shops and places to eat and drink. Fuego on Coombe Street is worth seeking out for its handicrafts and homeware, Cellar 59 serves an amazing selection of craft beers – and, if you can track
down local artist Julie Oldfield, you’ll want to snap up one of her pieces. Her seascapes are inspired by the changing light on the ocean, and older pieces feature abstract paintings of The Cobb.
After a morning of shopping and exploring, wander through Langmoor and Lister gardens to Hix Oyster & Fish House for an afternoon cocktail and, perhaps, some oysters. Hix uses local suppliers and British seasonal ingredients. Don’t leave without trying one of the Black Cow Vodka Martinis. Made in West Dorset – entirely from the milk of grass-grazed cows – the vodka is like nothing you’ve tasted before.
Where to stay
Dorset House is a Grade II-listed building with just five rooms, each decorated impeccably, plus there’s a veranda where you can take breakfast on sunny mornings. Prices start from £95 per room, per night and includes a cooked breakfast.
What to eat
The Harbour Inn, right on the harbour front, has the best views in town. Make sure you book in advance to secure a table for dinner. Serving fresh seafood, steaks and a good array of wines, you’ll be won over by this charming, family-run restaurant.
The best way to get to and from Lyme Regis is by car, and the town is easily explored on foot. The nearest railway station is in Axminster, five miles away (the old branch line to Lyme is long closed now), with trains connecting to London Waterloo and exeter.
Hix Oyster & Fish House
View of Lyme Regis from The Cobb Stay at swanky Dorset House .... …and breakfast in style