Lyme Regis

Im­mor­talised in lit­er­a­ture and film, it’s a gem of a town to ex­plore

Woman's Weekly (UK) - - Travel -

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.

Travel de­tails

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

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