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Planning to see the Jurassic coast and need a base to explore from!? Then why not choose Lyme Regis.
Lyme Regis is situated at the heart of the Jurassic coast and is one of the best places to explore the coastline from Beer to Charmouth. But apart from explore the Jurassic coastline, what is there to do in Lyme Regis?
Me and Agne have spent the summer working in the local area, therefore have had plenty of time to explore Lyme Regis and feel it only fair that we share some of our favourite things to do.
When to visit Lyme Regis?
Well Lyme Regis is situated in rainy England so I think it goes without saying that the best time to visit is in summer. Certainly don’t rock up at the beginning of March and expect the weather to be palatable….
With that said, Lyme Regis is understandably very popular with British and foreign tourist so avoiding bank holiday weekends and the school summer holidays is a must.
Even in the middle of June the weather is pretty good most of the time but head here on say, a Tuesday and the beaches will be mainly empty so you won’t feel too claustrophobic.
What to do in Lyme Regis?
There’s many things to do in Lyme Regis, too many to mention but after spending a few months in the local area here are mine and Agne’s favourite things to do:
1. Hit the beach
There’s one thing for sure, if you love a good beach then Lyme Regis will spoil you for choice. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find it here!
The coast surrounding Lyme is home to four main beaches:
Front Beach smack bang in the heart of Lyme Regis is the sandiest of them all and encompasses the “North Wall” which has multiple cannons pointing out over Lyme Bay. A stark reminder of Lyme Regis’ turbulent past.
Monmouth Beach to the West, sometimes known as the ammonite graveyard due to the fact that it’s the place you’ll find the some of the largest fossilised ammonites of the Jurassic Coast. You can also make your way to the Undercliff National Nature Reserve from here.
Church Cliff Beach is a little more secluded, mainly shingle with the odd sandy patch and is reached by steps. To see rock pools and a huge rock ledge, low tide is the best time to visit.
East Cliff Beach is a fossil hunters dream. The cliffs are part of the biggest landslip in Europe and are packed with grey rock that houses many undiscovered fossils. The beach is cut off at high tide so be sure to check those tide times.
2. Buy some pottery
The best place for this is at the Town Mill. Open daily from 10am – 4.30pm the Town Mill Pottery shop is located in the old stable building just off the main courtyard.
You can even watch one of 3 master potters as they “throw a pot”. They’ll even talk you through the process and technique they use. Apparently it’s older than the mill itself.
And of course the works of art are for sale. For as little as £10 you can take home a hand crafted “one off!”
3. Sample some local craft beers
The best place for this is also part of the old Town Mill area of Lyme Regis. In fact it’s takes up one side of the courtyard and is right next to Town Mill Pottery Shop.
The Lyme Regis Brewery has been part of the beer brewing scene since the 18th century as it was once part of the ancient Malthouse where malt was roasted and ground for local brewers. In recent years the Lyme Regis brewery has been winning awards for its artisan craft beers since 2010.
Open daily from 11am-6pm, it’s the perfect place grab a seat in the cobbled courtyard, grab an ice cold beer and watch the world go by before checking out the nearby art galleries.
4. Check out some art galleries
The town mill also has two art galleries attached. Both galleries are very diverse in their art and aim to showcase both established and new artists work.
You can find everything here from etchings, sculptures to contemporary crafts and ceramics. Well worth a look if you’ve a spare half hour.
5. Walk the coast route to The Golden Cap
At 190m above sea level, The Golden Cap is the South coast’s highest peak. At 4.5 miles east of Lyme Regis you can walk to the Golden Cap in around 90 minutes.
However the walk from the beach to the top of the Golden Cap is pretty steep but worth it for the amazing views over the Jurassic Coast. Maybe a good place to stop for a picnic!?
6. Eat an amazing freshly baked Cornish pasty
Try a piece of real South England heritage. Before meeting me, Agne never knew what a pasty was let alone tried one. This had to be fixed!
When it comes to deciding where you’ll buy a proper traditional cornish pasty from in Lyme Regis, good luck there’s pasties everywhere here!
I know Cornish pasties are a delicacy indigenous to Cornwall/Devon but Lyme Regis is on the Devon border so that’s close enough for me to class as the real deal!!
7. Walk the Lymm River path
In all honesty, one of my favourite short walks of all time. OK, it’s not the Annapurna Circuit but this short walk is decent and definitely worth an hour of your time.
The walk starts in the centre of Lyme Regis and takes you roughly 1.5 miles adjacent to the River Lymm through farmers fields, meadows and past old thatched cottages. One even has a water wheel.
The path ends in the sleepy village of Uplyme right outside the Talbot arms pub. A nice little getaway from the hustle and bustle of the busy seaside town, especially if you visit in the school holidays.
2 pints and turn back!?
8. Go find some fossils
It’s every kids dream to find a fossil of something that lived 70,000,000 years ago. Certainly not just for the kids!
Me and Agne tried our luck at finding fossils. I have to come clean we were completely unprepared. No gear and certainly no idea. In all fairness we weren’t expecting to go fossil hunting. We just went for a walk and ended up on East Cliff Beach.
There were people of all ages, hammers, goggles, decent footwear and most importantly an idea of what they were looking for….
We had none of the above, so we just looked around and agreed to copy the person who looked the most like they knew what they were doing. The guy we chose had a solid beard, the type of beard you could trust and was also sporting what I can only describe as a miners hat. That’s him, that’s our guy!
After an hour of cracking one rock with another we did manage to find a 20mm diameter ammonite. Not our finest hour but a fossil all the same.
9. Relax and watch the world go by in Langmoor Gardens
Just inland from the main harbour is the Langmoor Gardens. It’s set on the side of a hill overlooking the harbour to the front and The Golden Cap to the left, it’s a fantastic place to sit out in the sun and watch the world go by.
10. Buy some amazing 70,000,000 year old fossils
Struggle to find your own!? Well, Lyme Regis is littered with fossil shops and while they all seem to offer the same sort of thing, our favourite is the Old Forge Fossil Shop.
As well as the spectacular priceless fossils on display you can also buy many weird and wonderful fossils. Everything from a 50,000,000 year old full fish imprint for £200 to a 3,000,000 year old Megalodon shark tooth for £75.
Situated at Broad Street and open 9.30am – 6.30pm Monday to Saturday and 10am – 4.30pm on a Sunday the Old Forge Fossil shop is definitely worth a look.
11. Lose some time in one of many amazing bookshops
Lyme Regis is riddled with book shops. I’m not normally one for books. Put me in a library and I’d do just about anything to get out as quickly as possible but these book shops in Lyme Regis are pretty Quirky.
Take our favourite, “The Sanctuary” is just like nothing else. It’s complete chaos, nothing is in any sort of order, not that we can understand anyway. It’s like a serial hoarder bought a bookshop 30 years ago and just shoehorned every bit of matter they could get their hands on into it.
Books, records, furniture, antiques, The Sanctuary has it all!
12. Try your luck on the 2p machines in the arcade
One of the things I like most about Lyme Regis is the fact that it’s a seaside town that has class by the bucket load! Being from Preston, my experience of English seaside towns is the seedy hole that is Blackpool.
Lyme Regis is NOT like Blackpool. Although, with that said, one thing that they do share in common is arcades! OK, Blackpool has hundreds and Lyme Regis has one but come on, a 2p machine is a 2p machine.
13. Wander around the antique shop
The Lyme Regis Antiques & Craft Centre has got it all. Everything from vintage tools, clothes, magazines to antique furniture. So far I’ve been in 3 times and each time I find so many strange/bizarre that I didn’t see last time!
It’s right on the front and if you’re walking down the sea front you can’t miss it.
14. Catch some crab from the harbour
One of my favourites as a kid. Going to Lytham St Annes armed with a bucket, fishing line, a couple of hooks and some bacon. Hours of cheap fun for kids….
In Lyme Regis the fishing ground of choice is in the cob harbour.
15. Go on a half day deep sea fishing trip
This is one of the things that me and Agne have been meaning to get around to for a while now but every time we are free to do it, the weather is bad and every time the weather is good we are either working or have other plans.
We will get around to it and post our own experience but until then this is what we know:
- People that we have spoken to that have done it say it was a lot of fun.
- There are two options – A one hour mackerel fishing trip or a three hour rod fishing trip.
- Prices start from £10 per adult and £8 per child
You can book on a fishing trip by calling Nick or Matt on 07974796002.
16. Grab some fish and chips
There’s not many things that say England better than fish and chips at the seaside. The sun is shining, sea breeze is blowing it’s pretty much mandatory for you to buy some overpriced fish and chips and then spend the next 30 minutes fighting of the ferocious seagulls….
The most popular fish and chip shop on the sea front is “The Fisherman’s Wife”. According to their signage, all of their fish is caught each and every morning on their own fishing boat. Now that’s dedication!
17. Try a boat tour of the South Coast
There are many coastline cruises available from the Lyme Regis harbour. One of the most popular is the National Trust Jurassic Coast cruise.
There are two separate cruises to choose from, One that departs at 11am and goes east to West Bay and back, then the other which departs at 2pm and head west to Beer Head and back.
Both of them are commentated by a keen local geologist, take roughly 2.5 hours and cost £15 per person.
You can book your cruise online here.
18. Check out the dinosaur museum
I’ve included this one although if I’m honest, it was crap!! It was dark, dingy and had the musty smell of old people. £5 entry each to see a smaller variety of fossils than you can see in one of the fossil shops for free, not really worth it.
So why have I included it then!?
Although the paper mache displays screamed 80’s high school project, if you’re really into dinosaurs, then there is some really good information available in here. It just drastically needs a…. “freshen up”.
19. See a concert at the Marine Theatre
The Marine Theatre is one of Lyme Regis’ premier attraction with a whole host of different entertainment on offer. Everything from stand up comedy, live music and of course, movie nights.
The Marine Theatre has something for everyone throughout the year. To find out what’s on when you visit Lyme Regis click here.
20. Try your hand at crazy golf
There’s a very decent crazy golf course situated on top of the hill next to Lister Gardens and overlooking the cob. An hour of fun for very little money.
Here’s a numbered map so you can easily find the activities mentioned above:
Calendar of events
As well as all those activities I’ve mentioned above the yearly calendar is also jam packed with events and festivals.
Here’s what the 2019 event calendar looks like. There will probably be a few date discrepancies in it for 2020 but on the whole, this is what you can expect to happen each year for years to come.
- 1st) New Year’s Day duck race/Lyme Lunge
- 21st) Woodroffe School duck race/Easter Bonnet Parade
- 3rd-5th) Lyme Regis fossil festival
- 6th) May Day duck race
- 12th) May Fete
- 24th-27th) Jazz Jurassica
- 25th) B Sharp’s Busking Festival and play me piano
- 26th) Blessing of the boats
- 1st) Morris Dancing Day
- 8th-9th) SW optimist champions
- 8th) Uplyme Fete
- 15th) Guitars on the beach
- 23rd) Coast to Coast charity motorcycle run
- 12th-14th) Dorset street food festival
- 27th Jul-2nd Aug) Lyme Regis Lifeboat week
- 31st) Somers Day Parade
- 3rd-10th) Lyme Regis Regatta and Carnival Week
- 3rd-4th) Sailing Regatta
- 3rd-4th) Lyme Splash Water Polo Championship
- 10th) Cornish Pilot Gig Rowing Regatta
- 10th) Carnival Procession
- 17th-23rd) Firefly National Championships
- 30th Aug-1st Sept) Sailing Regatta
- 6th) Food Rocks supper club
- 7th-8th) Food Rocks
- 8th) Lyme splash – Lyme Regis to Charmouth sea swim challenge
- 2nd) Fireworks and bonfire on the beach
- 10th) Remembrance Day Parade and civic service
- 30th) Christmas light’s switch-on and lantern making workshop
- 20th-22nd) Christmas Tree Festival
- 23rd Carols Round the Christmas Tree
Getting to and around Lyme Regis
Here’s a handy guide to get to Lyme Regis. It also has the lesser know surrounding towns and villages marked on it too.
We recommend Beer and Charmouth.
Without a doubt there’s more to do in Lyme Regis than just the Jurassic coast, after floating around the area for a few months these are mine and Agne’s favourite things to do in Lyme Regis.
I hope that has answered the question of what to do in Lyme Regis. Have you been? Are there any activities that you think should be on the list!?