Lyme Regis and Charmouth Cottages
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Ever since Lyme Regis cabinetmaker’s daughter Mary Anning forced her way to richly deserved prominence in the world of 19th century palaeontology the town’s beaches and cliffs have been a magnet for fossil hunters.
Known as the Pearl of Dorset, Lyme Regis combines iconic features such as the historic Cobb harbour, with stunning scenery and the ramshackle beauty of the town itself, which retains many of its Saxon and medieval lanes at its centre before giving way to more ordered streets as it expands up the hill.
In 1685 the Duke of Monmouth landed at Lyme Regis and raised an army with the intention of overthrowing his half-brother King James II. It didn’t end well for Monmouth who was beheaded or for his men – some 320 were sentenced to death and more than 800 transported as slaves to the West Indies.
Like Lyme, Charmouth has a long and bloody history – in Saxon times it was routinely preyed upon by Viking raiders and in one episode was the scene of an invasion of some 15,000 Danes. Mercifully its recent history is decidedly calmer and it found a special place in the affections of Jane Austen who, while living in Lyme Regis in 1804, wrote that Charmouth was “a nice place for sitting in unwearied contemplation”.
What is there to see and do in Lyme Regis and Charmouth?
With a spectacular beach, safe bathing and magnificent scenery, finding something to do on a trip to Lyme Regis is rarely a problem. The Cobb is one of Britain’s best-known harbours and what we see today is almost exactly what was outlined in the earliest known drawing of the wall, dating from 1539. No visit is complete without also taking in the RNLI lifeboat station and shop.
The town itself has an array of independent shops, galleries, cafés and restaurants. Take a while to mull over the exhibitions at the Town Mill; invariably they showcase the work of local professional artists that more than holds its own with work by much better known names.
There’s no escaping the connection to fossils and fossil hunting – not only does Lyme have an annual fossil festival but there are tours, fossil shops and two fascinating museums to explore as well. Lyme Regis is also home to jazz, folk, blues, beer, busking and arts festivals as well as the annual Guitars on the Beach six-string extravaganza and the regatta and carnival week in August.
As well as the stunning beach and cliffs, Charmouth’s Heritage Coast Centre acts as the visitor centre for the Jurassic Coast and identifies fossils found on the shoreline. Its star attraction is Sir David Attenborough’s famous sea dragon, the fossil of a 180 million-year-old ichthyosaur reptile removed from the local cliffs.
Where can I eat and drink in Lyme Regis and Charmouth?
Lyme Regis is blessed with some excellent dining from the little treasure that is Poco Pizza to the superb Asian menus at Red Panda and Largigi. Celebrity chef Mark Hix can be found at his deservedly popular Oyster & Fish House while the Millside Restaurant accentuates its stunning location with deliciously homely cooking.
A similar blend of great scenery and food to match can be found at Alexandra, which overlooks the internationally famous Cobb where arguably the pick of the many good places to eat is the dog-friendly Harbour Inn with its long held good name for quality seafood.
The quirky vintage decoration and tasty treats on offer at Penny Black café make it a special find tucked away behind the Post Office; while the highly rated Tierra Kitchen organic vegetarian restaurant has been winning over all comers (including carnivores) with the quality and flavours of its food.
The Bank House at Charmouth is a charming café with a varied menu that includes great soups and Sunday roasts as well as some fine cakes and both the George and the Royal Oak are well known locally for their hearty pub food, warm welcome and friendly atmosphere.
Just along the coast there’s just as much, if not more, to get excited about at the award-winning Anchor Inn in Seatown. Over the last year the beachside pub has picked up a slew of national plaudits for its food created by wild food and foraging aficionado Jean Paul De Ronne, who trained with Masterchef winner Mat Follas.
In nearby Chideock are the 16th century thatched Clockhouse Inn and the George Inn where a highlight of the excellent largely locally-sourced menu is Thursday’s popular pizza night. An unexpected delight and nowhere near as incongruous as it sounds, Hell Barn serves beautiful Japanese cuisine in a farmhouse setting.
But if you want an eating experience unlike any other – every June the Bottle Inn at Marshwood hosts the World Nettle Eating Championships to bring a whole new meaning to ‘eat your greens’!
Take a little time to browse through our selection of holiday cottages in Lyme Regis and Charmouth. We’re certain you’ll find something just right for a truly fabulous Dorset holiday.
Due to high demand from our guests, we have recently started looking for properties in this area. If you have a property and are considering letting, please get in touch with Claire, our property manager on 01929 448694 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.