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Welcome to Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis boasts breathtaking scenery and a special mystique, making it a sparkling resort for all seasons. Its historic Cobb and harbour are iconic features, set against moody blue cliffs yielding fossilised evidence of life on earth millions of years ago.

An ancient town featured in the Domesday Book, Lyme Regis is home to a number of historical landmarks and educational attractions. The picturesque and tranquil Lyme Regis is a great place to discover a lot you didn’t know about the UK's heritage.

Whatever your age and whatever the time of year, you can be sure to find something to delight and entertain you. Lyme Regis has it all - the perfect family resort, the home of palaeontology, a world-class creative and cultural community, a bustling harbour, gastronomic delights, an array of shops, a calendar full of events, and plenty for the active.

So, why not look up Lyme Regis accommodation today and book a stay in one of the South West's most desirable holiday destinations?


Lyme Regis

Coastal town in Dorset, England

Human settlement in England

Lyme Regis is a town in west Dorset, England, 25 miles (40 km) west of Dorchester and east of Exeter. Sometimes dubbed the "Pearl of Dorset",[3] it lies by the English Channel at the Dorset–Devon border. It has noted fossils in cliffs and beaches on the Heritage or Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site. The harbour wall, known as The Cobb, appears in Jane Austen's novel Persuasion, the John Fowles novel The French Lieutenant's Woman and the 1981 film of that name, partly shot in the town. A former mayor and MP was Admiral Sir George Somers, who founded the English colonial settlement of Somers Isles, now Bermuda, where Lyme Regis is twinned with St George's. In July 2015, Lyme Regis joined Jamestown, Virginia in a Historic Atlantic Triangle with St George's. The 2011 Census gave the urban area a population of 4,712, estimated at 4,805 in 2019.[4]


In Saxon times, the abbots of Sherborne Abbey had salt-boiling rights on land adjacent to the River Lym,[5] and the abbey once owned part of the town.[6] Lyme is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. In the 13th century, it developed as one of the major British ports. A Royal Charter was granted by King Edward I in 1284 when "Regis" was added to the town's name. The charter was confirmed by Queen Elizabeth I in 1591.

John Leland visited in the 16th century and described Lyme as "a praty market town set in the rootes of an high rokky hille down to the hard shore. There cummith a shalow broke from the hilles about a three miles by north, and cummith fleting on great stones through a stone bridge in the bottom."[6]

In 1644, during the English Civil War, Parliamentarians withstood an eight-week siege of the town by Royalist forces under Prince Maurice. The Duke of Monmouth landed at Lyme Regis at the start of the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685.

Between 1811 and her death in 1849 Mary Anning, a geological pioneer, found and identified dinosaur fossils in cliffs to the east of Lyme Regis, for which she obtained recognition, mostly after her death. Recognition was hampered by her gender and lack of wealth.[7]

On New Year's Day, 1915, HMS Formidable was torpedoed, the first major U-boat kill of World War I. A local lifeboat delivered bodies to the Pilot Boat Inn in Bridge Street. Lassie, the owner's dog, licked the face of Seaman Cowan, who was believed dead, and seemingly brought him back to life. The namesake of this cross-breed became a legend of books, radio, film and television.[8]

In 1965, the town's railway station was closed under the Beeching Axe. The station was dismantled lyme regis rebuilt at Alresford, on the Mid Hants Watercress Railway in Hampshire. The route to Lyme Regis was notable for being operated by aged Victorian locomotives. One of these Adams Radial Tank engines is now preserved on the Bluebell Railway in Sussex. A West Country Class steam locomotive No. 34009 was named "Lyme Regis" after the town.

In 2005, one event to mark the bicentenary of Admiral Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar was a re-enactment of the arrival of the news aboard the Bermuda sloopHMS Pickle. The actor playing the part of Lieutenant John Richards Lapenotière, the Trafalgar messenger, was welcomed at Lyme Regis.


Lyme Regis is a coastal town in West Dorset, 25 miles (40 km) west of Dorchester and 25 miles (40 km) east of Exeter. It lies in Lyme Bay, on the English Channel coast at the Dorset–Devon border. At the 2011 census, wichita water bill pay had a population of 3,671. The town has grown around the mouth of the River Lim (or Lym) which drops from a plateau at an altitude of about 200 m (660 ft) before flowing around 5–6 km (3–4 mi) south and south-east to the sea. Its name is of British origin and probably cognate with the Welshllif meaning flood or stream.[9] Historically there were mills along its length. Its lower reaches coincide with sections of three recreational footpaths: the Wessex Ridgeway, Liberty Trail and East Devon Trail.[10]

The town's beaches and cliffs are noted for fossils. They form part of the Heritage Coast — known commercially as the Jurassic Coast – a World Heritage Site stretching for 153 kilometres (95 mi) from Orcombe Point near Exmouth in the west to Old Harry Rocks in the east.[11] The coastal exposures provide a continuous sequence of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous rock formations spanning some 185 million years of the Earth's history. Localities along the Jurassic Coast include a range of important fossil zones.

The Blue Lias and Charmouth Mudstonegeological formations host a multitude of remains from the Early Jurassic era, from which good fossil records are rare.[12] Many remains are well preserved, including complete specimens of important species. Many of the earliest discoveries of dinosaur and other prehistoric reptile remains were made in the area around Lyme Regis, notably those discovered by Mary Anning (1799–1847). Significant finds include Ichthyosaurus, Plesiosaurus, Dimorphodon, Scelidosaurus (one of the first armoured dinosaurs) and Dapedium. The town holds an annual Mary Anning Day and Lyme Regis Fossil Festival. A fossil of the world's largest moth was discovered there in 1966.

People searching for fossils in Lyme Regis at the fossil <i>lyme regis</i> src=
People collecting fossils in Lyme Regis at the fossil festival
Landslip, east of Lyme Regis

To the south-west are Poker's Pool, Seven Rock Point and Pinhay Bay and to the north-east is Charmouth. The coast is subject to landslips that expose the Jurassic-age fossils to be found on the beaches. "The Dowlands Landslip" occurred on 24 December 1839, 3 miles (4.8 km) west along the coast in Devon, in an area belonging to Bindon Manor. About 45 acres (18 ha) of wheat and turnip fields were dislodged when a great chasm more than 300 feet (91 m) across, 160 feet (49 m) deep and 0.75 miles (1.21 km) long was formed. The crops remained intact on the top of what became known as "Goat Island" among the newly formed gullies. On 3 February 1840 a smaller landslip occurred nearby. The phenomenon attracted many visitors, and farmers charged sixpence lyme regis view it.[13] The area is now known as The Undercliff and is of interest for its diverse natural history.

Landslides continued to cause problems in the area into the 21st century.[14] In 2005, work began on a £16 million engineering project to stabilise the cliffs and protect the town from coastal erosion.[15] The town's main beach was relaid and reopened on 1 July 2006. On the evening of 6 May 2008, a 400 metres (1,300 ft) section of land slipped onto the beach between Lyme Regis and Charmouth. Police described the landslip as the "worst in 100 years".[16] It called for diverting the South West Coast Path inland between Lyme Regis and Charmouth via the Lyme Regis Golf Course.


In the 2011 census the town's parish had 2,431 dwellings,[17] 1,770 households[18] and a population of 3,671.[1]

The population of the parish in the censuses between 1921 and 2011 is shown in the table below.

Census Population of Lyme Regis Parish 1921–2011 (except 1941)
Census 1921 1931 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001 2011
Population 2,882 2,620 3,200 3,526 3,400 3,450 3,760 3,530 3,671
Source:Dorset County Council[19]

The 2012 mid-year estimate for the population of the parish is 3,637.[20]


The parish church of St Michael the Archangel, above Church Cliff, dominates the old town. Dating from the 12th century, it was originally a tripartite structure with an axial tower. Transepts were added in about 1200 and two aisles in the 13th century. A new church was built east of the tower and transepts early in the 16th century and my100bank mobile login old chancel and aisles removed. The old nave was shortened in the 19th century.[21]

Mary Anning is buried there and commemorated in a stained-glass window provided by members of the Geological Society of London, an organisation that did not admit women until 1904.

The Baptist church was founded in 1653 and has been on the same site since 1699.[22] Bethany Chapel, an independent Evangelical (Christian Brethren) church, celebrated its centenary in 2014.[23]


The Boat Building Academy, a registered charity[24] runs courses in traditional boatbuilding and furniture making from its site at Monmouth Beach.[25]


The Cobb[edit]

The Cobb, with boats grounded in the harbour at low tide

The first record of the Cobb, the town's harbour wall, is in a 1328 document[26] describing it as having been damaged by storms.[27][28] It was made of oak piles driven into the seabed, with boulders stacked between. The boulders had been floated into place, tied between empty barrels. A 1685 account describes it as, "an immense mass of stone, of a shape of a demi-lune, with a bar in the middle of the concave: no one stone that lies there was ever touched with a tool or bedded in any sort of cement, but all the pebbles of the see are piled up, and held by their bearings only, and the surge plays in and out through the interstices of the stone in a wonderful manner."[29] The Cobb wall provides a breakwater to shield the town from storms and separate Monmouth and Cobb Gate beaches.

The Cobb had economic importance in and around the town, creating an artificial harbour that enabled the town to develop as a port and shipbuilding centre from the 13th century onwards. Shipbuilding was significant between 1780 and 1850; nearly 100 ships were launched, including the 12-gun Royal Navy brig HMS Snap.[30] Well-sited for trade with France, the port's most prosperous period was from the 16th century until the end of the 18th. In 1780, the port was larger than the Port of Liverpool but its importance declined in the 19th century, as it could not handle ships of increasing size.

The Cobb has been destroyed or damaged by storms several times; it was swept away in 1377, along with 50 boats and 80 houses. The southern arm was added in the 1690s and rebuilt in 1793 after it was destroyed in a storm the previous year. It is thought that mortar was used in the Cobb's construction for the first time in this rebuilding. It was reconstructed in 1820 using Portland Admiralty Roach, a type of Portland stone. After the Great Storm of 1824, Captain Sir Richard Spencer RN carried out pioneering lifeboat design work in Cobb harbour.

Lyme Regis Marine Aquarium[edit]

Open since the late 1950s, Lyme Regis Marine Aquarium occupies an early 18th-century stone building on the Cobb harbour wall. The aquarium showcases some of the abundant local sea life and offers insight into Lyme's rich maritime history.

Visitors have opportunities to hand-feed a shoal of tame Thicklip grey mullet, stroke a lobster, and hold a starfish. Other exhibits include weaver fish, wrasse, blennys, sea mice and crustaceans, including hermit crab.[31]

Other landmarks[edit]

Town Mill, a watermill dating from 1340, has been restored to working order and produces flour.[32] It is powered by water from the River Lym via a leat running along a lynch. The Domesday Book records a mill at Lyme in 1086, so the site could be much older. Town Mill Brewery opened in part of the mill in March 2010.[33]

Near the Town Mill, on the site of an old chapel dedicated to St Mary and the Holy Spirits, is the "Lepers' Well". In medieval times "leper" was used as a general description of skin diseases, not necessarily leprosy. A hospital that stood on the site 700 years ago is commemorated by a plaque on the wall of the well.[34] The well water still runs, but probably at a reduced rate. The land was left untouched for many years before it was landscaped realty auction near me a visitors' garden in the 1970s.

The frontage of the Three Cups Hotel in Broad Street dates from 1807. It is believed that Jane Austen stayed in Hiscott's Boarding House on the same site in 1804.[35] Since then the hotel has accommodated Alfred Lord Tennyson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hilaire Belloc, G. K. Chesterton and J. R. R. Tolkien, who spent several holidays there. In 1944 General Eisenhower delivered an important briefing before D-Day to senior Allied officers in its first-floor lounge. It was used as a setting in the film The French Lieutenant's Woman in 1981. The owners, Palmers Brewery of Bridport, closed the hotel in May 1990 and put forward plans to demolish the significantly historic rear of the building and replace it with retail units, a restaurant, and visitor and private accommodation.[36]

The Royal Lion Hotel is a former coaching inn dating from the first decade of the 17th century. It is reputedly haunted; many alleged ectoplasms have been sighted in the corridors and cold spots.[37]

Culture and media[edit]

Main article: Lyme Regis Museum

The museum stands on the site of Mary Anning's birthplace and family shop off Bridge Street, holding a collection of local memorabilia, historical items and exhibits to explain the local geological and palaeontological treasures. It was formerly known as the Philpot Museum.[38] Set into the pavement outside the museum is an example of Coade stone work, in the form of ammonites, reflecting the palaeontology for which the town is famous. It commemorates Eleanor Coade, who had an 18th-century artificial stone factory in London and a seaside home, Belmont House, in the town.

The Dinosaurland Fossil Museum is in the former church where Mary Anning was baptised.

Thanksgiving Day has been held since Parliament decreed, at the end of the English Civil War, as a day of celebration and prayer in Lyme to mark its victory over the long siege of the town by Royalist forces. The celebration includes residents dressed in period costume to parade through the streets.

The samba band Street Heat, in the twilight online only business checking account marking the end of the 2006 'Lyme Regis Carnival'

Annual events include the Lyme Regis Carnival and Regatta, the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival (in conjunction with the London Natural History Museum), and Mary Anning Day. The traditional conger cuddling event takes place during Lifeboat Week. The carnival and regatta, organised by volunteers, take place over a week in August, as does the Lyme Regis Gig Club regatta.

Bonfire night celebrations include a torchlight procession, a bonfire on the beach and a firework display. A Christmas Tree Festival has more than 30 trees decorated and displayed in Lyme Regis Baptist Church. An Easter bonnet parade takes place in the town on Easter Sunday. A May Day fête features stalls and entertainment from various groups in Lyme.

Lyme Regis is the home of B Sharp, a music charity for young people.[39] It runs music workshops, performances and training, and signposts progression routes beyond B Sharp. It also runs an annual Busking Festival open to all performing artists, now in May, and an open air "Big Mix" festival in July to present music-making by young people.

The Marine Theatre, operated by the charity Lymearts Community Trust, stages a variety of live events.[40]

Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis

In 2012 graffiti artist Banksy stenciled an origami crane on a wall adjacent to the River Lym at the intersection of Mill and Coombe Streets.[41]

Literature and films[edit]

The Cobb featured in Jane Austen's novel Persuasion (1818) and in the 1981 film The French Lieutenant's Woman, based on the 1969 novel of the same name by John Fowles.[42] The poet Tennyson is said to have gone straight to the Cobb on arrival, saying, "Show me the exact spot where Louisa Musgrove fell!"[43] The town was used in filming All Over the Town (1949), under the name "Tormouth".

The town community is portrayed in disguise in The Earl's Granddaughter (1895) by Georgina Castle Smith, writing as Emma.[44] It also features in A. S. Byatt's Booker Prize-winning 1990 novel Possession and the 2002 film adapted from it. Lyme Regis is the setting for much of the historical novel Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier, of which fossil hunter Mary Anning is a protagonist.

Lyme Regis is the setting and filming location of f 22 thrust 2020 film Ammonite, starring Kate Winslet as Mary Anning alongside Saoirse Ronan and Fiona Shaw.[45]


Lyme Regis Football Club, known as the Seasiders, was formed in 1885. Its three senior and five junior teams play at the Davey Fort Ground in Charmouth Road. The seniors play in the Devon and Exeter Football League and Perry Street and District League. In its 125th anniversary year, 2010, Tony Cottee (a former West Ham, Everton and England striker) was made club patron.

Notable people[edit]

In birth order:

  • Admiral Sir George Somers (1554–1610), English naval officer, was knighted and appointed Admiral of the Virginia Company.
  • Bartholomew Westley (1596–1680), nonconformist preacher, was buried here.
  • Thomas Coram (c. 1688–1751) founded the Foundling Hospital in London.[46]
  • Mary Anning (1799–1847) was a pioneering fossil hunter on the Lyme Regis coast.
  • Abraham Hayward (1801–1884), writer and essayist, who brought a landmark case in the 1840s for residents to maintain a permanent right of way across the cliffs to Axmouth and Seaton.[47]
  • John Gould (1804–1881), an artist and ornithologist born in Lyme Regis, wrote and illustrated 18 books on birds. The Gould League is named after him.[48]
  • Georgina Castle Smith (1845–1933), children's writer, died and was buried here in 1933.[44]
  • Percy Gilchrist (1851–1935), metallurgist born in Lyme Regis, was notable for his work on steel production.[48]
  • Sir Eric Bertram Rowcroft (1881–1963), British Army major-general and founder of REME, retired to Lyme Regis and died there.[49]
  • John Fowles (1926–2005), author of The French Lieutenant's Woman and other novels, lived in Lyme Regis from 1965 until his death and was curator of Lyme Regis Museum from 1978 to 1988.[50][51]
  • Selima Hill (born 1945), award-winning poet
  • Ian Gillan (born 1945), lead singer of Deep Purple, lives in Lyme Regis

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ab"Parish Population Data". Dorset County Council. 14 March 2013. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  2. ^Town Council site.
  3. ^Love Lyme Regis website
  4. ^City Population. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  5. ^Ralph Wightman (1983). Portrait of Dorset (4 ed.). Robert Hale Ltd. p. 163. ISBN .
  6. ^ abSir Frederick Treves (1905). Highways and Byways in Dorset (1 ed.). MacMillan and Co., Ltd. p. 268.
  7. ^Lyme Regis Museum. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  8. ^Fowles, John (1990). Lyme Regis Camera (First American ed.). Boston, Toronto, London: Little, Brown and Company. pp. 136–9. ISBN .
  9. ^E. Ekwall, 1981, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names (4th ed.), Oxford.
  10. ^Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 scale Explorer map 29, Lyme Regis & Bridport.
  11. ^"Dorset and East Devon Coast". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. 2001. Retrieved 14 January 2007.
  12. ^Benton MJ, Spencer PS (1995). Fossil Reptiles of Great Britain. Chapman & Hall. ISBN .
  13. ^"The Undercliff"Archived 2 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine, Philpot Museum website, Lyme Regis. Retrieved 1 September 2006.
  14. ^"Town fears more landslides". BBC News England. 8 January 2003. Retrieved 5 July 2006.
  15. ^"Popular beach reopens for summer". BBC News. 1 July 2005. Retrieved 5 July 2006.
  16. ^"Landslip is "worst in 100 years"". BBC News. 7 May 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2008. [Includes video]
  17. ^"Area: Lyme Regis (Parish), Dwellings, Household Spaces and Accommodation Type, 2011 (KS401EW)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  18. ^"Area: Lyme Regis (Parish), Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  19. ^"Parishes (A-L), 1921-2001- Census Years". Dorset County Council. 17 March 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  20. ^"Lyme Regis". Dorset County Council. 3 February 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  21. ^John Betjeman, ed., 1968 Collins Pocket Guide to English Parish Churches; the South. London: Collins; p. 175.
  22. ^Well illustrated own history site. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  23. ^Bethany Chapel website.
  24. ^"Boat Building Academy Limited, registered charity no. 1187235". Charity Commission for England and Wales.
  25. ^Boat Building Academy website.
  26. ^Catalogue description Petitioners: King's demesne men in Lyme Regis. Addressees: King and council. (in French). The National Archives, Kew. 1328.CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  27. ^"The Cobb". Love Lyme Regis.
  28. ^Powell, Baden (1834). History of natural philosophy from the earliest periods to the present time, by Citizens one student loan refinance Powell. London: Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans. pp. 160–174.
  29. ^"The Cobb: Lyme Regis". Jane Austen Centre and Jane Austen Online Gift Shop. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  30. ^Fowles John (1991). A Short History of Lyme Regis. Dovecote Press. pp. 34–35. ISBN .
  31. ^Lyme Regis Marine Aquarium.
  32. ^Town Mill, Lyme Regis
  33. ^"News & Events". Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  34. ^James Rattue (1986). "Some Wells in the South and West – 1". Archived from the original on 16 August 2007. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  35. ^Jo Draper, "The (New) Three Cups," All Over The Town, Journal of The Lyme Regis Society, June 2007.
  36. ^"Architectural Appraisal and Assessment of Special Interest: Three Cups Lyme regis, Broad Street, Lyme Regis" - Forum Heritage Services (January 2010)
  37. ^"The Royal Lion Hotel". Haunted Britain. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  38. ^Lyme Regis Museum: About UsArchived 24 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^Building a Sound Future. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  40. ^[1] "The Little Theatre by the Sea" Retrieved 23 November 2018.]
  41. ^"Banksy's graffiti crane found in Lyme Regis". BBC News. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  42. ^Hilliam, David (2010). The Little Book of Dorset. Stroud, Glos.: The History Press. p. 36. ISBN .
  43. ^Article by John Vaughan, Monthly Packet (1893): Hill, Constance (1923) [1901]. "Chapter 13: Lyme". Jane Austen: Her Homes & Her Friends. Ellen G. Hill (illustrator) (3rd ed.). John Lane, The Bodley Head. p. 140. Retrieved 1 September 2006.
  44. ^ abCharlotte Mitchell: Smith, Georgina Castle. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, UK: OUP, 2004/2008) Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  45. ^"Kate Winslet & Saoirse Ronan To Star in Romance 'Ammonite' For 'The King's Speech' & 'Lady Macbeth' Producers". Deadline. 14 December 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  46. ^Hilliam, David (2010). The Little Book of Dorset. Stroud, Glos.: The History Press. p. 135. ISBN .
  47. ^Chessell, Antony (2009). The Life and Times of Abraham Hayward, QC. Lulu Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4092-2467-9
  48. ^ abHilliam, David (2010). The Little Book of Dorset. Stroud, Glos.: The History Press. p. 132. ISBN .
  49. ^The Craftsman. XIX (2): 37. February 1964.
  50. ^"John Fowles". Lyme Regis Museum.
  51. ^"Museum History". Lyme Regis Museum.

External links[edit]


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Things to do in Lyme Regis Dorset

From beautiful beaches dotted with ancient fossils, to clifftop hiking, to cute boutique shops… there are loads of fun things to do in Lyme Regis! Growing up in nearby Weymouth, the seaside town of Lyme was always a popular day out for us. The colourful town, with its picturesque harbour and great food scene, is perfect for a day trip on the coast.

In this post, I’ve rounded up the very best things to see and do in the town, on the beach, and a little further afield. I’ve also included a list of the best festivals and events. There’s a lot on throughout the year, so check out the dates and see if there’s something fun that will coincide with your visit!

RELATED POST:The Ultimate Local’s Guide to Dorset

Psst – this post contains affiliate links, so if you buy something I recommend I might make a small commission. This doesn’t affect the price you pay at all.

21 Things to do in Lyme Regis (and Nearby)

1 – The Beaches

Lyme is, first and foremost, a seaside town, so of course the beaches are among the best things to do in Lyme Regis! There are actually several to choose from, so here’s a quick round-up:

Town Beach – a sand and shingle beach along the curving bay. This is the main beach, and is ideal for swimming, so it’s probably the busiest spot on sunny days.

Lyme Regis beach

Monmouth Beach – a shingle beach to the west of town. Home to the famous Ammonite Pavement, also called the Ammonite Graveyard; a layer of limestone containing many ammonite fossils.

Church Cliff Beach – a shingle beach with lyme regis on sand, which sits on the mouth of the River Lym. Low tide exposes a rocky ledge which is full of rock pools, so it’s great for exploring with kids.

East Cliff Beach – a fossil-rich shingle beach running east towards Charmouth. The cliffs above this beach are prone to collapsing, so avoid getting too near them. However, it’s these landslides which provide the steady stream of fossils found regularly on the beach.

2 – Fossil Hunting

An ammonite fossil on the beach close to Lyme Regis

Speaking of those fossil-rich beaches… Lyme Regis is a hotspot for fossil hunting! The town sits towards the western end of Dorset’s stunning Jurassic Coast. This 95-mile-long stretch of coast is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of it’s geological and historical importance. Among other things, that means the coast is rich with fossils.

Lyme was the home of famed palaeontologist and fossil collector Mary Anning. So it’s the perfect place to go to learn a little more about the fossils of the Jurassic Coast – and even hunt for some yourself. I found a small ammonite on my last visit to the area, without even looking too hard! With the regular landslides from the ever-shifting cliffs, there are often treasures to be found amongst the gravel and shingle!

TOUR: Take a fossil hunting tour, such as the ones run by the local museum, for the best shot at finding something!

3 – Visit Lyme Regis Museum

Lyme Regis Museum

As well as the fossil hunting walks mentioned above, Lyme Regis Museum is worth a visit for its brilliant fossil collections. You can also discover the life story of Mary Anning, learn more about why there are so many fossils on this part of the coast, and hear about what they teach us about life on earth millions of years ago.

4 – Dinosaurland Fossil Museum

  • Dinosaurland Fossil Museum Lyme Regis
  • Dinosaurland Fossil Museum

This is the last mention of fossil related things to do in Lyme Regis, I promise!Dinosaurland Fossil Museum has more than 12,000 specimens on permanent display, so if you have an interest in fossils this is definitely the place to visit.

The collection is truly spectacular. Browse the local 200-million-year-old Jurassic marine fossils, like the impressive Ichthyosaur, as well as more exotic exhibits such as Russian trilobites and a 73kg lump of dinosaur dung!

5 – Walk Along the Cobb

“The principal street almost hurrying into the water, the Walk to the Cobb, skirting round the pleasant little bay, which, in the season, is animated with bathing machines and company… are what the stranger’s eye will seek.”

Jane Austen, Persuasion

The Cobb is a curving breakwater built to protect Lyme Regis’ harbour. Walking along the thick stone wall provides a stunning view of the pretty bay and the little harbour. The wall featured in a pivotal scene in Jane Austen’s Persuasionand several film and TV adaptations of the book, as well an iconic scene from The French Lieutenant’s Woman (both the movie and the book). You can learn more in my post listing 16 books set in Dorset.

6 – Marine Aquarium

The Cobb is also home to the Lyme Regis Marine Aquarium, which is ideal for a day out with kids. This is a small family-run attraction which offers a fun, interactive insight into the local sea life. Learn a little more about the sea creatures of the British coastline, and get some up-close encounters with animals including crabs, crawfish, and starfish!

7- Explore the Boutique Shops and Galleries

Lyme Regis is brimming with independent boutique shops and art galleries, so it’s easy to while away a few hours browsing them. Here are a few you should make sure to check out:



8 – Visit Town Mill

Town Mill Lyme Regis

Nestled in the town’s artisan quarter, the ancient Town Mill has provided flour to Lyme Regis since at least the 1300s. Today, the medieval watermill is still running, creating artisanal stone-ground flour. Miller-guided tours are offered daily in exchange for a donation to the mill’s charitable trust.

Today, though, this is much more than just a mill! The atmospheric setting is also a creative hub. Several local businesses call the mill home, including art galleries, artists’ studios, a café, a silversmith, a bakery & deli, one of the best breweries in Dorset – and more! So there are plenty of reasons to visit and explore.

9 – Hiking on the Jurassic Coast

Golden Cap Dorset Jurassic Coast

As mentioned above, Lyme is right on the Jurassic Coast. So it’s in a prime location for some incredible hiking and cliff walks. There are loads to choose from, but here are a handful to get you started…

READ MORE:15 Short Dorset Coast Walks Under 4 Miles

10 – Hix Oyster and Fish House

Hix Restaurant

This is a fishing village, so of course one of the best things to do is discover the local seafood. There are loads of awesome restaurants to choose from, but one of the best is HIX Oyster & Fish House. Opened by acclaimed local chef Mark Hix, the restaurant is all about locally sourced fish and seafood – as well as other local produce.

They’re so keen on all things local that Mark founded the Food Rocks Festival (see the festivals section at the end of this post), which is an annual event bringing together some of the best food, producers and suppliers that Dorset and the South West has to offer.

11 – Lister Gardens Mini Golf

Lister Gardens are ideal if you’re looking for some fun things to do in Lyme Regis – especially with kids! These award-winning seafront gardens have beautiful views of the bay, and offer a quiet and tranquil place to simply wander and enjoy the greenery. But they also offer an 18-hole mini-golf, table tennis tables, and a putting green. So they have plenty to keep you busy.

11 – Lyme Sculpture Trail

Since 2015, the Langmoor and Lister Gardens have also been home to the Lyme Regis Sculpture Trail. The trail is dotted with sculptures by both established and upcoming local artists. Explore an outdoor gallery, and discover a little more about the Dorset art scene as you do so.

13 – Afternoon Tea at the Alexandra

The Alexandra is lyme regis beautiful, boutique hotel overlooking Lyme Bay, so it’s the perfect place to enjoy afternoon tea with a view! Built as a stately home for the Dowager Countess Poulett in 1735, the building became a hotel in 1901. This historic and luxurious setting is the perfect place to relax!

14 – Marine Theatre

Marine Theatre

From its prime seafront location, the Marine Theatre boasts stunning views of the sweeping bay. It also boasts a pretty impressive history: this small white-and-blue theatre is over 125 years old! Originally used as a drill hall for the military, the building eventually became a theatre and cinema. Today, it’s a popular visual arts centre offering a great mix of entertainment, including bands, films, comedians, plays, screenings, and community-led events.

15 – Walk the River Lym

things to do in lyme regis

Lyme Regis grew up around the mouth of the River Lym, also called the Lim. The river starts near the inland village of Uplyme and runs for just over 5km down to the sea. Following the river from source to mouth, or vice versa, will take you over footbridges, through meadows, and past several old mills, including the Town Mill mentioned above. You’ll also pass a spray painting of a crane, which was done by Banksy in 2012, although it’s unfortunately barely visible today.

16 – Lyme RIB Rides

Things to do in Lyme Regis - RIB Rides

If you’re looking for something a little more adrenaline-pumping, a RIB Ride could be right up your street! A RIB is a rigid inflatable boat, sort of like very fast, motor-powered dinghies, so a ride in one is an exhilarating experience. Family-run local company Lyme RIB Rides offer several tour options, from a 30-minute speed ride (perfect for thrill-seekers) to a more leisurely two-hour cruise.

17 – Fishing Tour

Before it was a tourist town, Lyme Regis was a fishing village, and it still has a thriving local fishing industry. So why not get some first-hand experience of the industry with a fishing tour? There are a couple of options, such as Nick’s Fishing Trips. Nick offers one-hour amazon store card synchrony app fishing trips from the Cobb Harbour in Lyme Regis several times a day, as well as deep-sea fishing, private charters, and sightseeing tours.

18 – Axmouth to Lyme Regis Undercliffs

Running between Lyme Regis and Axmouth in Devon, the Undercliffs are a 304 hectare National Nature Reserve. It’s a stunning area, although the only access lyme regis is along the South West Coast Path, which runs for about seven miles through the reserve.

The Undercliffs are also a very significant spot on the Jurassic Coast. The rocks get younger as you travel towards to Lyme Regis, so walking this route offers a rare chance to walk “through” geological time. Fossils, especially ammonites, are not uncommon. But the NNR ask all visitors to leave all in-situ fossils for others to enjoy.

19 – Axe Valley Wildlife Park

Although technically in Devon, not Dorset, the Axe Valey Wildlife Park is too close to Lyme Regis to miss form this list! A small, friendly zoo on Summerleaze Farm in Axeminster, this park is perfect for a day out with the kids.

20 – Forde Abbey

Another great place to lyme regis near Lyme is Forde Abbey, a former Cistercian monastery close to the border with Somerset. The house and gardens on this 1,600-acre estate are both open to the public and make for a brilliant day out. The gardens are exceptionally beautiful, and have a strong focus on sustainability, so it’s easy to see why they were nominated for the Historic Houses ‘Garden of the Year’ award in 2019. Forde Abbey also run a great programme of events throughout the year.

RELATED POST:11 Stately Homes to Visit in Dorset

21 – Charmouth and Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre

Charmouth Dorset

Just along the coast from Lyme Regis,the village of Charmouth is also famous for its fossils. You can walk along the beach from Lyme to Charmouth when the tide is right, hunting for fossils along the way. Don’t miss the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre for loads more info about the geography and history of this section of the coast. This lovely little museum is also where you’ll find David Attenborough’s “Sea Dragon”: the full skeleton of an ichthyosaur found locally, which was the focus of a recent BBC documentary.

Lyme Regis Festival Dates for your Diary

Festival Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis Beer Festival – 2022 dates TBC

Easter Bonnet Parade – Sun 17th April 2022. An annual Easter parade through Lyme Regis, with everyone wearing colourful Easter bonnets!

Lyme Regis Fossil Festival – 5th-6th May 2022

Jazz Jurassica – A weekend jazz music festival. Thursday 2nd – Sunday 5th June 2022.

Lyme Regis Masters Gig Regatta – 2022 dates TBC

Uplyme and Lyme Regis Horticultural Society Summer Show at Uplyme Village Hall – 2022 dates TBC

Morris Dancing Day – 2022 dates TBC

Lifeboat Week – 2022 dates TBC

Regatta & Carnival Week – a carnival week, opening with the Lyme Regis Sailing Club Regatta Race. 2022 dates TBC.

Lyme Splash Water Polo Sea Championship – This is the UK’s only Water Polo Sea Championship! 2022 dates TBC

Lyme Regis Folk Weekend – Morris dancing across town, and free live music all day every day on the seafront stage. Fri 2nd – Sun 4th September 2022.

Food Rocks – A food festival started by celebrity chef Mark Hix to celebrate local produce and seafood. 2022 dates TBC.

Fireworks And Bonfire On The Beach – Sat 6th November 2021 – see all Dorset fireworks nights here.

Christmas Lights Switch On – Sat 27th November 2021

How to Get to Lyme Regis

Looking for the best place to stay? Check out my list of the most beautiful Lyme Regis self-catering cottages!

Lyme Regis is very well connected so it’s easy to get there by car or public transport. The nearest train station is Axminster, which is on the London Waterloo to Exeter line and takes around 2 hours 40 minutes. From Axminster Station buses run to Lyme Regis fairly frequently.

If you’re driving, be aware that the area is quite hilly and some of the roads in town can be a little steep! There are plenty of car parks in town, including two long stay car parks, Holmbush and Charmouth Road.

If you’re coming from the rest of Dorset, the easiest way to reach Lyme Regis is to take the X53 Jurassic Coaster bus, which runs between Poole and Exeter with stops at all the highlights of the coast area.

Are there any other great things to do in Lyme Regis that I’ve missed from this post? Scroll down to leave a comment! 

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Lyme Regis & District Society Ltd

About the history of our society

Abbeyfield House in West Hill was built in the early 19th century as a private house and was adapted as a retirement home by Abbeyfield house in 1979. Today’s it's run as a sheltered home to offer older people supported living but allowing them to remain as independent as they wish.

The house stands above the historic sea town of Lyme Regis, a short walk from the sea, shops and amenities. There are also two medical centre’s and a library nearby.

About the services at the society

Our sheltered house at West Hill has central heating throughout and there is a stair lift to all floors. The lounge and dining room are on the ground floor and offer a beautiful, spacious rooms with French windows opening onto the terrace. This is a communal area all can enjoy.

Surrounding the house is a large garden with lawns and seating areas. There are also areas to grow fruit and vegetables with a summer house and greenhouse which residents can use.

Security at the house is also catered for with all residents having an emergency button and 24hr care line.

Contact Details

Name: Lyme Regis & District Society

Address: West Hill, Silver Street, Lyme Regis, Dorset, DT7 3HS

Phone number: 01297 443 783


The historic seaside town of Lyme Regis nestles in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at the point where the rugged West Dorset and East Devon coastlines meet – the heart of the Jurassic Coast. The town and the surrounding area are renowned for their natural beauty, and it has a fascinating history stretching back to the 8th century.

Lyme Regis is also famous as the birthplace of Mary Anning, one of history’s most important fossil collectors and palaeontologists. You can learn more about Mary’s extraordinary life and discoveries at Lyme Regis Museum, which is built on the site of her family’s home.

How to Get There

The Jurassic Coaster bus service runs regularly through Lyme Regis. The nearest railway station is at Axminster, five miles to the north, and is connected to Lyme Regis via a bus service. By road, the A3052 runs through Lyme Regis.

The Jurassic Coaster bus at Lyme Regis. © Clive A Brown - via

Car Parking & Facilities

Monmouth Beach and Cabanya car parks to the west of the town are two minutes’ walk from the beach via flat gravel.

Holmbush and Charmouth Road long stay car parks are located to either side of the town and are a ten minute walk down a steep hill. Check Parkopedia for the latest pricing information for these two car parks and others in town.

There are multiple public toilets in Lyme Regis along the beach front and in car parks.

Disabled toilets are available at Charmouth Road, Monmouth Beach and Holmbush car parks, and on Broad Street in town. Monmouth Beach and Cabanya car parks to the west of town offer easy flat access to the lyme regis matting is in place at Front Beach and Monmouth Beach.

Broad Street Lyme Regis

Broad Street, Lyme Regis. © Roman Hobler via Flickr.

Beach Information & Dogs

The beaches in Lyme Regis are a mixture of sand and pebbles. Monmouth beach is very pebbly and shelves.

The Town beach has a sloping pebbly section and a flat, sandy beach by the Cobb. Church Cliff has rock armour and East Cliff is pebbly and known for fossils. See our guide to Fossil Collecting for more information.

Bathing at Monmouth Beach can be dangerous, as the beach shelves steeply and there is a strong undertow.

If you’re planning to walk along the beach between Lyme Regis and Charmouth, please check the tide times in advance as it’s easy to be cut off by the incoming tide. There are RNLI lifeguards on duty during peak season.

Dogs are allowed all year on East Cliff, Church Cliff and Monmouth Beach. On the white sandy Town Beach, no dogs are allowed between April and October. From November to March dogs are allowed on the Town Beach, but must be on a lead.

Children playing on Lyme Regis Town Beach

Children playing on Lyme Regis Town Beach. © Steve Belasco -

lyme regis cobb

The Cobb, Lyme Regis. © Steve Belasco -

Lyme Regis Museum

No trip to Lyme Regis would be complete without fossil hunting, and Lyme Regis Museum – built on the site of Mary Anning’s birthplace – run regular fossil hunting walks.

Join the museum’s expert geologists to discover your own Jurassic treasure – ammonites, belemnites and maybe even an ichthyosaur!

Lyme Regis Museum - Things to Do

Lyme Regis Museum. © Matt Austin

Lyme Regis Seafront

Lyme’s unspoilt seafront, with sheltered south-facing beaches, provides a perfect environment in which children can play and adults can relax in the traditional deckchairs that still line the promenade in summer. There are also plenty of opportunities to enjoy fishing trips and watersports such as sailing and windsurfing.

On the beach at Lyme Regis

On the beach at Lyme Regis. © Mark Simons

The Cobb

Lyme Regis’ famous Cobb wall, dating from the 13th century, provides protection from the harbour and has allowed the town to develop as an important port on the south coast. A walk along the Cobb is a must for any visitor, enabling you to walk in the footsteps of the characters in John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman.

If you’re walking on the Cobb, please be aware that it has uneven surfaces (it’s 700 years old remember!), and the ground can be slippery in wet weather. There are no railings around the edge so it’s best to stick to the middle and admire the stunning panoramic views from there.

cobb lyme regis

The Cobb, Lyme Regis. © Steve Belasco -

Need to know: Fossil Festival

The Lyme Regis Fossil Festival is a popular annual event that runs every May Day Bank Holiday weekend. It draws fossil enthusiasts from all over the country and offers a mix of walks, talks, music, theatre, exhibits and lots of hands-on science for all ages.

Jurassic Coast Ambassador John Ayres at Lyme Regis Fossil Festival 2015.


3 Replies to “Lyme regis”

  1. @lil rambo rambo what part of California are you in?? I’m wondering are they going by months people applied for EDD

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