Lyme Regis lies on the border of the South West Dorset coastline. This unspoilt historic port town at the mouth of the little river Lym has a beautiful harbour and is surrounded with rolling countryside and the famous ‘Jurassic coastline’ recently awarded World Heritage Site status. Steeped in history and charm this town will certainly impress the discerning traveller.
The town square is a delight with an array of shops including many specialist and gift shops. The area is ideal for walkers and hikers - the coastline provides excellent paths for walking – one highly recommended is through the undercliff to Seaton which will take you to the Heritage Nature Reserve, rich in wild flora and fauna.
Alternatively take one of the many scenic boat trips offered from the harbour or try one of the many water sports available. Lyme Bay is great for wildlife spotters especially bird watching as ,rare breeds visit this coastline. Delve into the geological history of the area and go fossil hunting – the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre is well worth a visit for more information with its colourful marine life displays and geological artefacts.
There is a range of places to eat catering for all tastes and budgets from the traditional fish and chips to a gourmet quality meal. For the perfect cream tea take a stop at the Bell Cliff Restaurant which is perched above the square and with beautiful views out across the bay. Alternatively take a trip to the Marine Theatre offering everything from drama and musicals to comedy and childrens’ shows.
Lyme Regis has an interesting historical and geological past. The town dated back to Saxon times and up until 1284 was called Lym. It then received charter status from Edward I and adopted the royal Latin tag shortly after, and so was known as ‘Lyme Regis’ ever since.
The ‘Cobb’ harbour has a lengthy history as it was breached by storms in the 14th century and separated from the land. In the 18th and 19th century it was re-built and its presence allowed Lyme Regis to become the focal point for shipbuilding as well as an important port, trading wool for wine.
To discover more about Lyme’s rich history go to the Philpot Museum in the heart of the town- here the past is displayed with maritime and domestic objects, fossils and other geological artefacts, paintings, prints and photographs as well as a Writers’ Gallery dedicated to the town’s literary connections.
The town has many literary associations including famously John Fowles’ intriguing Victorian novel made into the film ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ with its famous opening scene of Meryl Streep walking on the Cobb harbour. Jane Austin too wrote of Lyme Regis in many of her acclaimed novels ‘Persuasion’ and ‘Northanger Abbey’, precipitated by her stays in Lyme in 1803 and 1804.