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5 Best Things to Do in Lyme Regis
June 18th, 2020 | Alexandra Koukidou
Living up to its nickname, the Pearl of Dorset, Lyme Regis is well-known for its natural landscapes and the great range of fossils found on the beaches and cliffs of the area. Although a small town of approximately 3,500 residents, Lyme Regis has many attractions and historical landmarks to showcase. The most prominent attraction is The Cobb, the harbour wall, which appeared in Persuasion, Jane Austen's novel. The date of its construction remains obscure. The first-ever written testimony is traced back to 1320, reporting damages caused to The Cobb due to heavy storms. The beaches and cliffs of Lyme Regis and the wider area are known as the Jurassic Coast, extending for more than 95 miles (154 km), from East Devon to Dorset. The unspoilt natural landscape was included in the natural UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. This is UK's only natural sight that made it to the list.
If you have travelled to the southern part of the UK, you are probably here for its notable beaches. Lyme Regis happens to be home to some of the most magnificent beaches in the country. The beaches are both sandy and pebbly. In Lyme Regis you will find four beaches. Dogs are allowed on Monmouth, Chruch Cliff, and East Cliff, whereas you can't bring your dog with you from May - September at Town Beach.
Southwest of The Cobb wall, the Monmouth beach expands over a kilometre. The 200 million-year-old Ware Cliffs that are right above the beach add to the wilderness of the scenery. Somewhere between sand and pebble, you will notice fossils, such as ammonites, belemnites, and plant fossils. A historical fact regarding its name is that the illegitimate son of Charles II, the Duke of Monmouth landed here aiming to dethrone King James II. The Duke failed in his attempt. For retaliation, twelve locals were hanged on the beach. Fortunately, this notorious story belongs to the distant past in 1685 and has nothing in common with the serene Monmouth Beach today.
Church Cliff Beach
Church Cliff Beach is right next to Town Beach. It is slightly secluded and usually covered at high tide. Otherwise, when the tide is calm, it is a good spot for fishing, mainly shrimps. Those who have an eye for detail may notice that this is the place where scenes from ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ starring Merryl Streep, were filmed.
Contrary to Church Cliff, Town Beach is not covered at high tide as the imported sand from France enlarged the beach and now protects it from this common problem. Families prefer Town Beach as it is safer for young children and ideal for building sandcastles.
East Cliff Beach
On the contrary, the fossil-rich East Cliff Beach is wilder but quieter than the other three. This makes it less touristic, and thus, you won't find here the facilities (restaurants, cafes, water sport activities, and more) that you will at Town Beach. Above the beach, the Spittles cliffs enhance the beauty of this untainted coast. Access to the beach is possible from the north end of the promenade.
Watersports with Lyme Rib Rides
Lyme Regis is not only about fossil hunting. Many tourists also come here for a watersports adventure. One of the top picks, according to visitors' reviews, is Lyme Rib Rides. Hop on the rib (rigid inflatable boat) and get in on the fun. The rib is very comfortable with twelve leather bench seats and all the required safety equipment (first aid kit, life rings, thermal protective aids, and more) so even younger members of your family can be part of this unforgettable experience.
There are many rides to choose from. For a high dose of adrenaline, book the 30 Minute RIB Ride. The fast speed boat will take you to some of the most exquisite sights along the Jurassic Coast. If you aren’t so fond of speed, then pick the 50 Minute Jurassic Coast Cruise, which is a more extended trip to the Jurassic Coastline. Last but definitely not least, there is the premium choice of the 2 Hour Platinum Cruise. In case you wish to explore in-depth the Jurassic Coast and learn everything about its history and geology, then book this trip without a second thought. The friendly and expert crew will share with you all the important facts of the places you'll visit, such as the white cliffs of Beer Head and the Sandstone cliffs at West Bay. If you are in search of activities that are worth both your time and your money, then look no further.
Walk along River Lym
Is hiking in nature your thing? Then, you are in the right place! The walking route along the River Lym (or River Lim) in the rural landscape is rightly one of the top things to do in Dorset when it comes to outdoor activities. Follow the picturesque path from Lyme Regis to Uplyme, which is no more than 1.5 miles (2.4km). The route is rated as easy, so it's ideal for every age. Your route will start from the Cobb Gate and the Town Mill. As you walk, you will come across meadows, fairytale bridges, old mills, streams, while the lovely and peaceful birdsong will accompany you along the path. Here, you will see one of UK's oldest county boundaries as the river near the old mill marks the borders between Devon and Dorset. After the end of your walking route, you can follow the same path back or catch a bus that will quickly take you back to Lyme Regis.
The Cultural Hub of Town Mill
The Town Mill is not just the point where the River Lym walking route starts, it is also an interesting attraction that dates back to 1340. The mill machinery remains from the Victorian times and has been carefully restored. It is still used to produce flour thanks to the water running from River Lym. Visitors can observe and learn about the whole flour producing process from grain to the final product. The Town Mill also hosts galleries and exhibitions of contemporary artists. Additionally, the beautiful space is home to several artisans, whom you can watch work on their handmade crafts and support them by buying a nice souvenir. All these exciting projects wouldn't have been feasible today if the locals didn't actively intervene in 1991 when the mill was planned to be demolished. Lyme Regis residents raised a tremendous amount of £500,000 to restore the mill and make the place as glorious as it is today.
Lyme Regis Marine Aquarium
The Jurassic Coast's rich marine life awaits visitors at the Lyme Regis Aquarium Museum. On the Cobb wall, the family-run aquarium will bring you closer to sea life. Feed the grey mullets, hold a five-legged starfish, watch closely as it gets a lobster or a crab, and meet rare fish species that live in the local waters. Your visit to the Marine Aquarium will also be educational. There are presentations and exhibitions about marine history, fishing activities, and crafts in Lyme Regis. The aquarium is over 70 years old, as it first opened its doors in the 1950s.
Bonus Point: The Marine Theatre
The Marine Theatre, another historical and UNESCO World Heritage Site, constructed in the 19th century, adorns the seafront of Lyme Regis. The open-air Marine Theatre is one of the most remarkable things to do, especially if you are here during summer. Plays, film screenings, bands, and more artistic performances give life to the romantic Cobb harbour offering stunning vistas of the Lyme Bay.
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