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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > United Kingdom > England > Lyme Regis beaches, Dorset

About Lyme Regis beaches, Dorset

Dorset’s famously fascinating coastline stretches from Lyme Regis in the west to Christchurch in the east, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its geology traces 185 million years of history in stone. Lyme Regis is the capital of the Jurassic coast, packed with fossils and interesting geological formations, and is also famous for its literary connections – think Jane Austen and John Fowles.

Beach:

Lyme Regis has two beaches that are a mixture of shingle and sand, separated by the iconic harbour wall known as the Cobb. The main beach is Cobb Gate, while to the west of the Cobb lies Monmouth Beach.

Beyond the beach:

It’s around 64km (40 miles) inland to Glastonbury from here, but this mystic, rural area has to be worth the trip. Famous for the Glastonbury Festival, an annual music event held in June in the nearby village of Pilton, there’s still plenty to see when it’s not party time. The town lies at the centre of the Isle of Avalon, an important place in early Christian legend. You can visit Glastonbury Abbey, which dates back to the seventh century, and Glastonbury Tor, a hill topped by St Michael’s Tower, which has amazing views.

Family fun:

Lyme Regis is a restrained, elegant version of the English seaside experience; a mix of Georgian and Victorian buildings nestled between limestone cliffs. It has strong literary associations: Jane Austen set part of Persuasion here, having summered in town, and former local resident John Fowle’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman was set and also filmed here.

There are the usual beach activities, including swimming, sailing and fishing, and out of the sea you can explore the National Nature Reserve at the Undercliff with its 11km (7-mile) stretch of woodland. Heading east of Lyme Regis, walkers can head along the coastal footpath, part of the 1,046km (650-mile) South West Coast Path.

There’s a small Marine Aquarium (www.lymeregismarineaquarium.co.uk) near the Cobb.

Exploring further:

Splashing out:

It’s worth making a special trip to Lyme Regis only to eat at its best restaurant. Hix Oyster and Fish House, Cobb Road, has awesome views over the Cobb and the sparkling sea through the floor-to-ceiling windows, a simple interior of wood and white walls, and a sublime little outdoor terrace. Acclaimed chef Mark Hix is from Dorset and has been much praised for his magical touch with fresh local ingredients. Dishes are simple but brilliant.