When you travel along the Dorset Coast in South West, England, you’ll come across many small towns dotting the coast, but none quite like the beach-side community of Lyme Regis. The town, with its mix of pastel and white-washed homes climbing up the hillside away from the beach, is reminiscent of much sunnier and tropical locales. I can only assume that the picturesque village becomes even more vibrant in the summer months since both times I’ve visited has been in late winter/early spring.
The village has connections to some great women in English history, too. Jane Austen uses the town as a backdrop in the her story Persuasion. The lesser-known (but no less important) Mary Anning was one of the greatest fossil hunters in the earliest days of paleontology (we’ll talk more about her when we tell you about our fossil walk).
The town is most of all a beach town and the center attraction is the sand and water. The town boasts of an “award-winning environmental protection scheme that ensures the waters around the town are safe and clean.” You can spend your summer days relaxing on the beach and soaking up the up the sun or going for a dip. The constant breeze makes the coast a great place for wind surfing, kite surfing and sailing. I have to say one of the most striking things along beach is a collection of small pastel sheds that seem to be used for everything from beach storage to shelter for residents spending the day at the beach.
A great sea wall that juts out into the water sheltering the harbor and calming the surf is simply known as The Cobb. The sea wall is an impressive stone structure that dominates the seascape and is an attraction all its own. It’s popular for evening walks in the summer, watching the waves crash over it in the winter, or fishing no matter the season or weather. John Fowles used the dramatic setting of The Cobb in his book The French Lieutenant’s Woman, the film adaptation features Meryl Streep.
The town is packed with cafés and art galleries and is a great place to spend a windy day sheltered from the weather. A range of activities from a Jazz festival, Carnival, and regattas pack the yearly calendar ensuring visitors have more than enough to keep them busy.
I’ve been to this little village twice now, and would love to go again to see it in the warmth of summer. I do recommend a trip if you’re ever in Dorset, regardless the weather.