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21 Things to do in Lyme Regis

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View of Lyme Regis Harbour looking back at the town from the harbour wall with a purple and pink sunset sky above and the harbour filled with small sailing boats. 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!

Whatever you’re into, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy during your visit to lovely Lyme Regis…

RELATED POST: The Ultimate Local’s Guide to Dorset

21 Things to do in Lyme Regis (and Nearby)

In no particular order, here’s a guide to the best things to do in and around Lyme Regis, Dorset. There’s also an interactive map at the bottom of this page to help you plan.

1 – Lyme Regis 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 in Lyme Regis and is ideal for swimming, so it’s probably the busiest spot on sunny days.

Looking down from a small gassy hill at Lyme Regis beach, a curved sandy beach with a stone breaker wall jutting out into the sea and the small walled harbour behind that filled with boats.

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 patches of 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

A large grey stone with a large white ammonite fossil on the face of it sitting on a stoney beach with a low grey cliff close to Lyme Regis, the tide is out and the sea is only just visible in the distance.

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 its 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! You can even 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

Exterior of Lyme Regis Museum, a modern two storey building made form black metal with large glass windows all around both floors, and an older whitewashed townhouse just behind it, shot from below with a cloudy blue sky overhead.
Image courtesy 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 find out what they teach us about life on earth millions of years ago.

4 – Dinosaurland Fossil Museum

Close up of the head and neck of a dinosaur skeleton with its mouth open showing sharp teeth inside the 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

Low stone wall with a walkway on top next to the sea with waves crashing against the wall and a low headland in front silhouetted against the sky. The sun is setting over the sea and a couple walking along the wall are silhouttted in front of the sunset light.

“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.

This wall features in a pivotal scene in Jane Austen’s Persuasion and several film and TV adaptations of the book, as well as 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:

Shops

Galleries

8 – Visit Town Mill

Close up of a large stone mill whieel with a star shape carved into it and a hand pointing at its centre - in 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. Visitors can take a self-guided tour – it’s free, but if you can, please make a donation to help keep the mill running.

These days, 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

View from the top of Golden Cap cliff on the Dorset Jurassic Coast, with log yellow grass in the foreground and a long stretch of coast below with a sandy beach and blue sea beside grassy cliffs with grey and yellow faces., taken on a sunny day with clear blue sky above.

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 in Lyme Regis, a small wood and glass building with a grey tiled roof on the edge of a low hill above a harbour filled with small white boats with the sea behind that. there is a heron stood on the roof of the restaurant and a green leafy bush in the forgeround.
Image Courtesy of Hix Restaurants.

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 a 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 , a small white art deco style building with blue window and door frames and blue trim along the top, next to a paved esplanade beside the blue sea with a large empty paved space in front enclosed by a stone wall with a few wooden benches, taken on a sunny day with clear blue sky above.

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

View of a narrow river in between two houses, the house on the left is a small grey stone cottage with no windows and a dark grey tiled roodf with a small white bird spraypainted onto the side, the building on the right is a larger whitewashed house. There is a low wall on the right bank of the river covered in green ivy and other bushes, and clear blue sky overhead. Things to do in lyme regis
Banksy’s origami crane with goldfish alongside the River Lim

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

Aerial shot taken above the sea looking back at Lyme Regis with the stone breaker pointing into the sea and a few sail boats near the harbour entrance in the distance, there is a bright yellow and black RIB boat with several people on board going very fast through the water close to the camera with a white frothy boat trail behind it.

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: they’re motor-powered and very fast, so a ride in one is an exhilarating experience.

Family-run local company Lyme RIB Rides offers 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 mackerel 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 is a 304-hectare National Nature Reserve. It’s a stunning area, although the only access route is along the South West Coast Path, which runs for about seven miles through the reserve.

The Undercliffs is 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. However, the NNR asks all visitors to leave all fossils where they are 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 from 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

large stately home built from beige coloured stone with several turrets and a castle like appearance, surrounded by green leafy trees and a garden with small rounded hedges and a large rectangular pond in front.

Another great place to visit 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’ve previously been nominated for the Historic Houses ‘Garden of the Year’ award. Forde Abbey also runs a great programme of events throughout the year.

RELATED POST: 11 Stately Homes to Visit in Dorset

21 – Charmouth and Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre

orange sand and shingle curved beach with very high orange cliffs in the background covered with grass, at West Bay near Bridport Dorset
The dramatic cliffs at West Bay make a brillinat day trip!

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.

READ MORE: Things to do in Charmouth

Map of Things to do in Lyme Regis

Use the map above to plan your trip to Lyme Regis and find all the attractions mentioned in this article.

Lyme Regis Festival Dates for your Diary

Food Rocks Festival in Lyme Regis, an aerial shot of the sandy beach with a low grassy headland visible across the bay in the distance, the paved esplanade next to the beach is filled with canvas food stalls and a bright turqouise food truck with a large crowd of people walking between them all.
Food Rocks – Image Courtesy of Hix Restaurants.

Easter Bonnet Parade – 31st March 2024. An annual Easter parade through Lyme Regis, with everyone wearing colourful Easter bonnets!

Lyme Regis Fossil Festival – 8th-9th June 2024

Summer Flower and Produce Fair, Uplyme Village Hall -3rd August 2024 (run by Uplyme and Lyme Regis Horticultural Society)

Morris Dancing Day – 13th July 2024

Lifeboat Week – 27th July 2024 – 2nd August 2024

Regatta & Carnival Week – a carnival week, opening with the Lyme Regis Sailing Club Regatta Race. 2nd – 10th August 2024

Lyme Splash Water Polo Sea Championship – This is the UK’s only Water Polo Sea Championship! 2024 dates TBC (usually early August)

Lyme Regis Folk Weekend – 23rd – 26th August 2024. Morris dancing across town, and free live music all day every day on the seafront stage.

Fireworks And Bonfire On The Beach – 2024 dates TB, usually around 5th November – see all Dorset fireworks nights here.

Christmas Lights Switch On – 2024 dates TB, usually late November

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 at 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! 

10 thoughts on “21 Things to do in Lyme Regis”

  1. This is amazing! My family and I used to go to Weymouth every year when we were little. Which, of course, included a trip to Lyme Regis too. We used to walk along the seafront, and the beach, and go to the Dinosaurland Museum. But I never knew there were so many other things to do here! Especially, fossil hunting and the fossil festival. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Ah thanks so much for reading! I grew up in Weymouth! Lyme Regis is so stunning and there are so many lovely things to do there. Hope you get a chance to visit again soon 🙂

  2. OK, Lyme Regis it is. We travel to the UK regularly from Australia, and have been wondering where to spend a week after our narrowboat cruise.
    Looks like we have decided!
    Thanks, a great site!

    cliff and Jenni

    1. Hi Cliff! That’s great news, Lyme Regis is beautiful – hope you enjoy your trip there!! I highly recommend a visit to West Bay while you’re in the area, and a trip up Golden Cap if you don’t mind the climb 🙂

  3. This is wonderful information. We plan to stay in Lyme Regis at the end of a 300 mile Eurovelo route biking trip from Rorschach to Strasbourg, and we want to travel over to Lyme Regis to stay in one spot, chill out and enjoy some light hiking. We will be “on foot”, no car or bikes at this point. I have printed out the 15 short Dorset hikes, but wondered if there is local transport to all the starting points? Which ones start in or very near Lyme Regis?
    thanks,
    Karen

    1. Hi Karen – I’m so sorry I didn’t reply to ths sooner, the comment was blocked and I’ve only just spotted it.

      There is a map in my “15 Short Coast Hikes” article which shows the start point of all the walks. The closest to Lyme Regis would be the Golden Cap walk, the West Bay to Hive Beach walk, and of course the Lyme Regis to Charmouth walk. You can take a bus from Lyme Regis to Chideok which is close to the start of the Golden Cap walk, and you can also take a bus to West Bay to start that walk. If you want to go further afield there is also the “Jurassic Coaster” bus which runs all along the coast and would get you to Weymouth in under 2 hours.

      Hope that helps 🙂 Enjoy your trip!

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