‘The Pearl of the Dorset Coast’ is how some people know the picturesque town of Lyme Regis, and not without justification. It is, for many, the very picture of an English seaside town, stepped in beauty, history, and quiet charm. Classic English buildings look onto a stony beach and the occasionally warm Dorset coast water. Facing the bay which juts out into the Channel are rolling hills of a quite clearly green and pleasant land. The fact that the cliffs are pretty much bursting with Jurassic fossils, and the fact that the town was recorded in the Doomsday book as a well developed settlement, serves to give visitors a sense that they really are visiting somewhere, albeit a small nook on the English Channel.
The tourist traps of Lyme are nothing to be sniffed at, and people are right to come from miles around to spend time on the beach, to walk the surrounding country, or to do a bit of sneaky fossil poaching. However, there is a great deal more to Lyme than these pass-times that have now become synonymous with it.
One thing to definitely seek out while staying at Lyme Regis is the thriving live music scene. I know this might shock some of you, but the town absolutely comes alive of an evening with bands, orchestras and open mic nights. The Marine Theatre, affectionately known as the little theatre by the sea, hosts live performances every week ranging from jazz collaborates and cover bands to rock groups and amateur classical orchestras. This is of course just one venue chosen out of many. Take a walk around the town after dinner and you are sure to hear bellowing of all sorts coming from the pubs and bars that litter the town centre. For the more refined visitor, the parish church regularly hosts classical concerts. Personally, I found a much more comfortable fit in the Nag’s Head, which overlooks the town and provides beer and music a plenty.
If you want something a bit more outlandish, and more of a challenge, I cannot overstate the need for visitors of Lyme Regis to try their hand at stone balancing. This may sound a little ‘out there’, but believe me, it is the most frustratingly addictive way to spend an afternoon while being able to enjoy some magnificent scenery. Adrian Gray is quite literally the pioneer of stonebalancing art in Dorset (not that it is thriving anywhere else particularly), and he has left his mark on many of the beaches that surround Lyme Regis. Visitors to the area should definitely take a trip to see some of these sculptures, before they inevitably try to create their own. It is worth checking out some of Adrian’s best creations on the Internet before visiting Lyme Regis, as it will certainly convince you that it is worth seeing in person.
Another attraction worth a few hours of your time is one of Lyme Regis’ famous breweries. The best one to visit is the Lyme Regis brewery, nestled within the backstreets of Lyme, where artisan workshops of all types seem to thrive. If you like good beer, and you think you would enjoy learning what it is like to be a small-scale brewer committed to your art, then this is a must-see for Lyme tourists. You will learn a great deal from the friendly brewer about his ales, and if you’re not stupid, you’ll leave laden with ‘samples’, which you will doubtlessly appreciate all the more for having supported a small but passionate business.
Having gone off the beaten track in Lyme, for want of a better phrase, it is worth mentioning that the regular tourist attractions are no less fascinating than these rather more alternative….alternatives. From an incredible fossil museum to fishing tours, sometimes the obvious things to do can be the best. The lesson here is to do your research before going, and be sure that you don’t miss out during your visit to Lyme; you’ll be amazed at what’s on offer.
kate and toms have several properties close by including the modern Mulberry Cottage and Springfield House with it’s beautiful views. If you would like to have a chat about our properties in and around Lyme Regis our phone number is 01242 235151, we look forward to your call.