Pastel painted cottages lead back up a sheltered valley from the beaches, harbours and seafood restaurants at Lyme Regis. The narrow winding main street is a traffic bottleneck but at least it’s lined by grandly attractive buildings. Stop to find Lyme’s excellent range of shops, bars, cafes and pubs.
As well as a beach resort, this stretch is a world-renowned centre for fossils. Follow the coastpath or walk along the beach to Charmouth. This stretch is ground zero for British fossil hunters. It’s hard not to find something ancient and interesting among the crumbling cliffs here.
During your trip
Other Route Detours
Pretty stone cottages line Abbotsbury’s streets making it a picturesque and popular stop for refreshments or browsing artsy crafty shops. Village highlights include visiting the Swannery for the unique sensation of wandering through the middle of a colony of 600 swans, who are all looking back at you. A little more relaxing is exploring acres of exotic vegetation at the Subtropical Gardens.
Bridport & West Bay
The scenic coast road meets the faster A35 trunk road at Bridport, a bustling and bohemian market town full of interesting independent traders and quirky historic buildings, including a thatched brewery and central town hall clock tower. Wednesday and Saturday markets can slow traffic but offer distractingly varied stalls lining the streets.
Another immaculate chocolate-box village, Burton Bradstock’s teashops and gift shops stand behind sandstone cliffs that mark the start of the Chesil Beach. It’s a good spot to park up for a leisurely stroll. Find the National Trust’s Hive Beach for an award-winning seafood beach café or explore the crumbling rocks for frequently exposed fossils.