Lizzie PopeSee other travel guides written by Lizzie Pope
When on caravan holidays in Dorset, the whole family will enjoy pretty Lyme Regis. Although it's a small seaside town, there’s plenty to see and do throughout the year.
The town of Lyme Regis, located to the very west of Dorset, makes a great base for exploring both it and neighbouring Devon: it’s right on the border between the two. It’s also situated on the shores of Lyme Bay, and is nicknamed the ‘Pearl of Dorset’.
The stretch of shoreline around the town is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast, and here – as in nearby Charmouth – it’s possible to discover a host of fossils simply by scouring the beach. As always, though, you should take great care when walking beneath the cliffs, as there have been a number of serious landslips over the past few years, especially after days of heavy rain.
Lyme Regis has also made appearances in film and literature over the years: it was mentioned in Jane Austen’s Persuasion, and in the novel of The French Lieutenant’s Woman, which was written by local author John Fowles and made into a film starring Meryl Streep.
Despite its relatively small size – it only has a population of around 4500 people – there’s much to see and do in Lyme Regis. The Cobb is a centuries-old wall surrounding the attractive harbour that’s been at the heart of the town’s industry for hundreds of years. The Lyme Regis Museum displays local finds and details the history of the area, and there are some attractive inns and pubs in which to enjoy a meal.
Four beaches make up the shoreline of Lyme Regis, the closest being Town Beach, which has the usual food and drink kiosks. Dogs are not allowed on this beach between 1 April and 31 October each year, and they must be on a lead for the rest of the time, too.
Visit Lyme Regis and you'll find that it's a family-friendly destination for caravan holidays in Dorset, and this is reflected in the number of larger, full-facility campsites near Lyme Regis. The main road to the town is the A3052 and there are a handful of parks located on this road, with easy access to the town. For a greater choice, you could consider staying at one of the campsites off or around the nearby A35.
Top five things to do in Lyme Regis
Visit the Axmouth to Lyme Regis Undercliffs National Nature Reserve, which can be accessed from the South West Coast Path National Trail. Perfect for walking holidays in Dorset, this reserve is among the largest active coastal landslide systems in all of Western Europe.
You can't take caravan holidays in Lyme Regis without visiting the Cobb, so while there, walk to the end and go to the marine aquarium. You'll learn about the town's maritime history and about the local marine life, too. You might even get to hold a starfish or stroke a lobster.
Less than 15 minutes by car from Lyme Regis you can visit Axe Valley Wildlife Park. See zebras, meerkats, lemurs and much more.
Take a trip on the Seaton Tramway. It is a three-mile ride from Seaton to Colyton via Colyford, and it takes around 30 minutes.
When to visit Lyme Regis
There are lots of things to do in Lyme Regis. Visit during the summer to see the local carnival, or head for the beach in winter to go fossil hunting, remembering to follow the Fossil Hunting Code. In fact, there is even an annual Fossil Festival held in May.
Other events to enjoy when staying at campsites in Lyme Regis include the Lyme Regis Beer Festival in April, the Crab Festival in June and the Lyme Regis Mackerel Festival in July. And if you want to catch fish as well as eat them, there is the Black Bream Festival in August. Like music? Then check out the Lyme Regis Jazz & Blues Weekend or the Lyme Folk Weekend, while Lyme Regis ArtsFest takes place in September. And if you like walking holidays, there's the Lyme Regis Walking Festival.
How to get to Lyme Regis
Lyme Regis sits on the A3052, which joins the A35 a few miles north east of the town. It's about a 30-minute drive from Honiton in Devon to the west, and around 40 minutes along the A35 to Dorchester to the east.
As with most campsites in Dorset, it is a good idea to check with the site before setting off with your caravan, as they will be able to tell you if there are any roads to avoid, because country lanes in Dorset can sometimes be very tight and twisty.