Things To Do
Head west along the beach towards Seatown and Charmouth and see if you can find some of the belemnites and ammonites that scatter the shoreline. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, pop into the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre to gen up on all things Jurassic or join a guided fossil-hunting walk.
Eype Centre for the Arts
Tap into the rich local creative scene through a rolling programme of live music and art exhibitions. This unique venue in St Peter’s Chapel hosts a range of events from concerts and literary gatherings to art exhibitions and theatre performances.
Furleigh Estate Wine Tours
Fancy yourself a bit of a wine connoisseur? Take a tour of this 85-acre vineyard surrounded by woodland, learn about each stage of the wine making process and – more importantly – taste a selection of the award-winning wines produced here.
Row, Row, Row Your boat
Hire a rowing boat and paddle along the River Brit. Pause for a picnic on the riverbank or paddle all the way to the Palmers Brewery for a pint brewed on site. Dogs and families are welcome on-board.
Catch Your Own Dinner
Hop aboard Sea Mist from West Bay harbour and try your hand at catching fresh fish for dinner. Under the tutelage of an experienced local skipper you could come back with the likes of Bream, Pollock, Bass or Mackerel for tea.
Axe Valley Wildlife Park
Young children will simply love this small and friendly zoo situated just 20 minutes’ drive from Eype. Here you can handle a variety of animals, feed the free-range birds and enjoy close encounters with the likes of antelopes, wallabies and bearded dragons.
Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens
It’s just 20 minutes’ drive to this tropical paradise that’s world famous for its camellia groves and magnolias. Local food and drink is also high on the agenda here, with the Colonial Restaurant serving local, seasonal ingredients and pop-up feasts with fine dining chef Nick Holt.
Eat And Drink
The New Inn
Hunker by the log fire or bask on the terrace of this excellent local serving regional ales and classic pub grub stuffed with local ingredients. Within a pebble’s throw of the beach, the New Inn is popular for its Sunday roasts using organic meats from nearby Downhouse Farm.
Downhouse Farm Café, Golden Cap Estate
Nestled within the Golden Cap Estate, this working farm has flung open the doors to a garden café where you can tuck into homemade and wholesome dishes from cream teas to home-reared organic meats. It’s the perfect location for walkers to rest their legs, pour over the map and soak up the views to Lyme Bay and Portland.
Watch House Café, West Bay
Bag a seafront bench and soak up stunning views while tucking into a Lyme Bay crab sandwich or a bowl of Exe mussels. A cosy and chic venue nudging the shingle beach, this chilled out café is little sister to the much-loved Hive Beach Café in neighbouring Burton Bradstock.
The Riverside Restaurant, West Bay
Want seafood flipped straight from the fishing boats and into the pan? Riverside serves the freshest and finest fish and shellfish caught in and around Lyme Bay. The ethos here is simplicity and sustainability – after all the award-winning food and eye-popping views doesn’t need any embellishment.
Rachel’s, West Bay
If the sun is shining (or at least if it not’s raining), there are few better places to order lunch than this harbour-side kiosk. From the smoked haddock chowder and tempura seafood to traditional fish and chips or a simple pot of cockles, every morsel of food is delectable. Keep an eye out for platter nights in summer.
The Station Kitchen, West Bay
At this unique venue on the edge of Old West Bay Station, you can dine in style in an old railway carriage. As popular for the setting as it is for the food, expect fresh fish, locally-reared loins and farm-fresh veg.
Hive Beach Café, Burton Bradstock
Serving seasonal seafood and local shellfish in a casual beachside setting on the Chesil Bank, this place in on every gastronome’s radar. As well as huge platters of seafood, you can tuck into hunks of homemade cake while soaking up far-reaching views across Lyme Bay.
Hix Oyster and Fish House, Lyme Regis
It’s worth the 20-minute drive to this world-class seafood restaurant overlooking Lyme Bay. From prawns and oysters to crab and cockles, almost everything served is plucked from the ocean in view. Celeb chef Mark Hix keeps his style simple and elegant, leaving the quality of the local ingredients to do the talking.
The River Cottage Canteen, Axminster
It’s only a 15-minute drive to the famous River Cottage Canteen run by local food hero Fearnley-Whittingstall. Here you can tuck into all manner of seasonal produce, from Lyme Bay plaice and Portland brown crab to rabbit ragu and Devon Rose veal burgers.
Thorncombe Beacon and Doghouse Hill
This circular 7km walk along the coast to Seatown and back along country lanes, is a rollercoaster route taking in an ancient human settlement, one of the beacon sites used to warn of the approach of the Spanish Armada and, of course, the eye-popping coastal scenery. Stop for mid-way refreshments at Seatown’s pub, once the haunt of the famous ‘Chideock Gang’ smugglers.
Continue along the South West Coast Path from Seatown and you can summit Golden Cap. However, if you want to conquer the south coast’s highest peak without covering such a distance, park up in one of the National Trust’s car parks at Langdon Hill or Stonebarrow Hill. If you still can’t hack the calf-busting climb to the top, there’s always the 25 miles of easier footpaths circulating the estate.
West Bay to Burton Bradstock and Abbotsbury
After the initial steep climb up East Cliff from West Bay, it’s a relatively easy half hour’s walk along the coast path to Burton Bradstock. After a pit stop at the popular Hive Café, if you’ve got the energy push on over the next cliff to West Bexington then either follow the official coast path or pad along Chesil Beach all the way to Abbotsbury.
Events & Festivals
The Lyme Lunge and the Grand Duck Race, Lyme Regis
The year kicks off with the famous duck race on the River Lym and an invigorating saltwater dip at Cobb Beach. If you don’t brave the swim just turn up to watch outrageously dressed participants take the plunge.
The Lyme Bay Beer Festival, Lyme Regis
Sample beers and ciders from the region’s microbreweries, feast on local food, take in the sea views and spin into spring on the dance floor at the Marine Theatre.
Check out the Easter Bonnet Parade and Duck Race in Lyme Regis, and look out for Easter egg hunts and family events at Forde Abbey and Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens.
Lyme Regis Fossil festival , Lyme Regis
During this weekend of festivities celebrating the area’s prehistoric bounty, the whole family can enjoy fascinating talks and explore the past with a huge range of hands-on activities along the seafront.
Lyme Regis Jazz and Blues Weekend
It doesn’t matter whether or not the sun shines on the May Bank Holiday weekend – this toe-tapping jazz festival marks one of the busiest weekends of the year in Lyme Regis.
Bridport Food Festival
Celebrate all things foodie at this delicious gathering of food and drink producers from the Bridport area. As well as cookery demos, a beer festival and a ‘make and take’ tent, there’s a taste trail and plenty of family entertainment.
Jurassic Fields Music Festival, Bridport
This family-friendly festival showcases the region’s best music, comedy, food and entertainment.
West Bay Gig Rowing Regatta
Enjoy an exciting weekend of gig races in celebration of this historic sport handed down by 19th century oarsmen.
West Bay Day
Celebrate the rich history, heritage and gourmet of the region with an abundance of family entertainment including classic cars, duck races, model airplane displays and much more.
Bonfire Night on East Beach, West Bay
Warm your cockles by the huge beach bonfire and enjoy live music, lip-smacking food and a spectacular fireworks display.
Bridport Literary Festival
Hangout with literati and enjoy talks, events and entertainment from the region’s finest wordsmiths.
Christmas Tree on Harbour Green, West Bay
Head to the green outside St John’s Church to see the Christmas lights being switched while you sip mulled wine and scoff mince pies.
Christmas Day Fancy Dress Swim, Charmouth
Put on your festive fancy dress and head to Charmouth beach for a festive dip. Don’t be late ¬– the plunge takes place at 11am and most of the swimmers are out by a minute past.
Shop Til You Drop
While there’s not much by way of shopping in West Bay, if you head 1.5 miles inland to Bridport, you’ll find the streets abuzz with stores and street markets. Stalls selling everything from arts and crafts to clothes and bric-a-brac line the pavements every Wednesday and Saturday, the Bridport Food Market is a gourmet destination every day of the week, and the Farmers’ Market is held in the Arts Centre on the second Saturday of each month. Then there’s a vintage and antique market, Vinyl Saturdays, evening markets and artisan markets to look out for.