Things To Do in West Bay
Kids love the simple fun of dropping a crabbing line off the harbour wall and luring these crustaceans into their buckets. While you’re at the water’s edge take a stroll along the Jurassic Pier and have some fun in the amusement arcades.
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 onboard.
Catch Your Own Dinner
Hop aboard Sea Mist, under the tutelage of an experienced local skipper, try your luck at catching the likes of bream, pollock and Mackerel for tea.
A boat trip is a great way to lap up the scenery of the Jurassic coast. For an adrenalin-fuelled sightseeing experience you can hop aboard a RIB ride for a ‘West Bay Blast’, or get a tow for a water-skiing or wakeboarding session.
Not content with the stunning scenery above sea level? Explore the incredible underwater world and come face-to-face with all sorts of marine life on a dive charter.
One of the best local areas for fossil hunting is Watton Cliff (part of West Cliff beach), where you’ll find an abundance of microfossils such as small mammals, fish, reptiles and ostrapods.
Take in the coastal and countryside scenery from the pristine greens of this 18-hole course at Bridport and West Dorset Golf Club. While you’re trying to score a ‘birdie’, listen out for the local birdlife including the song of the skylarks.
Palmers Brewery, Bridport
Take a tour and discover the secrets of this historic brewery that’s been operating since 1794. You’ll also find out about the production of the famous ‘Golden Cap’ whisky.
Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, Abbotsbury
It’s just 15 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 in West Bay
Watch House Café
Bag a seafront bench and soak up stunning coastal 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 Burton Bradstock.
The Riverside Restaurant
Fancy 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 don’t need any embellishment.
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
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.
Bridport Arms Hotel, Bridport
Hunker down in this cosy beachside inn for a pint of local ale brewed just up the road in Bridport. Alongside the distinctive beers you’ll also find excellent wines and pub grub stacked with locally sourced produce.
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.
Wild Walks around West Bay
West Bay to Burton Bradstock and Abbotsbury
After the initial climb up East Cliff, it’s a relatively easy half hour’s walk along the coast path to Burton Bradstock. If you’ve still got energy after a pit stop at the popular Hive Café, push on over the next cliff to West Bexington and follow the coast path all the way to Abbotsbury.
West Bay to Eype, Seatown and Charmouth
Experience dizzying views from the summit of Golden Cap – the highest point on England’s south coast – when you tackle this strenuous seven-mile stretch of coast path. If you’re looking for an easier walk, it’s just a mile to the secluded cove of Eypemouth, from where the gradients get steeper. If you do intend to take the entire seven miles in your stride, take a beachside pit stop at The Anchor in Seatown.
Details of the entire stretch of coast path between Charmouth and Abbotsbury can be found at: www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/walk-coast-path/walking-breaks/2-3-day-breaks/charmouth-abbotsbury/
If you want to conquer the south coast’s highest peak without taking on difficult sections of coast path, 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 from here, there’s always the 25 miles of easier footpaths circulating the estate.
Brit Valley Way
Head inland from the harbour and meander along the Brit Valley Way. This 11-mile trail follows the River Brit through the pretty villages of Pymore, Waytown and Netherbury, then onto Chedington where it links with the River Parrett Trail.
Events & Festivals in West Bay
NEW YEAR’S EVE
Bucky Doo Square, Bridport
Join a weird and wonderful array of super heroes, pirates, panto characters and cross dressers in the countdown to midnight.
The Lyme Lunge and the Grand Duck Race, Lyme Regis – 1st January 2020
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.
Easter Bonnet Parade, Lyme Regis– 12th April 2020
Check out the Easter Bonnet Parade 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– 1st, 2nd & 3rd May 2020
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 at Lyme Regis.
Lyme Regis Jazz and Blues Weekend, Lyme Regis
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.
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 also 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
Warm your cockles by the huge beach bonfire and enjoy live music, lip-smacking food and a spectacular fireworks display.
Bridport Literary Festival, Bridport
Hangout with literati and enjoy talks, events and entertainment from the region’s finest wordsmiths.
Christmas Tree on Harbour Green
Head to the green outside St John’s Church to see the Christmas lights being switched on 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 in West Bay
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.