Lyme Regis was one of Dorset’s premiere seaside resorts in the 19th century and has remained so ever since.

During the Elizabethan era this was a bustling town thanks to its harbour, sheltered from the sea by the thickwalled Cobb. Some 250 years later, its shallow harbour could not accommodate larger ships. However, in the Regency period it became a fashionable resort for sea bathing, a century later its quaint streets and fossil strewn  beaches made it a tourist magnet.

A bronze statue of this trailblazing 19th century female palaeontologist and Lyme Regis native and her dog Trey was unveiled in 2022 on the seafront. This was thanks to a fundraising drive, Mary Anning Rocks, started five years earlier by a 10-year-old schoolgirl Evie Swyre. Discover more about this remarkable woman in the Mary Anning Wing at the town’s museum.

READ MORE: Fossil hunter Mary Anning celebrated on Royal Mail stamps

The Lyme Regis Fossil Festival is aimed at fossil enthusiasts of all ages (June 8-9). Lyme Crime (June 20-22) brings together crime and thriller writers, forensic specialists, police officers and lawyers to discuss murder by the sea. Lyme Folk Weekend offers four-days of free live folk music, shanty singing, storytelling and ceilidh dancing at the end of August.

This maritime villa belonged to 18th century businesswoman Eleanor Coade who mass
produced architectural embellishments made of a ceramic stoneware known as Coade stone which cover Belmont’s exterior. John Fowles, author of The French Lieutenant’s Woman which is set in Lyme, lived here from the 1970s until his death. It’s now a holiday let.

The historic centre of Lyme is a popular film location. The Cobb is the star in Jane
Austen’s Persuasion (1817) when Louisa Musgrove has a terrible fall there (Austen stayed in Lyme in the autumn of 1803 and 1804), and it’s been filmed here several times. More recently the Cobb was seen in the film Ammonite, about Mary Anning, and Wonka.