The location of attractions is intended only as a guide. Distances are 'as the crow flies'.
A traditional, dog friendly village pub in the heart of the village with lots of parking at the rear. Off the beaten track, here you'll find hearty pub grub and traditional ales. There's also a skittle alley.
Charmouth West Beach runs the mile and a half from the mouth of the river Char all the way to Lyme Regis. Although hammering at the cliffs is not allowed, the shores of Charmouth West Beach are well known for their fossils and often keen-eyed visitors are rewarded with a treat. With the gentle slope of the beach and natural sea pools forming in certain conditions the beach lends itself nicely to paddling and swimming. A heritage centre, cafe and shops are nearby, although there are no lifeguards on duty.
Lovely not too busy beach, such fun finding fossils, beautiful sand when the tide is out, and great rock pools
Lovely beach, brilliant for fossil hunting
Take a fossil hunting guided walk or boat trip. No sand but plenty to keep the kids amused.
The hours seem to have a habit of slipping by while you're wandering along hunting for fossils on this stretch of coast. The kids love the excitement of finding an ammonite or debating the authenticity of possible 'dinosaur bones'. Great way to spend an afternoon.
There are six walks to choose from within the parish, the first of which goes over the hill to Holditch, a fairly strenuous two and a half hour walk. If this seems a bit taxing why not try one of the others on the Web site which are more of a gentle stroll.
This Devon market town sits on a hill overlooking the River Axe. The town has a history of carpet making and gave its name to a type of carpet, still made here today, that is now manufactured all over the world. Today, the area is also known for being home to TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Stores and Canteen.
Small East Devon market town
Still the home of Axminster carpets produced with local wool. (There is a re-created weaver's garden in the Arts Cafe couryard where you may also see the old town police cells). The fine minster church holds free lunchtime concerts on market days in Summer. Buy your home made produce at the indoor market and lunch at River Cottage canteen in the square. Enjoy a range of speciality shops and a small museum.
Local, ethical produce is the ethos at the River Cottage Local Produce Store. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, of Channel 4's River Cottage, and team, source the best local produce from South West producers for the store, where regular tasting evenings and events are held.
With a different menu every day, reflecting what's in season, The Canteen also showcases the best of the South West, with mouthwatering meals and a wicked selection of cakes and cream teas. Reservations recommended for evenings and Sunday lunch.
River Cottage HQ Cookery School
Nearby, on the Devon Dorset border is the famous River Cottage HQ where you can dig deeper into the River Cottage philosophy and learn how to recreate some of those fabulous dishes. Hugh and the team run a wide range of events and day courses including bread baking, chicken rearing and meat curing at Park Farm between Axminster and Lyme Regis.
Great food using fresh ingredients in interesting combinations.
Stopped off for breakfast and a coffee, nice down to earth cafe, if you ignore all the self promotional books everywhere! I was expecting rip off prices due to the celebratory name but it was a very fair price for a lovely breakfast.
Great place to go and enjoy some of the best food and drink that Devon has to offer. No fuss and bother with linen tablecloths and the like, so you can focus on the food. Not the cheapest option in town, but the experience is well worth it.
New for July 2010: 'Cabaret Kitchen'
From the end of July Head Chef Tim and his team will be producing typically River Cottage fare using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients in front of your very eyes.
Exciting and unassuming
I have always been a big fan of the River Cottage brand so as soon as I was in the area I arranged to have lunch with a friend here. We were both travelling from opposite sides of the country to meet there, by which time it was about one thirty. You cannot book so we were concerned we might not get in, but we only had to wait a couple of minutes before being seated at a very rustic (possibly recycled/reused) wooden table in what felt like a barn/outhouse. It definately wasn't posh, but it was light and airy and very 'countrified'. The menu each day is written on a big chalk board and by the time we got there the choice was somewhat limited as lots of things had run out. However, what we chose was tasty, not too overpriced, and a twist on a classic. We very much enjoyed our lunch there and had a good mooch around the deli/shop afterwards (which you walk through to get to the restaurant), having a good friendly chat with the staff who treated you like an old friend (and ran to get you a glass of water after sampling one of the chilli jams!) I would definately choose it as top of my list for lunch when visiting the area in future, although perhaps not go out of my way to visit it on purpose.
A wide range of day courses and evening events are run, providing an insight into the humane and local production of food, and its preparation and cooking.
- H Minter
A sunday lunch to die for!
We go to the River Cottage Canteen whenever we are visiting Devon. The restaurent (as the name suggests) does not stand on ceremony, but it is homely and welcoming and you can turn up in walking boots! We've taken family and friends and it is suitable for an impromptu lunch or big family celebration. However what makes it particularly special is the quality of the food, which, thanks to the rearing of the meat by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and his team, and the cooking of the chefs in the canteen, makes for a truly delicious meal. It won't be the cheapest food you've ever eaten, but you can relax in the knowledge that all the food is truly organic and responsibly farmed and that all the ingredients taste just like they should. Highly recommended!
A former Cistercian monastery dating back to the 1100s. The gardens are breathtaking, while inside must-sees include the cloisters and the upper refectory.
House closed because of Covid but the gardens are lovely. Don’t miss the fountain - a must see!
A lovely place to visit.
We’ve just had a very pleasant few hours at Forde Abbey on a scorching hot day. The house is very interesting to walk around and the gardens are beautiful, it’s worth waiting to see the fountain, especially if you stand downwind of it on such a hot day.
The ginger cake in the cafe was a great way to end our visit.
A place to unwind
We visited these delightful gardens as part of a circular walk from Thorncombe village. It was the perfect place for a leisurely lunch followed by a stroll around the gardens before continuing on our way. The highlight of the day.
Well worth a visit
We really loved the gardens and the interior. It was the highlight of our week. We spent several hours there and felt there was plenty to see both in the house and gardens. The tearoom provides excellent lunches for those who want to make a day of it.
Stately home and splendid gardens
Fascinating former abbey dating back to 12thC. One of the greatest Westcountry gardens (according to Alan Titchmarsh), plant sales and a good restaurant serving really local food from the estate. A good day's outing.
It would be remiss not to mention the pleasures of walking the Jurassic Coast here; a good way to combine a little exercise with a history lesson is to join one of the organised Fossil Walks from Charmouth.
Charmouth Beach & Fossil Hunting
Had two good walks down there from Stone Barrow Lodge, the first time we walked down the right hand side of the beach and collected many unusual pieces of drift wood.The second time we walked the left hand beach and found lot of fossils.Not knowing what to look for and no tools to search the clay slides we meandered to the shoreline and hey presto found a fossil being washed by the incoming tide, we then went on to find many more, all quite small but some perfect specimens. Easy to spot in the water/sand as they were in pyrite which made then stand out from the other stones and pebbles, some have a Bronze tinge and some a rusty coating. It later turns out we were in just the right place, on the shoreline and a few hundred yards from the river (which is apparently the best place to find them). Have to say the tide got us most of the time but an enjoyable time nevertheless.
Charmouth and the delights of fossil hunting!
One of the best beaches to try your luck at fossil hunting. We found the best way was as the tide was ebbing - you are more likely to find ammonites washed up on the beach - you just need a good eye and a lot of patience! Other fossils are found in the clay which has subsided from the cliff face. The excitement of finding a fossil for the first time (young or old) is an experience you will never forget and will want to do time and time again!
World Heritage Coast
So many delightful coastal resorts and quiet beaches, great cliff walking - with a bus service to get you back to your start point and car .
Awash with history, Lyme Regis is an integral part of Dorset’s famous Jurassic Coast; guided fossil hunting tours are a popular way to discover the rich geological history of the area. Literary history is equally important to Lyme Regis; the unique harbour, known as ‘The Cobb’ was immortalised by John Fowles in his novel ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ and Thomas Hardy set many of his novels in the area.
10 mins away, £2 to park all day, AMAZING! Beautiful town, lovely shops great sea front, and not too busy, highly recommend.
Great memories here! Would love to go back soon
Excellent parking very difficult in good weather but park and ride regular and drops off in good position. Beach very crowded and deckchairs etc. in short supply.
This is a really brilliant bustling seaside town. The thing to be aware of before making the trip is that summertime parking is a challenge. We combat this by getting there early or late. Early means before about tenish, and you're guaranteed easy parking. A late visit for fish and chips on the beach watching the sun go down is brilliant too. The town has great shops to browse, and a huge range of pubs, restaurants and other eateries. There's always something going on, with Lifeboat week in late July being a particularly good event, with a Red Arrows fly by ending the week in style. There's a sandy section for the kids near the cob, but otherwise pebbly. Beach huts line the far end of the beach. You can walk to Charmouth from Lyme Regis and enjoy the amazing fossil hunting along the way.
Okay but not a lot to do there, we walked out on the Cobb which was a little disappointing and wandered around the town.We were going to eat in the Hix restaurant but after searching reviews we decided to give it a miss, the service seemed hit and miss and had some less than complimentary reviews about poor service, quality of food, service charges etc. Seems you might just be paying for a name here rather than service. We do not mind paying for quality food but will not dine at a place that charges and does not back up its costs.There is a cheese shop down one of the side streets (The Town Mill) that has a great variety of cheeses but beware you are not allowed to touch them (even the wrapped & priced ones) you have to stand there looking only and then ask for everything you want to buy!
Dorset seaside town
A sandy beach - rare on this stretch of coast - and if not beach weather always something interesting to do and see. Fossil hunting, mackerel fishing and other boat trips, walking in the French Lieutenant's Woman's steps on the cobb, regular events like the jazz festival, town band performances , excellent range of eating places...
Old fashioned sea-side charm
Lyme is the most beautiful place to visit, whether it is sunny or pouring down with rain. Last time we visited it was a damp cold day in October, but the town still shone. Ideal for families as you can choose from pebble or sandy bits of beach. The cobb is great for grandparents who wish to reminisce about the French Lieutenant's Woman. For those with twenty thousand pounds to spare, you might be able to snap up the odd beach hut! For mums and daughters and anyone else who likes pottering, the shops in the town are delightful with delis, independent bookstores, Joules and White Stuff clothing and quirky giftshops.
..... of camping in a field on school trips. Mini-bus trips in the rain to the beach then the rush to the fudge shop for the best flavours!
Dorset’s answer to the chilli-eating contest. An argument between two local farmers over who had the longest nettles growing on his land led to this macho test of taste buds. Each June, crowds gather at The Bottle Inn to witness the showdown.
Getting busier each year, the Competitors are all given 2” long stalks of nettles and given an hour to eat us many as they can with no other substances to kill the pain allowed except a beer or two. The bare stalks are then measured and the winner is announced. A fun day out and always a must in my calendar.
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