The location of attractions is intended only as a guide. Distances are 'as the crow flies'.
This traditional Dorset pub is famous as the home of the World Stinging Nettle Eating Championship. Each June, locals and visitors gather to witness this food eating contest with a difference.
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 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.
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!
Overlooking the fishing port of Lyme Regis and The Cobb, Hix Oyster and Fish House is blessed with uninterrupted views of the Jurassic Coast. Simplicity of food is key here. The very best ingredients are used; make your choice from the blackboard of the day's landings and a small menu of house dishes. Award-winning restaurateur Mark Hix mastered his trade in London restaurants such as The Ivy. Just 45 covers means it is advisable to book.
Hix Oyster and Fish House
We ate at Hix twice during our week at Sea Glympse. The fish was delightful - one of the highlights was the grilled whole fish. Oysters were delicious. Staff very friendly. The first time we ate inside - the weather was not very good - and the second time we had lunch on the terrace and took Dusty our Jack Russell. Dusty was made very welcome and the waiter even brought her a bowl of water without us asking. There was nothing to criticize on either visit. Also, I was readily offered 10% discount when I mentioned that we were staying in a Classic cottage!
Our Wedding Anniversary
Our visit to the HIX Oyster & Fish House proved to be much more than just a lovely Sunday lunch out. Two things struck us as soon as we walked in - Lyme Bay stretching out as far as the eye can see and the truly friendly atmosphere. Everyone was enjoying being there, staff and guests alike. It was very lovely and very unusual to chat naturally with the people sitting at the tables closest to ours. Some guests were local, some had driven for miles to treat a friend, it was our 29th wedding anniversary.
Then came the food - I am not a food critic but am determined to do justice to it! We started with a Hix House Cocktail to set the scene – Somerset cherries soaked in Apple Eau de Vie and topped up with Nyetimber – an English fizz to compete with most Champagnes. For starters my husband had the partridge on Yorkshire toast – yes it IS the Fish House but you can choose a locally reared beef steak too! – and I had deep fried sprats with watercress and caper mayonnaise ( even though we had already had the restaurant’s own smoked salmon with our cocktails ), then the most deliciously creamy House Fish Pie and the most incredible ‘real’ fish fingers on crushed fresh peas with mint. I didn’t know which wine to choose and so gave that responsibility to Assistant Manager Tom Cook who chose a gorgeous soft La Flor, Sauvignon Blanc. My husband, a veteran cider drinker, had Julian Temperley’s Somerset cider – in a lovely ceramic flask made by a local potter – what a great touch. I am afraid that pudding just had to follow – burnt cream with its crispy glazed top and a Hix Fix jelly to bring back the taste of that champagne!
We loved meeting the Chef, Phil, who showed us the kitchens and the KitchenTable where guests can sit to watch the kitchens in full swing and really savour the commitment here. Phil explained that The Fish House has a licence to bring fresh fish straight from the boats in the harbour below to the kitchen. This restaurant really ‘belongs’ there.
The feel-good factor of eating delicious food with a panoramic view of the Jurassic Coast will last for a long time. We had a lovely sunny day but it would be pretty exciting to eat here whilst watching a wild stormy sea battering the historic Cobb.
We will be going back again.... and again !
We had a really enjoyable meal. The location is so beautiful, and every table enjoys the views out over the harbour. Its well worth coming early evening or for lunch so you can really appreciate the views, as as it got dark I felt I was missing out! The food was really special, we had a great spelt rissotto to share. Our starters were delicious, I had a plate of oysters. The champagne cocktails weren't bad either. They offer great lunch deals which I want to try next time. Would go back every week if I could!
Service: Very attentive
Value: Not cheap or bountiful but the quality made it worth every penny!
Ambience: Very pleasant
Situation: Superb views over the sea
Great restaurant and hopefully I will still be able to get a table now it has been voted the 27th best restaurant in the country at the National Restaurant Awards 2010
The Hix Oyster house is a must visit eatery - book a babysitter and get a really good evening out. And don't worry, you don't need to like oysters, but you might be missing a trick if you don't even try just one!
A former Cistercian monastery dating back to the 1100s. The gardens are breathtaking, while inside must-sees include the cloisters and the upper refectory.
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 .
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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