The West Dorset Coast, a World Heritage coastline, stretches from Lyme Regis in the west to Weymouth & Portland in the east, and is a magical mix of coastal nature reserves, cliff top walks, family seaside fun, fossil hunting, award-winning beaches and breathtaking harbours. See what treasures you can find around the fossil rich cliffs and beaches of Lyme Regis and Charmouth or take a walk to the end of Lyme Regis’ famous seawall, The Cobb, which featured in the film, The French Lieutenant’s Woman.
Spectacular cliff top walks are around West Bay and Golden Cap, and iconic landmarks along this coastline include the great sweeping 18 mile long Chesil Beach and the red and white Portland Bill lighthouse on the Isle of Portland. The South West Coast Path hugs the West Dorset Coast, and on foot is definitely the best way to explore the area, taking on exhilarating climbs such as Golden Cap to be rewarded with magnificent views of Lyme Bay and the Jurassic Coast from the top. If you prefer a more leisurely pace, see this spectacular coastline from the water and take one of the many boat trips available from harbours at Weymouth, Lyme Regis and West Bay.
Towns & Villages
Each of the Jurassic gateway towns and villages on the West Dorset coast have their own unique flavours and characters. Bustling Weymouth with its award-winning family beach and pretty old harbour is a favourite for watersports and family seaside holidays whilst Bridport just one mile inland from West Bay on the coast is a centre for local produce and has a vibrant arts and literary scene. Lyme Regis and Charmouth are famous worldwide for their fossil rich cliff coasts flanking beautiful Lyme Bay or stay in Abbotsbury at the western end of Chesil Beach with its swannery and sub-tropical gardens. Don’t miss a tour of Dorset’s most southerly point, the Isle of Portland with its 16th century castle overlooking world class Portland Harbour and its three lighthouses.
World Heritage Jurassic Coast
The Dorset and East Devon Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site extending 95 miles from Exmouth in Devon to Studland in Dorset. This special coastline reveals the story of the earth’s formation spanning 185 million years! You can head off along the South West Coast Path on the West Dorset Coast and see the distinctive features along this stretch of the Heritage Coast including striking golden sandstone cliffs around West Bay and Burton Bradstock, the famous Undercliffs near Lyme Regis and the fossil rich beach at Charmouth.
The towns and villages along the coast are geared up to help you find out more about the coast and the particular sites of interest nearby. Visitor centres and museums like Charmouth Heritage Centre and Lyme Regis Museum display a wealth of fossil finds from the area and offer guided fossil walks. You can also pick up boat trips for a sea level view of the rocks and coastline, and the CoastlinX53 bus provides an excellent service for those without cars and walkers who may want to walk a section of the coastline and get a bus back.