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Exploring Mary Anning’s Lyme Regis, what to do & where to eat in the famous fossil town & setting of the film, Ammonite

Francis Lee’s new film starring Kate Winslet as fossil collector Mary Anning is starting to be rolled out at cinemas across the UK so I thought I’d run through my favourite places to eat and drink in the famous fossil town. As a teenager, Lyme Regis was my escape from reality, every summer I’d pack a bag, hop on the train and head south, from my family home in the countryside to my aunts studio in Lyme Regis. She’d introduce me to her friends, take me to parties and set me up with summer jobs in fun shops and galleries. I gradually got to know the place well so here are my recommendations for a perfect Dorset break.

beach on jurassic coast lyme regis
The Jurassic Coast

Sitting alongside crumbling cliffs on a pretty stretch of beach, Lyme Regis is an atmospheric place that instantly transports you back in time. Famous for its fossils found in and around the cliffs spanning the Jurrasic Coast, it’s here Mary Anning made some of her most important discoveries. If unlike Anning, you’re unsuccessful at hunting out fossils for yourself, you can pick up some beautiful ammonites from shops around town, I always like a look around The Lyme Fossil Shop, which almost feels like a museum. 

From the harbour, the view out to sea is dominated by a distinctive wall known as The Cobb, you can watch Meryl Streep’s character walking along it in the film, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, the first film to catapult Lyme’s street scenes to life on the big screen. 

Fuego, on Coombe Street is one of my favourite shops for handcrafts and homeware plus they have a great selection of world music and some fabulous nodding animals sourced by the owner from Central America. Or if you want to take a reminder of Lyme Regis home, The Town Mill features revolving exhibitions with work by local artists, including beautiful seascapes inspired by the Dorset coastline.

For food, The Harbour Inn right on the Harbour front has the best views in town. Serving fresh seafood and good wine, it’s hard to beat, especially if you can nab a table on the balcony. For afternoon tea, I like the Alexandra Hotel, especially if the weather is good and the garden is open. 

bacon and egg croissant at rousdon village bakery lyme regis
Breakfast at Rousdon Village Bakery

Just out of town are a couple of my favourite places to eat, the Rousdon Village Bakery, near Axminster makes freshly baked croissants and pastries every day, and has the best egg and bacon sandwich in the area, while Hive Beach Cafe, a short drive in the opposite direction has a fab beach restaurant that serves incredible fish soup and delicious fresh crab.

crab salad hive beach
Crab salad at Hive Beach

Back in town, The Oyster and Fish House is the only place I go for cocktails. Up and running under a slightly new name, owner Mark Hix uses local suppliers and British seasonal ingredients on his food and drink menus. My favourite tipple, the Black Cow Vodka Martini is mixed with vodka made in West Dorset from the milk of grass grazed cows.

twisted black cow martini oyster and fish house lyme regis
Twisted Black Cow Martini & Temperley Sour at The Oyster and Fish House

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