Friday, 18 November 2011 9:32 AM
The Jurassic Coast in West Dorset is a stunning part of Britain to visit and young and old alike will enjoy going on a fossil hunt, learning more about its geological history. One of the best places to stay in the area is the seaside resort of Lyme Regis.
Lyme Regis is home to unspoilt stretches of sand and Cobb Harbour is one of the most famous landmarks in this fishing port. The harbour was built in the 13th century and is one of the many sights you can visit when staying in Lyme Regis cottages.
Literature fans will no doubt enjoy the connections of the town to works such as The French Lieutenant's Woman by local author John Fowler and Persuasion by Jane Austen. However, the amazing Jurassic Coast is perhaps one of the biggest draws for visitors to Lyme Regis.
The landmark stretches across Dorset and East Devon and in December 2001, 95 miles of it was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Rocks dating back to the Mesozoic era – which is comprised of the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous period – can be found here.
Such an interesting geological history means fossil hunting is a popular pastime for those residing in Jurassic Coast holiday cottages in and around Lyme Regis. The beaches across the seaside resort and Charmouth are the best places to hunt for relics and kids will no doubt delight in trying to uncover a little bit of history for themselves.
To make sure you and your family are well-equipped for your Jurassic Coast fossil hunt, it is worth visiting the Lyme Regis Museum. Open all year round, the centre offers activities such as talks with geology experts, rockpooling and fossil hunting should you wish to have a guide with you.
Dinosaurland contains more than 8,000 specimens so you can get an idea of what you should look out for before taking to the shoreline of Lyme Regis on your own fossil hunt.
After a busy day of discovering the coastline, why not relax in a traditional tea room and enjoy a Dorset cream tea? There is also plenty of local seafood to taste, so if you are staying in self-catering holiday cottages, make sure you try some fresh fish in a restaurant or pub – or perhaps visit a fishmonger and create a meal back at your accommodation.
The flexibility that holiday cottages can provide is perfect for holidays in Dorset. Whether you decide to explore Lyme Regis or venture out to other West Dorset towns such as Bridport and Dorchester, you do not have to worry about getting up early enough to eat breakfast, or coming home in time for the evening sitting.
Aside from fossil hunting on them, adults and children are likely to also be keen to enjoy the beaches of Lyme Regis in other ways, should the weather permit this. Cobb Gate and the Front beaches are sandy and flat, whereas Monmouth is quite pebbly.
Relax with a book from Fowles or one that details the town. If your children are keen to continue the hunt for fossils, you should keep in mind that they are not allowed to dig into the cliffs, but collecting fallen or beach material is permitted.
So, for a break that combines stunning Jurassic Coast scenery, fun activities, sandy beaches and a little bit of history, holiday cottages in Lyme Regis should provide everything you are looking for.