Family Days Out In East Devon

Family Days Out In East Devon

Lyme Regis is in Dorset on the border with East Devon. Here’s some family-friendly things to do over the border, all under 40 minutes drive from our cottage.

Seaton

Seaton is the first town on the coast in East Devon as you head west from Lyme Regis. It’s perhaps not as attractive as its coastal neighbours (they have set the bar high) but there are several attractions to visit in the vicinity.

Seaton Jurassic Visitor Centre opened in 2016. Visitors get to travel back 200 million years aboard their time-ship! Seaton was underwater during the Jurassic period so there is lots about prehistoric sea creatures and their evolution. It’s very interactive and children get an explorer’s passport, answer questions and collect stamps.

Seaton TramwayTake a trip on Seaton Tramway, a narrow gauge heritage tram which travels three miles through the Seaton Marsh and Colyford Common Local Nature Reserves in the Axe Valley. It is one of Devon’s major tourist attractions carrying over 100,000 passengers a year and offers a unique way to travel along the Axe estuary.

Seaton Wetlands Nature ReserveSeaton Wetlands Nature Reserve stretches from the estuary at Axmouth to the village of Colyford. Nearly 4km of level trails and boardwalk through beautiful marshland and reed beds alongside the river Axe, home to an abundance of wildlife.

Beer

Who wouldn’t want to visit a place called Beer? Beer is a pretty village with a small fleet of working fishing boats, a shingle beach and surrounding picturesque white limestone cliffs.

PecoramaPecoramaBeer’s miniature railway and gardens theme park, stands above the village of Beer, high on the hillside overlooking the sea. It’s suitable for families, garden lovers and model railway enthusiasts. You get to ride a miniature train on the Beer Heights Light Railway. There are several play areas for children. All three generations of our family had fun on the zip wire when we visited.

Beer Quarry Caves are a vast man-made complex of underground caverns created by centuries of quarrying the famous Beer Stone, used to build St Paul’s, Westminster Abbey and Windsor Castle. Guides give you an hour long tour of this vast complex of underground caverns. It’s a good trip on a wet day as it doesn’t matter what the weather is like when you are down there. Open March until the end of September.

Sidmouth

Sidmouth is a seaside town that nestles beneath red cliffs and the green hills of the glorious Sid Valley. Jacob’s Ladder is the sandy, western end of Sidmouth’s town beach, which is mostly pebble. There’s plenty of rock pools.

Donkeys in Sanctuary ShopThe Donkey Sanctuary is near Sidmouth on the A3052 with hundreds of donkeys. You can meet the main yard donkeys or spot them in the fields. When we went it was such a foggy day you couldn’t see the donkeys in the fields! A new restaurant recently opened. Admission is free.

Here’s a coast path walking route, starting in the car park in Weston near Sidmouth, that will allow you to take a well-deserved rest at the sanctuary and meet the friendly donkeys!

Inland in East Devon

Visit Forde AbbeyForde Abbey, an historic house and gardens. The impressive building, originally a Cistercian monastery,  dates back 800 years. Star of the show is the beautiful grounds and gardens with a spectacular fountain. Children are encouraged to explore every corner following a letter box trail around the garden. In summer you can go fruit picking. There is a cafe there too.

We didn’t find the market town of Axminster memorable when we visited but did enjoy lunch at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Axminster. It gets busy so best to book.

If you’ve read all this and haven’t yet booked accommodation for your trip to the area, we’d love to welcome you to West Bay Cottage. Take a look inside the cottage if you wish, or head to our Book With Us page for availability, the rates and how to book.

Inspiration For Your Romantic Break

Romantic break

Do you want to whisk someone off on a fabulous romantic break? West Dorset is a perfect destination. Perhaps some of these ideas will inspire your romantic escape to our cottage for that special getaway!

  • Enjoy a countryside walk and the dreamy scenery of gentle rolling hills.
  • Stroll around the harbour together with an ice cream or a bag of chips.
  • Simply take to the South West Coast Path and gaze at the beautiful coastline.
  • Feast your eyes on the blanket of bluebells across Eype Down in late spring.
  • Enjoy an afternoon cream tea at Downhouse Farm or The Seaside Boarding House.
  • Visit Bridport on a Saturday where you can meander all morning perusing the market, record and book shops, cool cafés, antique and craft stores.
  • Walk along a beach holding hands.
  • Pack a picnic and head to a scenic spot, perhaps Hardy’s Monument, St Catherine’s Chapel or a local beach.
  • Fly a kite on Eggerton Hill.
  • Tour a vineyard and enjoy a tasting at Furleigh Estate, a vineyard and winery.
  • Set off in a rowing boat and take in the glorious scenery while drifting along the River Brit.
  • Walk through the woods on Langdon Hill.
  • Enjoy a distillery tour, vodka cocktails and lunch at the Black Cow Distillery.
  • Take to the skies on a champagne balloon flight.
  • Take a portable barbecue and supplies to a secluded beach for an evening supper.
  • Head to Bridport early evening for a movie or a show at the art deco Electric Palace.
  • Get yourselves down to the pier at dusk, look towards Lyme and watch the sun sinking over the sea. You may be rewarded with a beautiful sunset.
  • Enjoy a candlelit meal in one of West Bay’s restaurants or pubs.
  • Make the most of Dorset’s dark sky and gaze at the stars together.
  • Snuggle in front of the wood burner in the cottage.

Feeling the love? So why not channel your inner Bridget Jones and visit West Dorset for a Full-Blown Mini-Break Holiday Weekend, or stay longer and explore all that the area has to offer. If you haven’t yet booked accommodation we’d love to welcome you to West Bay Cottage. Take a look inside the cottage, or head to our Book With Us page for availability, the rates and how to book.

Watching The Bees

Saints v Bees

For only the second time in history, the first being exactly 60 years ago, Bridport Town FC made it into the third round of the FA Cup qualifiers.

They were drawn against St Albans City, three divisions above them. St Albans is my home town so I went along to watch. Having never seen the Bees before I was a little disappointed to see they were wearing red kits rather than black and yellow stripes! Thinking my loyalties might be torn, I found myself supporting Bridport. I do like an underdog and they needed all the support they could get!

And the match? In the first half Bridport went down two goals but rallied in the second half to bring it back to 2-1. The last 10 minutes or so was all pressure by the Bees. The St Albans crowd was visibly anxious. But Bridport just couldn’t get that equaliser and the match finished 2-1 to Saints. Good effort though.