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 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.
Take 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 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.
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.
Pecorama, Beer’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 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.
The 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 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.