Our cottage is just moments away from picturesque West Bay harbour, full of fishing boats and pleasure crafts.
Two beautiful beaches are either side of the harbour. They are a mixture of pebbles, fine shingle and sand near to the water’s edge. The golden sandstone East Cliff is one of the most iconic landmarks of the Jurassic Coast. Millions of viewers saw the towering cliffs when West Bay provided the setting for the television drama series Broadchurch.
West Bay sits at the mouth of the River Brit which winds down from Bridport and meets the coast at the harbour.
Things To Do
With the harbour, river, beaches and Lyme Bay, West Bay is the perfect spot for seaside and water-based activities.
Both East and West Beach feature in the Beach Guide and West Beach is Marine Conservation Society recommended. West Beach has a lifeguard service during the summer holiday season.
From the harbour you can go on a sightseeing boat cruise to take in views of the Jurassic Coast. If you are lucky you may also see a pod of dolphins or a seal. Lyme Bay RIB Charter offer a quick fun blast on a RIB boat. You can also have a water skiing or wake boarding lesson with them, or a tow if you ski or board already.
Families can try their hand at crabbing from the harbour walls. Sea anglers have the opportunity to fish from the piers and beaches or go out on fishing trips and charters.
A water sport gaining in popularity is standup paddle boarding. If you are after lessons or hiring gear then first stop is Bay Paddle Boarding. The sea is often calm enough to go out on a paddle board, giving you a great view of the cliffs. My husband was lucky enough to be joined by a pop of porpoises when he’d gone out one morning on a board from West Beach. If the sea does become rocky you can paddle up to Bridport on the River Brit through the fields and farms. Alternatively you can take to the River Brit in a rowing boat or on a guided canoe trip through the riverside meadows.Back on land you can enjoy countryside and coastal walks. The South West Coast Path runs east and west from West Bay.
If you have room to pack your golf clubs there is an 18 hole course situated on East Cliff. Visitors are welcome unless there is a club match or competition. Get in touch first or book a tee time online.
Families of all ages love the rope themed play area situated in the car park as you enter West Bay. The caravan park nearby has an indoor swimming pool with a flume slide, open to the general public (check this before you go as it’s not all the time). There are a couple of amusement arcades too.
West Bay has a calendar of family-friendly annual events starting with Pirates Day in late May with pirate themed games and activities.
In June there is a vintage tractor rally. West Bay hosts powerboat racing off the coast for a weekend in the middle of July. At the end of the month you can go and watch homemade rafts race down the River Brit. A funfair visits every year during the summer holidays.
In early August West Bay Day celebrates its heritage with music, displays, games and stalls plus food and drink. On Bridport Carnival weekend the torchlit procession concludes with a spectacular firewood display on East Beach. West Bay also hosts the Melplash Show where you can watch countryside displays and buy local produce. At the end of the month you can see an air-sea search and rescue display during the RNLI Fun Day.
On the last Saturday in October head to the beach for a Bonfire Night with fireworks. Near Christmas you can join in a celebration with brass band, carols, free refreshments and a visit from Father Christmas before the lighting up of the Christmas tree on Harbour Green. On Boxing Day wrap up warm to watch the chilly West Bay Wallow when participants swim in the outer harbour.
West Bay shops include a fishmongers, a fishing tackle shop, a couple of small convenience stores, an art gallery and a newsagents.
You can wander around The Customs House where the courtyard and old building is filled with an Aladdin’s cave of stalls selling an eclectic mix of antiques, vintage, arts and crafts, old and new. It also has a café and visiting market stalls at the weekend.
On Sundays, from March to December, you can potter around a car boot sale in West Bay Road car park.
West Bay’s history is revealed in the stone-walled warehouses where the rope and nets made in Bridport were stored before being shipped out. Sladers Yard is one of the few relatively unaltered Georgian warehouses. It still has its pulley wheel in the attic and a list of nets is written on one of the walls. Now a art gallery, it exhibits and sells contemporary British art, very lovely and expensive handmade furniture designed by local craftsman Petter Southall and designer craft by leading artists, designers and makers. Downstairs you can eat locally produced lunches, snacks and cakes in the gorgeous rustic café.
Food and Drink
For suggestions of places to eat and drink in West Bay please visit our Fantastic Food and Drink page.