Dorset. I can’t say this word without conjuring up images of Middle-Earth, with Froddo and his friend Sam hobbiting around the Shire.
So, it was no surprise when I found out that J.R.R Tolkien, who wrote the Lord of the Rings, was a frequent visitor to Lyme Regis and Dorset, lived in nearby Poole and died in Bournemouth.
Dorset, a popular location!
Dorset is one of the most photographed destinations in the UK and I can see why! Although I have never spent much time in the county, we drive through it often on our way from Sussex to Cornwall and the landscape and coast is rugged and dramatic.
Along the dreaded A35 (if you know, you know) you’ll find yourself winding through extremely picturesque villages with plenty of thatched cottages dotted about and roads climbing steep hills up over the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site.
The Dorset coast runs from the east of Bournemouth on the Hampshire border, down to the west of Lyme Regis where it meets Devon.
Along this glorious coastline you will find the famous Durdle Door, beautiful sandy beaches at Lulworth Cove and Bournemouth and Poole harbour, the world’s second largest natural harbour.
So, when Mila and Matt contacted me asking if I would like to stay in Brook Cottage, nestled in the seaside town of Lyme Regis in Dorset, I jumped at the chance.
We’d been meaning to get down to Lyme Regis for years, my son’s obsession with dinosaurs and fossils meant the Jurassic coast was the perfect place for us to go and explore.
We headed down to Dorset early on a Saturday morning and after navigating the very narrow lanes of Lyme Regis, we arrived at Brook Cottage.
This is no ordinary park up and walk inside kind of cottage though! Due to its location, you can’t park directly outside the property.
Brook Cottage is located next to The Lynch, right alongside the River Lym. There is a footpath running high alongside the river to your right and a watercourse that feeds the Town Mill on the left.
Brook Cottage’s unique position means it has its own little bridge over the watercourse and therefore, you have to park your car up by Gosling Bridge, unload and then park nearby.
You make your way along the Lynch, over the little bridge and through the gate to Brook Cottage. Immediately you are greeted with a gravelled courtyard garden with pathing stones leading up to the front door.
The property itself is semi-detached and very secluded, with only the sound of the river rushing towards the sea nearby, which is merely a 5-minute walk. You would be forgiven for thinking that this cottage is set in a rural Dorset location but it is right in the heart of Lyme Regis.
The cottage itself was constructed in the 1930s and has been renovated to an extremely high standard, using very on-trend colours and upcycling and repurposing furniture.
As you walk in the front door, the stairs lead up to 3 bedrooms and to the left is the door to the lounge. This was my favourite room in the house. It has a large bay window which floods the room with light.
The fireplace has been lovingly restored with a beautiful wooden mantelpiece and the floorboards have been painted white to give it a fresh and airy look.
The walls have been painted in an exquisite green (Dulux Heritage – Waxed Khaki), with a large jute rug, upcycled furniture and plenty of throws and cushions.
I love green in the living room, it has a calming effect and has the ability to envelope you making it extremely cosy. I wrote about using green in your home here.
Carrying on through the lounge, you walk into a large kitchen diner with all the mod cons including a washing machine, fridge and freezer.
The kitchen is painted in Farrow & Ball – Ammonite, which is very apt for the cottage seeing as this colour was named after the treasured fossils found on the Dorset coast!
In the centre sits a dining table with enough room for 5 people.
At the end of the cottage is a separate shower room and toilet and a door leading out towards a small court yard.
Heading upstairs, there are 2 generous sized double bedrooms, with an en-suite toilet and sink leading off one and a single bedroom which have all been beautifully decorated.
I adored the colour schemes Mila and Matt used throughout the cottage, using my favourite shades of green, pink and blue which flowed seamlessly throughout the house.
Going back outside the property, there is a south facing garden to the front surrounded by beautiful shrubs and plants. It is the perfect place to sit with a cuppa or a glass of wine after a day at the beach.
Lyme Regis – Things to do
With our suitcases dropped off, we decided to head straight into town. It was hard to leave the beautiful surroundings of the cottage but after a 3-hour drive with 2 kids in tow, we knew it was time to take them for walkies around our Dorset surroundings!
Lyme Regis is an ancient town featured in the Domesday Book, surrounded by breath-taking Dorset scenery and several historical landmarks. It is considered the home of palaeontology, where Mary Anning discovered a complete ichthyosaur fossil when she was just 12 years old.
It is no surprise that Lyme Regis is the perfect place to go fossil hunting, so we headed straight to the museum and beach to find out more.
There is also an Aquarium at the end of The Cobb and Dinosaurland Fossil museum to explore but unfortunately both were shut when we went to visit (I need to get better at planning trips away! I’ve always been so jazz hands about it. Haha!)
Lyme Regis is also surrounded by some of the best beaches in Dorset. There is the main beach – Town Beach – which Lyme Regis town centre is built around. The beach is mainly pebble, but at the Cobb end, there is sand which is perfect for families and swimming.
If you go past The Cobb, Monmouth beach extends to over a kilometre southwest and has plenty of holiday chalets, beach huts and bowling green. Charmouth Beach is also only a few miles down the road.
The Cobb and Harbour
The harbour and wall protecting it is called The Cobb and has been here in some shape or form since 1313, protecting the town and beaches.
Lyme Regis would not exist in its present form without this sea defence and stops the eastward movement of shingle, likely burying the town.
It is an old stone pier which curves 265 metres out into the sea and gently slopes from the harbour out into the ocean. It is not for the faint hearted who dare walk along the top!
There are plenty of coastal paths, gardens and parks to visit whilst in Lyme Regis, just be prepared to walk up some very steep hills!
We particularly enjoyed Longmoor and Lister Gardens with its stunning views over Lyme Regis and the Dorset coast and featuring contemporary sculptures by local artists.
Lyme regis is full of wonderful independent cafes, restaurants and bars, you are really spoilt for choice. Brook Cottage is right next to a delightful little area surrounding the Town Mill.
Lyme Regis is just as pretty at night, so if you are going out to dinner, give yourself plenty of time to wonder the streets and take it all in. There are plenty of fabulous restaurants to choose from including –
Mark Hix’s The Oyster and Fish House (book in advance! We couldn’t get a table)
We adored our stay in Lyme Regis. It is a town full of history, dramatic landscapes, restaurants and bars to suit all and beaches to go fossil hunting.
Brook Cottage is the perfect place to stay when visiting the town and the surrounding Dorset countryside. It’s beautiful and thoughtful décor and furnishings make staying in just as enjoyable as going out.