The unspoilt village of Charmouth lies in a valley on the west coast of Dorset just 2 miles from Lyme Regis. Thatched cottages and buildings dating back hundreds of years, mingle with a selection of pubs and shops.
With a permanent population of around 1,500 Charmouth is a thriving village all year round, and boasts a popular primary school, church, pubs and restaurants. There are also a number of gift shops. In the summer months Charmouth boasts a large outdoor market every Monday.
However, the star of Charmouth is the beach. As part of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the ideal family beach with a mix of sand and pebbles, fossils, clean sea, and safe swimming. The naturally eroding cliffs offer unprecedented fossil hunting opportunities, with guided walks provided by the Heritage Centre and local experts.
The Charmouth Heritage Centre is the ideal place to learn about the geology of the area, and the fossils that can be found here. The Heritage Centre has displays and exhibits, and is staffed by volunteers who are always eager to help potential paleontologists.
Charmouth also provides excellent fishing from the beach, and the small promenade. Bass are a particular speciality. There are also boat fishing trips available from nearby Lyme Regis.
Charmouth is not a destination for those looking for an active nightlife, but is an ideal base for those wanting to experience the peace, tranquility and clear skies of the West Dorset Coast. Jane Austen, a frequent visitor to Charmouth in the past, described it as a place of 'high grounds and extensive sweeps of country, and, still more, its sweet retired bay, beached by dark cliffs where fragments of low rock among the sands make it the happiest spot for watching the flow of the tide; for sitting in unwearied contemplation'.
Car parking is available in Lower Sea Lane, and also next to the beach. Both car park areas have public toilets.
In this area of Dorset a car is useful, however, the X51 and X53 buses provide a regular service to Lyme Regis, Axminster and Bridport. Going east the X51 provides a service to the centre of Dorchester. To the west the X53 goes to Exeter, and to the east it provides a spectatular journey along the coast through West Bay and Abbotsbury, past Chesil beach to Weymouth.
Alternatively Floyds Taxis (based in Charmouth) provide a friendly service - tel 01297 560733.
Charmouth has a selection of pubs and restaurants serving lunch and evening meals:
In the centre of the village
Hensleigh House Hotel. A small Charmouth and Lyme Regis Hotel, 300 metres from the Jurassic Beach in the unspoilt village of Charmouth, and 3 minute walk to shops, pubs and restaurants. Hensleigh House has it's own car park and is 2 miles from the centre of Lyme Regis. The 8 comfortable rooms include twins, doubles and two family suites, each with two adjoining bedrooms.