One of the gateways to the Jurassic Coast, Charmouth is much loved by families for its sandy beaches and river, just perfect for a day’s paddling, swimming and exploring rock pools. An added advantage is the huge beach carpark, which means you don’t have a long walk at the end of the day with tired toddlers!
The Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre, only a short walk from the car park, is well worth a visit if you have any budding fossil-collectors in your party. There are some amazing specimens on show as well as lots of information on what you might find on the shore. Entry is free, and the Centre runs a programme of fossil walks and rock pool rambles that you can join to find out more.
The South West Coast Path runs along the cliffs here, affording spectacular views of the local coast, including Golden Cap, one of the highest points on the Channel; and there are lots of inland paths through the lovely countryside to explore as well. Lyme Regis is just a half-hour walk along the shore at low tide – check here to make sure you get the timing right and remember to keep away from the base of the cliffs, which can be unstable even in dry weather. Safe and happy fossil-collecting!