Beloved by the many people who visit every year, Lyme is a quintessential seaside town. Its steep streets of whitewashed houses with pretty cottage gardens, rows of pastel beachhuts, and the Cobb and harbour, give the air of a place untouched over time.
But go back to 1685, and Lyme was a hotbed of civil unrest. It was the starting point for the Monmouth Rebellion – an attempt by Protestants to depose the Catholic King James II that ended less than a month later in defeat at the Battle of Sedgemoor. 12 Lyme rebels were executed and their remains displayed on the church railings. Locals say that this rebellious spirit lives on in the local council, whose fractious proceedings frequently occupy much space in the local paper, but without actual executions!
Visitors don’t need to worry about this troubled past though. The high street is home to a variety of charming family businesses, pubs, bars and cafés; the Marine Theatre is home to a wide variety of live music and theatrical performances; the working watermill is worth a visit; and the promenade is just the place for a walk on a fine evening, watching swimmers, paddleboarders, kayakers and builders of sandcastles all enjoying themselves. Special events to look out for include the Fossil Festival and Jazz Jurassica in the spring, Lifeboat Week, the Regatta and Carnival Week in the summer holidays, and the Folk Festival in early autumn, though there’s always something going on for the holidaymaker. Golf, fishing trips …