Lyme Regis, 214 kilometres from London and situated in the South West of Dorset, is known as the Jewel of Dorset. And it is not called that for nothing. Lyme Regis is about a thousand years old and very pretty. A World Heritage site, the beaches are known for their fossils. It is also a seaside resort and fishing port.
But its best known landmark is the world-famous Cobb harbour with its magnificent harbour wall which was immortalized in the film The French Lieutenant’s Woman, starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons. If you saw the film, you will remember that she was an outcast, and that iconic, haunting scene when she stand on the harbour wall, in that dark cloak with its hood, gazing disconsolately across the channel in the direction of France where she expects to see the ship bearing her French Lieutenant appearing. As these things often go, the ship does not appear, and the French Lieutenant never arrives.
The man who wrote the novel, John Fowles, lived here in Lyme Regis, and no doubt the town inspired him to set the novel here.
The author Jane Austen stayed in Lyme Regis which, at the time, was fashionable among the wealthy as the waters were said to possess healing qualities. Jane Austin regularly bathed in the ocean and she recreated the town in her novel Persuasion.
But there’s another reason to visit Lyme Regis not related to lovers’ woes: Herbie’s Dino Bar on the Marine Parade, which is, according to London’s top chefs, is one of the best places to enjoy cheap fish chips!
Herbie’s Dino Bar is no more than a modest food kiosk but it suddenly soared to fame when it made it into the Times weekend supplement, not so long ago.
Chef Valentine Warner, star of the BBC’s “What to Eat Now”, called its fish and chips “utterly delicious”.
When you eat your fish and chips, do spare a thought for the French Lieutenant’s Woman, gazing out across the channel, waiting for her lover.