It’s not hard to see why this picturesque harbour town in the far west of Dorset was Jane Austen’s favourite. Spilling down a steep hillside to the sea, and bisected by winding streams and hidden alleyways, its interesting mix of architecture ia a jumble of tiny terraced fishermen’s cottages, thatched houses and vast elegant Victorian and Regency villas. Even out of season, it’s a lively bustling place, popular with fossil-hunters scouring the coastline beneath the towering sandstone cliffs, families playing on the sandy beach, fishermen casting off from the harbour walls, and couples browsing the delis, art galleries and gift shops of the old town. As Jane Austen herself said, it would be “a very strange stranger…who does not see charms in the immediate environs of Lyme to make him know it better”.
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