Why go now?
With the film Jurassic World opening last week, the UK’s own Jurassic Coast is an obvious place to visit. The 95-mile stretch between Exmouth in Devon and Studland in Dorset is crying out “it’s-about-time-you-came-and-saurus!”. T-rexs are thin on the ground, but Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre boasts a life-size cast of the most complete dinosaur skeleton ever found in the UK – a plant-eater called a scelidosaurus (which disappointingly looks a bit like a run-over cat). Charmouth beach is considered the best and safest place for fossil hunting, but visitors need to follow strict rules about collecting fossils – do not pack your pneumatic drill. Dorset County Museum in Dorchester boasts the world’s biggest bite – a terrifying pliosaur skull. To see dinosaur footprints, plod to the Swanage Museum and Heritage Centre. Lyme Regis Museum has fossils aplenty and runs fossil-hunting walks.
What about more Holocene-era pursuits? (That’s now, by the way)
Bridport and Lyme Regis for shopping streets plus a wealth of seafood places for ravenous omnivores. For glamorous drinks, head to Dorset’s trendy Pig on the Beach hotel in Studland Bay or the Seaside Boarding House in Burton Bradstock. Active types could tackle Kimmeridge Bay’s snorkelling trail, to check out interesting seabed habitats.
Anywhere to stay under £100 a night?
Bargain rooms are available at the new Hix Townhousein Lyme Regis, as two rooms have not yet been made over by famous chef Mark Hix. These cost £85 and £95, rather than £120-£165 for the revamped ones. At the other end of the coast, the B+B Weymouth costs £70 a night for minimalist rooms.
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