Spoil yourself and discover Dorset’s sensational West Bay – you can see loads in one day…
What to do in West Bay
West Bay offers a plethora of activities depending on the time of year you visit – remember the coast along south-west England sees wild unpredictable weather.
Hire a canoe, whizz around Lyme Bay in a rib boat, take a fishing trip, just fish from the beach, or indulge in an electric bike tour around the quieter country lanes to explore surrounding enchanting pretty villages. A dip in the chilly sea, a long coastal cliff walk along the Jurassic Coast, and a picnic at the harbour or seaside are free activities for all of the family to enjoy.
The village of West Bay does get busy in the summer months but still is a pleasant spot to explore.
Around 154 kilometres from East Devon to Dorset is renown as England’s Jurassic Coast and you can walk all of this route, should you so desire.
The Jurassic Coast’s geological history spans some 185 million years over the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods.
Chesil Beach was once a hot spot for smugglers during the 18th and 19th centuries when smuggling was referred to as “free trading”.
The soaring burnt-orange cliffs are an intrinsic part of this dramatic rugged coastline, which effortlessly paints a picture of its once unsavoury history.
South West Coast Path
Why not walk some of the South West Coast Path (SW Coast Path) whilst you’re in the Jurassic Park area?
The extensive coastal path hugs some 1,014 kilometres around the south-west of England. The blue line following the coastline in this map by OpenStreetMaps on WikiMediacommons gives you an idea of the path’s expansive distance.
Aafter walking through West Bay and on Chesil Beach’s opposing side, you can continue on the SW Coast Path once more for a contrasting view.
West Bay village
Described as a ‘small harbour settlement and resort town’, West Bay is home to loads of gorgeous quaint historic houses and also offers many National Trust gardens.
The Bridport Arms Hotel provides accommodation as well as hearty meals in its Heritage Listed charming building, still adorned with the traditional rustic thatched roof, which today is an expensive alternative.
Take a stroll along the River Brit, which is much more protected from the seafront’s elements, especially in today’s windy weather.
The West Bay Hotel
Vibrant colours match the 18th-century West Bay Hotel’s vibrant and shady history of smuggling…
This relaxed restaurant and hotel is only a 2-minute-walk from Bridport Harbour, 2 miles from Bridport, and 1 mile from the Bridport & West Dorset Golf Club.
The Customs House
Popular with families, there is always the time when in West Bay for a visit to the Customs House unique emporium.
The Customs Maid Cafe includes dog-friendly indoor and outdoor seating areas whilst you unwind, surrounded by more eclectic memorabilia.
Brimming with trinkets, antiques, and collectables from a bygone era over 3 fabulous floors and enclosed in ancient walls dating back some 200-years, I’m sure you’ll discover something to buy with over 100 traders in this stone building.
Each time I visit, there seems to be an abundance of ever-changing collector’s pieces.
Picturesque manmade Bridport Harbour juts out proudly at the end of ochre-coloured Chesil Beach and interrupts the SW Coastal Path walk for a while.
First built in 1388 the harbour saw many expansions over centuries to accommodate the increasing number of ships and also lucrative trade of rope and nets. And in recent years, additional major redevelopment to accommodate changing wind and sea currents, which previously made the entrance unnavigable.
Today is not the day for swimming. Although it’s summer, the water is still quite cold.
A couple of plaques along the harbour serve as a reminder but also to explain this region’s invaluable part in WWII.
The long trail in the distance you see leading back up the hill in this photo is the other part of today’s long walk. Still part of the SW Coast Path, this section of the path is an amazing hike offering a diverse sweeping panorama.
Where to eat?
Love to try new spots so there’s always time to stop off for a leisurely coffee and delicious cake or savoury, especially after a very long coastal walk.
Today, The Cornish Bakery provides warm and comfy surrounds. Great service from staff and you can enjoy yummy freshly-baked goodies at reasonable prices.
The Station Kitchen
This very funky but vintage-style restaurant lying along the old West Bay train station is worth a mention, if only for its concept and ambience. Unfortunately, discovered this one too late in the day on the way to the car so didn’t stop for food, just a peek.
If you’re not dining in the actual train, then the restaurant itself does have internal and outdoor seating areas.
Where is West Bay?
From the base in Street, Somerset, it’s an easy drive of just over an hour before you arrive at beautiful West Bay, in the scenic county of Dorset.
Parking can be a problem in busy West Bay and of course as with most places in England, it’s paid-parking. Expect to pay £0.50 per hour or £2.00 for the day depending on which car park you use.