Things to do in Charmouth

Coastal, Days out, Destinations

Posted by Ellen Drowne on 2nd January 2024

An image of Charmouth taken from the coastline - blue sky, beach and green hills in the background

The charming coastal village of Charmouth is a firm favourite with families and fossil hunters alike. Nestled happily on the Jurassic Coast and within easy reach of another Dorset treasure, Lyme Regis, it promises stunning scenery, fascinating heritage and outdoor adventures to all who visit.

This guide explores some of our favourite things to do in Charmouth, from searching for fossils on Charmouth Beach to braving a treetop high ropes course. Whether you’re on holiday with the family, enjoying a romantic getaway with that special someone, or grabbing a few days away with friends, there is something for everyone.

The same could be said of our collection of Charmouth holiday cottages. We’re confident that you’ll find the ideal property for you among our fine selection – dog-friendly cottages, hot tub hideaways, large properties and family-friendly retreats; there are so many to choose from!

Cottages in Charmouth

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Looking across Charmouth Beach, people walking along the shore. Dramatic cliffs and cloudy sky gives the scene a sense of theatre

Spend the day on Charmouth Beach

Charmouth is just one of many beautiful beaches in Dorset. Comprising the East and West beaches and a central section in front of the heritage centre, this is a gorgeous beach for all the family to enjoy. It’s made up of shingle and sand (especially at low tide) and is a mecca for fossil hunters. The quirky beach huts found fame in the popular TV series Broadchurch. If you're on holiday with your dog, then East Beach is recommended, as it allows dogs off the lead all year round. They aren't allowed on West Beach between 1 May and 30 September. You might also be interested in other dog-friendly Dorset beaches

An artists' impression of what an ichthyosaur looked like swimming in the sea

Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre

Not only is the Heritage Coast Centre home to some spectacular collections and displays, including the awesome ichthyosaur that starred in a BBC documentary, but it also provides a wealth of information on fossils and the art of fossil hunting. You can learn about the local coastal and marine wildlife and watch a short film in the Jurassic Theatre. As if that wasn’t enough, the centre also runs events including fossil hunting walks and beach cleans.

Fossil montage: a young girl fossil hunting on Charmouth Beach and two examples of ammonite fossils

Charmouth fossil hunting

The Jurassic Coast is world-renowned for its fossils, and the most common types found in the Charmouth area are ammonites and belemnites. One of the best ways to learn all about Charmouth’s rich fossil heritage is to go on a guided walk run by the Heritage Coast Centre. You’ll be given tips and tricks on what to look out for and you will get to keep whatever you find.

Golden Gap pictured from the shoreline and a couple of walkers headed across Golden Cap

Golden Cap Estate

Trekking to Golden Cap, the highest point on the South West coast, is as rewarding as it is exhilarating. On a good day, you can see across Lyme Bay to Dartmoor. Pick up the trail at Langdon Hill or Stonebarrow Hill, where there is a coffee trailer and toilets. There are National Trust car parks at both starting points. Alongside the walks, which allow you to experience the natural splendour of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, there are several trails to entertain the kids, including a smugglers’ trail, as well as den building. The circular Langdon Woods walk is pushchair friendly, while mobility trampers are available to hire at Stonebarrow, so everyone can enjoy this spectacular section of coastline.

Looking out across the Dorset countryside from Lambert's Castle

Visit Lambert’s Castle and Coney Castle

Another National Trust site well worth a visit combines two ancient hillforts – Lambert’s Castle and Coney’s Castle. It’s easy to tour both as they are only a mile apart. Savour the breathtaking views across Marshwood Vale, perhaps contemplating how the landscape has changed (or not) since the hillforts were built more than 2,000 years ago. Keep an eye out for majestic buzzards and kestrels swooping around the area. The woodland at Coney’s Castle is a prime picnic spot and in the spring, the forest floor is carpeted with bluebells.

A young girl on a zip wire in a forest

The Tunnel Tree Tops High Ropes

For a fun-filled adventure in Dorset, head to Tunnel Tree Tops High Ropes. It’s an awesome high ropes and zip wire course in The Tunnel woodland on the outskirts of Charmouth. You’ll climb to a height of 25’ to reach the circular route, and the final zip wire will bring you back down to earth safely. It’s guaranteed to get the adrenaline pumping as you negotiate obstacles including wobbly wires and floating logs. While this is a family-friendly activity, please bear in mind that participants must be at least six years old and no shorter than 3’9”.  

View of a Lyme Regis beach and surrounding coastline from a hillside garden

Take a day trip to Lyme Regis

Just 3 miles from Charmouth is the popular coastal resort of Lyme Regis – another Dorset location fossil hunters will be familiar with. Being so close, visiting the town is worthy of a spot on our things to do in Charmouth list. Whether you choose to drive, walk via the South West Coast Path, or hop on a bus, you’ll be glad you did. Lyme Regis has a gorgeous beach (one of four) where you can relax the day away and a picturesque harbour to stroll around, as well as an abundance of pubs and eateries to suit all tastes. Be sure to visit the town’s museum or browse the range of shops on offer.

Pair of feet walking along a track in the grass on a sunny day

Walk along the River Char to Whitchurch Canonicorum

Charmouth lies, as its name suggests, at the mouth of the River Char, so what better way to celebrate the bucolic beauty of the area than a riverside walk? Destination: Whitchurch Canonicorum, some 2 miles away. This petite village is known as the Capital of Marshwood Vale and is steeped in history. Its church, the Church of St Candida and Holy Cross aka ‘the Cathedral of the Vale’, houses a 13th-century shrine containing the relics of its patron Saint, St Wite (St Candida in Latin). The shrine is particularly special as it was one of just two to survive the Reformation, alongside that of Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey.

Stay in Charmouth

And there you have it – our whistlestop tour of things to do in Charmouth has come to an end. If you’re feeling inspired to explore these suggestions for yourself, then book one of our holiday cottages in Charmouth and rest easy knowing you have the perfect base for your Dorset adventure. If after booking a cottage in the village, you need some foodie inspiration to enhance your visit, then check out our recent guide to eating out in Charmouth

Charmouth holiday cottages

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.