I am a city girl through and through, much to my father’s disappointment. Take me out of London too long and I go a bit stir-crazy. Replace the buzz and bustle with calm tranquility and I won’t thank you for long. Nevertheless it is refreshing to get out of the smog on occasion, and partly because of this, and partly due to my own increasing irreverence with the meals I cooked myself (I can never convince myself to cook something decent when it’s just me) I went down to Lyme Regis with the rest of my family last week. Just for the week, though, that was sufficient.

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For those of you that don’t know, Lyme Regis is a seaside town in Dorset, near the border to Devon. It’s one of those charming little places that gets absolutely swarmed upon the moment the sun peaks itself out of the clouds. I’ve heard a lot about those seaside towns in Europe where the population in the summer months balloons to sometimes 500% of the population in winter time, but in Lyme Regis it’s slightly different. Yes, the summertime population is markedly larger than in the winter, but the main difference I noticed was the discrepancy between the daytime population and the night-time one, as thousands of people packed up and left as the sun descended. We walked along the front, dotted with gorgeous pastel beach shacks, on a sunny afternoon surrounded on all sides, but when we went out to dinner later the restaurant was sparsely inhabited and we saw barely a soul on our walk back via the same route.

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But all the people flocking day by day can’t be wrong, and Lyme Regis does have a lot to offer. There are two beaches, one of which is a pebbly au naturel for dogs, and another that has been artificially enhanced by imported sand. Some may think this is slightly unnecessary, after all people come to Lyme Regis for the experience of the British seaside, so why should the tourist board feel the pressure to confirm to idyllic Mediterranean standards, but I can understand the modification. The walkway along the beach is dotted with pubs, food shacks and more ice cream than even the most enthusiastic of toddlers could consume in a year. Moving inland to the town itself, despite heavy levels of tourism it has remained largely stalwart in its small-town charm, and I hope it continues to do so, despite the recent secession to acquiring a Costa. Please, though, no McDonald’s. I can deal with the invasion of Costa’s burgundy-red and white, but the garish yellow and red would be too much for this town to cope with. I like my cities to be cities, and my seaside towns to retain integrity. So while I don’t think I will ever connect with Lyme Regis the way I do with my own hometown, the glorious, effervescent and ever-changing London, sometimes it is good to have a getaway, a bolt-hole, an escape. As long as my return journey’s booked.

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