One of the reasons why Sidmouth is so beloved is because of those iconic red cliffs that line the coast. Both Sidmouth town beach and Jacob’s Ladder beach form part of the Jurassic Coast, which stretches from nearby Exmouth through to Dorset.
The Jurassic Coast is 95 miles in length and is recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, making it one of Britain’s most iconic sites. As you travel along the coastline, you’ll notice a change in the colour of the rocks, which indicates their age – not rock formations aren’t just from the Jurassic but from the Triassic and Cretaceous too, altogether spanning around 185 million years.
This summer why not explore the Jurassic Coast from Sidmouth? With plenty of places to stay and eateries serving incredible local food and drink, Sidmouth is a great base for exploring this unique and fascinating section of coast. Here are some of the destinations along the Jurassic Coast you can explore from Sidmouth.
10.4 miles | 28 mins by car | 1 hour by bus | 1 hour by bike
Exmouth is known as the western gateway to the Jurassic Coast and, much like Sidmouth, has been a popular seaside resort since the Regency period. The beach features 2 miles of golden sand and, as is typical for the shore along this part of the coast, you’ll find plenty of rock pools and coastal walks, as well as a chance to enjoy a variety of watersports.
The Exe Estuary which forms part of the bank at Exmouth is a beautiful place to visit and features a nature reserve which is famous for its birdlife.
You can find regular buses between Sidmouth and Exmouth and the town does have a train station if you’re visiting from elsewhere.
9.6 miles | 25 mins by car | 33 mins by bus | 1 hour by bike
If you’re visiting the Jurassic Coast because you’re interested in the region’s geology, Seaton is a must visit destination. Not only do you have the coastline and the Undercliffs Reserve but there is also a Seaton Labyrinth and Geological Timeline, where you can explore the whole history of the town.
While there, also make a point of visiting the Seaton Wetlands, which is free to enter and is a haven for wildlife. The Jurassic Coast bus service runs through Seaton and there is a train station in nearby Axminster where you can catch a bus on to Seaton.
6.4 miles | 18 mins by car | 43 mins by bus | 46 mins by bike
This historic town sits between Exmouth and Sidmouth and is where you can see some of the most vibrant of the red cliffs marking this part of the coastline as being Triassic. The beach is famous for its pebbles, which are unique to this part of the world. If you make a trip, be sure to leave the pebbles behind, like most of the places along the Jurassic Coast, it is illegal to remove any pebbles or fossils you might find!
There are regular buses through to Budleigh from Sidmouth and there is a connecting bus service from Exmouth station.
9.8 miles | 28 mins by car | 1.15 hours by bus | 1 hours by bike
If you get to the quaint village of Beer, you might notice that the cliffs are a much more chalky white colour than elsewhere along the coast. This part of the coast is much younger than the red cliffs elsewhere in Devon.
The white cliffs aren’t the only famous rocks you can discover while in Beer, the stone from Beer Quarry Caves has been used all over the UK to create some of our most iconic buildings including St Paul’s Cathedral, Exeter Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London.
Beer is a great place for anyone who wants to explore the South West Coast Path, the pathway from Beer will take you in to Branscombe to the west and the Hooken Undercliff and Seaton to the east.
15.8 miles | 30 mins by car | 1.17 hour by bus | 1.40 hours by bike
Lyme Regis in Dorset is probably the most famous of the towns along the Jurassic Coast thanks to its former resident, Mary Anning, who discovered a number of fossils on the beach. Her home is now the base of the town’s museum where you can learn more about the Jurassic Coast and some of the dinosaurs that once roamed this part of the world. In fact, there is a regular fossil festival where visitors can learn even more!
This town is in the heart of the Jurassic Coast and has a fascinating history which can be dated all the way back to the 8th century, giving you plenty to explore.
19.6 miles | 36 mins by car | 2 hours by bus | 2 hours by bikes
If you’re coming to the Jurassic Coast for a spot of fossil hunting, Charmouth, along with Lyme Regis are the best places to go. The large shingle beach has a host of fossils and every time you visit, you’ll find something new.
This is also a great spot for walkers and you can connect to the towns of East Devon via the South West Coast Path which runs through it.
As well as being full of fascinating towns and villages, there are a number of landmarks to explore around the Jurassic Coast too. The closest of these to Sidmouth is Ladram Bay, which is just over 4 miles away from the town centre. You can reach Ladram Bay by car in around 14 minutes or you could walk it in an hour.
Ladram Bay is a beautiful place to visit, it has unique columns of red sandstone that stand in the ocean and there are loads of walking and cycling routes, as well as a popular holiday resort. One of the best ways to get to the bay is by following the South West Coast Path from Sidmouth, which will also link you on to Budleigh Salterton.
Feeling inspired to explore the Jurassic Coast this summer? Sidmouth is a great base for your adventure. You can find places to stay here.