The next morning at the Hix Townhouse, I woke to the sound of faint knocking at the door – breakfast had arrived!
Breakfast came in a picnic box with freshly baked muffins, cheese pastries, fresh juice, yoghurts (one of which was salted caramel and I’m down for anything and everything salted caramel) and muesli.
After breakfast, we headed out to the beach – Charmouth Beach, not to soak up the sunshine but instead to find ourselves some fossils!
See on this beach (and along the coast), people have found all sorts of amazing fossils, from dinosaur bones to ammonites – a huge part of why the Jurassic Coast is such an interesting and important part of England – and I was hoping to find myself a huge T-Rex… or a Velociraptor… or perhaps even a triceratops (I wasn’t too fussy, as long as my find made the cover of National Geographic 😄).
Truth be told, you’re not the first person here so chances are those kinds of find are probably harder but as it turns out, not impossible. Typically, the waves batter these shores, breaking down the cliffs and revealing many fossils in their wake. And we’re talking fossils that are 190 million years old!
Our fossil hunting was organised with Jurassic Coast Guides (see more deets here) and although initially, I had no idea why we would need an official guide (Lloyd knew why – he was totally geeking out over the idea of finding fossils, even more so than I was and I was SUPER excited by the possibility of it), it turns out that having a guide helps a fair bit!
A large part of why this is so is because you have literally no idea what you’re looking for the first time you do it. Obviously, over time your knowledge improves but at the start it’s so much trickier to know what’s important and what is just a piece of oddly shaped/coloured rock.
You start off your fossil hunt with a ‘class’ (so to speak) showing you what to look for – ammonites, belemnites, crinoids and even fossilised dinosaur poop are pretty good ones (and fairly easy to find). People do also find bones (like the Ichthyosaurus found the week before we arrived) so it’s important to keep your eye peeled.
Once we got on the beach, time flew by so quickly as we hunted for our very own fossils.
(*Sidebar: Be careful which part of the beach you go to and stay away from the cliff edges – that stuff can come crashing down near the edges so it’s a real hazard)
We actually ended finding ammonites, belemnites and crinoids (Yay! Incredible to think that stuff is over 100 million years old) and boy was I chuffed! 😀
On the way back to the car park, it’s worth popping into the shops where you can see an actual Ichthyosaur found in 2000 after a cliff fall. That thing is massive! Also, if you pop upstairs you can find even more dinosaur fossils found around the area.
Pleased with our find (though thoroughly intent to come back again and do even better), we headed off to the Watch House Café on West Bay for a celebratory lunch!
We started off with a seafood platter (which was so much bigger than I thought it would be), followed by fish bites and proper fish and chips! Suffice to say, I ended up over-eating at lunch but when the food’s as good as it is here, I had no regrets!
West Bay, by the way, is another spot I’d wanted to visit for quite some time – especially for its dramatic sheer cliffs, made popular by the British TV show, Broadchurch.
I haven’t actually seen Broadchurch. I knew it was a thing when everyone was watching it on TV and I know the reviews for it are amazing but I just haven’t gotten round to seeing it.
Despite this though, I’d heard about this amazing English gem and just knew I had do check it out. This, of course, made for the perfect excuse to walk off my overindulgence at lunch (I actually ended up having a trifle as well as everything else because…well, dessert!)
After we left West Bay, my gluttony over lunch caught up with me as I fell promptly asleep in front of the fireplace at the Hix Townhouse. Truth be told, it was the perfect way to spend the afternoon especially as it started to rain shortly after we arrived back at the Townhouse.
For dinner that evening, we headed over to the Seaside Boarding House.
The plan was originally just to have dinner but distracted by the bar on the way to the restaurant, we decided to start with cocktails instead.
Bramble for me and Singapore Sling for Lloyd.
For dinner, I went for the crab and avocado salad to start (so good!) and Lloyd went for the roasted garlic, goat’s curd and beetroot crostini (which was apparently so good that Lloyd ALL of it disappeared off Lloyd plate – including bits of the garlic I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to eat 🤷🏾♂️😆).
For mains, I went for the steak and Lloyd for the hake.
Dessert was Rice pudding with caramelised oranges for me (I was tempted by the apple and blackberry tart but I did have Apple pie for dinner the night before so…). Lloyd went for the vanilla ice cream with warm salted caramel. I LOVE salted caramel so half of his sauce actually ended up in my rice pudding (I don’t know/care if you’re supposed to have rice pudding with salted caramel, all I know is that it tasted amazing together! 😄)
After teas and a bit more wine, we called it a night and headed back to the Townhouse. I just love it when you finish off your day with an amazing meal like we did here. Makes the extra time spent looking for the perfect restaurant soooo worth it. 😀