The Dino-Tastic Lyme Regis Fossil Festival (in Dorset, not Exeter)

On Sunday we took a drive down the coast to Lyme Regis for the annual fossil festival.

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If you haven’t been to Lyme Regis, I can tell you that it is a very quintessentially English, picturesque little seaside town in Dorset.  It’s all steep streets, pretty little historical buildings, art and fossil shops, cream teas and fish n chips – my kind of town.

Despite the bitter wind and sporadic rain, the town was full of visitors for the annual Lyme Regis Fossil Festival.  The festival itself is in it’s 11th year and “seeks to enthuse young people about science, earth sciences in particular.”

The Fossil Festival is a large multi-venue festival with activities throughout the town. There were plenty of activities for children of all ages to get involved in including; walks, talks, exhibitions, street theatre, crafts  and hands-on fossil related fun. There are also experts from a variety of museums and academics from Universities.

After managing to nab a free parking space on the main road we headed straight to the seafront performance space and found some home-from-home street theatre in the shape of ‘Iggy’ The Iguanadon Restaurant.  Iggy is a short performance piece about the Crystal Palace dinosaurs.

Crystal Palace Park in South London is very close to where we are from.  The park hosts several giant dinosaurs that were created around 1854 by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins.  Apparently this was “the first ever attempt anywhere in the world to model dinosaurs as full-scale, three-dimensional, active creatures” check out the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs site for more info.  The dinosaurs fascinated my mum and me, as children and my children in turn, they are quite magical and worth a visit if you are ever that way.

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Charles Darwin and Mary Anning 

We also bumped into evolutionary (can I call him that?Charles Darwin and local girl, Mary Anning who – we had never heard of – was a bit of a Lyme Regis working class hero by all accounts.

Mary Anning made lots of extraordinary geological finds including the plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs that were brought back to life by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins in Crystal Palace Park.

There was plenty more to see and do and we are definitely planning to return next year for the festival and to visit Lyme Regis to do some fossil hunting of our own, although I have heard that Charmouth (the next town along) is even better for that.

We loved Lyme Regis but it is a very popular destination and definitely one for off-peak visiting!

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Sunday morning Hubby

Thinking of visiting Lyme Regis?  Here‘s a very useful site for you.

Did you go to the fossil festival this year? Tell us all about it below..

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