What to buy:
As you might expect, Lyme Regis is brimming with books about fossils, dinosaurs and Mary Anning herself. However, the best and most original books I found whilst we were there were children's books about Mary Anning's life.
'Stone Girl, Bone Girl' by Laurence Anholt is a particularly charming book which conveys Mary's amazing life in a simple but charming way - we were lucky enough to find a copy signed by the author, which was an unexpected bonus.
'Fossil Girl' by Catherine Brighton is told in a cartoon format, and focuses on Mary's young life, including her first major fossil find.
Both books which would make ideal and unusual gifts for children from about 5 upwards.
What better way to pass an hour or two on a bitterly cold day than to browse in a book shop? Within a few yards of each other, at the Cobb Gate end of Broad Street, I discovered three excellent, and very different shops.
You really could not miss The Sanctuary with its distinctive faux Victorian frontage. From the outside, looking through the window I could see exactly the kind of organised chaos I love in a book shop.
There was a piano and other musical instruments, sheet music, books on shelves, in cases , in boxes and behind the counter a real coal fire - its leaping flames casting a glow of Christmas Past. One room led into another and - as I had suspected - there was order in the presentation of the books on sale. My guess is that almost any hard to find, out of print book could be obtained for you here.
Upstairs there is a B&B - just imagine staying in a Book Shop, who could resist the temptation to browse the night away!
Just across the road and a little higher up is the site of "Serendip Books" one ot the oldest established bookshops in the town. Recently re-opened by new owners with a smart modern frontage replacing one designed for the filming of "The French Lieutenents Woman"! (so I was told by a local though I wondered if she was confusing it with The Sanctuary).
Here I found a modern independent bookshop with an ambience all its own. Lovely layout, great selection of local history and guide books, books by local authors, childrens section, contemporary fiction - not necessarily "bestseller" stuff and reference books. In fact every catergory one could hope to find in a small book shop. I bought a local history, and two cook books for the slow cooker I had bought at the next and last shop on this tour.
On the wall behind the counter there was a really useful blackboard of weekly information for people on the move giving details of all BBC radio and TV programmes with a literary connection. And a final plus - friendly, knowledgeable staff!
Weldmar Hospice Care Charity Shop
On the same side of Broad St as Serendip but a little higher up the hill. This is a veritable emporium of interesting and useful things looking for new owners!
There was a very good selection of books here - well arranged and in good condition. Lots of other useful household stuff - I bought a hardly used original Tower Slow Cooker for £5 (with an electrical test certificate dated from two days before.) It has made up for little use since I brought it home!
Helpful, friendly volunteer staff and open on Sundays - for a very good cause.
What to buy: Special items - anything to do with fossils and Palaeontology - as well as the Museum there is a Fossils Shop in Broad St.. As well as books as mentioned above, there are some very nice boutique clothes shops; local souvenirs and gifts. Plus a good range of food shops including "high street" branches of Tesco, the Co-op and independent food stores.Boots chemist and plenty of banks with ATMs.