Looking for a great destination for your next UK short break? Look no further than Beer, a charming little village on England’s stunning Jurassic Coast.
I grew up not far from Beer and absolutely love it here. I have very fond memories of days out.
Located on the south coast of Devon, this idyllic seaside town is an ideal base for a weekend away in south west England. It has a beach nestled in a pretty little cove, a small and picturesque village centre, and a variety of tourist attractions to head to nearby.
So while it might be a small place, there’s plenty of things to do in Beer.
This post is your guide to the top things to do in Beer, Devon.
Where is Beer?
Beer is located in East Devon, England. It sits on the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The village is around a mile and a half from Seaton town and 7 miles from Lyme Regis. Exeter, the county town of Devon, is around 19 miles away.
London is further away, around 140 miles from Beer. It’s therefore unlikely you will be day-tripping here from the capital or other places in southern England.
However, it would be an excellent base for a weekend away if you’re planning a trip to East Devon, or a lovely day out if you’re staying elsewhere.
How to get to Beer
You can travel most of the way to Beer via train. The nearest train station is Axminster which connects to London Waterloo station and Exeter.
You can then catch a bus: the number 885 bus goes to Beer, a journey of around 40 minutes.
Things to do in Beer, Devon
Below I have set out some of the top things to do in Beer, Devon, or nearby.
Wander around the picturesque village
Beer is a pretty little village in an idyllic setting. It’s situated on a cliff overlooking the sea, with beautiful views in all directions.
As you explore the village, you’ll find several historical buildings, including the 19th-century St Michael’s Church.
There are also interesting shops to browse (including gift shops if you want to take souvenirs home), and galleries selling selections of work by local and national artists (e.g. the Steam Gallery in the Marine House).
There are also pubs and restaurants where you can enjoy a meal or a pint of local ale.
Head down to the beach
Beer has a small shingle beach in a pretty little cove overlooked by limestone cliffs. It’s at one end of the village’s main street, so make sure you walk down the pathway to take a look.
Although it is a working beach, there’s plenty of space to pitch your deck chair and relax in the sun. The shape of the cove with the overlooking craggy cliffs make it a “natural suntrap” during the summer months.
You can swim in the bay, but the beach does shelve down steeply into the water in places. As a result, it is advised that you should monitor children who go swimming.
If you want to stay for the day, there’s a cafe where you can buy refreshments, as well as toilets.
When you pop down to Beer beach, you’ll see it’s very much a working beach. There are fishing boats strewn with nets and crab pots, and if you time it right, you can buy fresh fish and shellfish from a stall at the back of the beach.
As a result, Beer is an ideal place if you want to go out on boat trips to fish.
In particular, mackerel fishing is a very popular local activity. You can book trips that will take you out on the water and show you how to catch a big haul. You can also book a tour or hire a boat that will take you around the beautiful coastline in the surrounding area.
Look out over the bay and village
It’s also worth taking a look at the bay and village from above.
A short walk away from the shops and beach are pathways that take you uphill to vantage points above the village, including from Jubilee Gardens. It is worth wandering along these for the spectacular sea views you get from here.
There are benches so you can sit and take in your surroundings at a leisurely pace.
The Anchor Inn pub in Fore Street also has a beer garden across the road that looks down onto the beach. Grab a seat, order some local food and look out across the bay.
Visit Pecorama and ride the Beer Heights Light Railway
Pecorama is a tourist attraction in Beer that is perfect for family days out. It has gardens, play areas, and a fleet of model railways to see.
It also has the Beer Height’s Light Railway. According to the website, this Light Railway is “considered by many to be the finest 7 1/4-inch gauge railway in Britain”.
The passenger trains on this line travel along a mile-long route that has breathtaking views over Lyme Bay and the surrounding coastline. This is a great way to see some views out to sea if you don’t have time to do any walks in the area.
If you fancy it and can afford it, you can book a lesson to drive the train. Any train buffs or model railway enthusiasts will absolutely love it here.
Beer sits on the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast that runs through Devon and Dorset and covers 95 miles. It is a site that “is recognised for its outstanding rocks, fossils and landforms”. It is part of the longer South West Coast Path.
There are varying walks along the coastal path, depending on how much time you have to spare and how long you want to walk for.
A relatively short walk is from the village of Beer up to Beer Head, a headland around a 15-minute walk away (head for the Beer Head Caravan Park which is en route).
If you choose to walk further, there are plenty of towns and local areas across the two counties, other than Beer, that you could visit as part of your walk. These include Sidmouth, Seaton, Weymouth, West Bay, and Swanage.
And if you want to walk to some of the significant coastal features around here, there is Golden Cap, a cliff that is said to be the highest point on the south coast. There is also Chesil Beach, Lulworth Cove, and Durdle Door.
Visit the Beer Quarry Caves
A visit to Beer Quarry Caves is fascinating. You can book a tour through a series of underground caves, first quarried in Roman times, and see the roof of the caves and the pillars of beer stone. The tour also gives you an insight into the conditions the workers faced, some of whom were children.
The Beer Stone excavated from the caves was used to construct several famous buildings, including Exeter Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and the Tower of London. It was also used for some of the local houses.
Depending on the season, you may even get to see bats!
The tours are around an hour long, and you are advised to wear sensible shoes and take some warm clothing as the caves are at a temperature of around 7 to 9 degrees centigrade. You’ll also be given a hard hat to wear.
Take a trip on the Seaton to Colyton tramway
If you want to ride on a special form of transport along a scenic route, there’s the nearby Seaton Tramway. Vintage trams travel along a narrow-gauge line through the Axe valley, taking around half an hour each way.
This trip was a firm favourite in my childhood. The trams have open tops, which add to the experience and are a real bonus in the summer months.
And if you have time, take a stroll through the town of Seaton. The beach is also pebbly, but it is longer and more sweeping than in Beer. There is a wide promenade that you can walk along.
Go fossil hunting
Fossil hunting is a popular activity in Beer. Sitting as it does on the Jurassic Coastline, fossils can be found as the cliffs weather and erode. It’s a great place for fossil-hunting enthusiasts.
If this interests you, there are websites that will give you information on where to find fossils in Beer and the type of fossils that have previously been uncovered here.
Or if you want to learn more about the history of fossil hunting in the local area, then pop over to Lyme Regis, which is less than half an hour by bus.
Lyme Regis is particularly well known for its abundance of ammonite fossils. Fossil hunting became popular during the Georgian period when visitors holidayed in the area.
At the same time, local resident Mary Anning made the first of a series of important discoveries (for example, finding the first ichthyosaur in 1811).
You can learn about her life and work in the Lyme Regis Museum (also referred to as the Lyme Regis Philpot Museum). This stands on the site of her former home, where she lived until 1826. There are also several fossil shops and fossil walks in Lyme.
Visit Lyme Regis
Lyme Regis is only a short hop away and is an ideal day out if you’re in Beer, even if you’re not visiting for the fossils. Some of the popular coastal walks go via Lyme, such is its draw.
Known as the ‘Pearl of Dorset’, it’s an attractive, picturesque town by the sea. It’s probably best known for its 14th-century Cobb – a 900 metre long wall that snakes around the small harbour to protect it from the sea and stormy weather.
You can walk along it to the very end to get stunning views out to sea and around the coastline.
You can also stroll along the seafront past the Victorian promenade and look out over the sandy family-friendly beach. Or there’s Monmouth Beach on the other side of The Cobb wall, a stony pebble beach where you can look for fossils.
Lyme has museums, a theatre, pretty hillside gardens, and a small aquarium. There are also some lovely tea rooms and restaurants along the high street.
And for those who fancy a good pint, it even has its own microbrewery.
Exeter is less than 20 miles from Beer and is the perfect place to visit if you want to do some city sightseeing or if you’re looking for things to do on a rainy day.
The city is home to many historical landmarks and visitor attractions, including the magnificent Exeter Cathedral built between the 12th and 15th centuries, and Rougemont Castle (Exeter Castle). This Norman castle sits atop a hill in the heart of the city and has attractive gardens next to it.
There is also the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, and the Historic Quayside, where you can wander, take a boat trip or stop off for food or shopping. You can also explore some medieval underground passages.
As well as a great selection of shops, the centre is also worth walking around and where you can see various historic medieval buildings.
Other ideas for short breaks and day trips in the UK
As you have seen, there are lots of things to do in Beer, Devon. If this is your first visit, I hope you enjoy it and I hope my blog post has helped you plan it.
There are also plenty of other places nearby, as well as further afield to consider visiting. Check out some of my other posts for more information: