“ Address: Coombe Street / Lyme „
Although I have been to Lyme Regis many times for day trips, this year was the first time I decided to turn my visit into a proper holiday. I travelled with my book group and decided to rent a holiday home rather than a hotel. We all wanted separate bedrooms, ideally with en-suite bathrooms - so I was delighted to find Mermaid House; a large five bedroom house in the very centre of Lyme Regis.
We stayed for three nights and were extremely happy with our decision to avoid hotels. The house was in a lovely location and it was spacious and clean. The only negative points are that there was no parking at all close to the house - but we were prepared for this and were happy to sacrifice parking for the opportunity to stay in the heart of the town.
~~Booking and arrival ~~
I found the house through a simple Google search and booked through Lyme Bay Holidays - a local company which I would highly recommend. Availability was clearly indicated on their website and it was easy to make a simple deposit to secure the house. The deposit was £236 and the balance was paid online closer to our departure date.
There was a lot of friendly email communication before our stay, with detailed instructions about the house and locality. On the day of arrival we were directed to Lyme Bay Holidays Offices where we were greeted by the staff. They all seemed to be smartly dressed men and were really charming and welcoming. We got two sets of keys for our group and clear directions about the car parks nearby. We were told to phone or pop back into the office if there was anything at all wrong.
~~ House ~~
The house was a large Victorian property but although it fronted directly onto the road there was an alleyway leading up inside the house to the large front door. This meant that, although it was slightly tricky stopping the car on a narrow road, we could quickly unload the bags and then drive up to the nearby car park.
Stepping inside the front door we saw a large staircase straight ahead which led upstairs to the lounge and bedrooms. To the right there was a large but rather gloomy dining room which seemed very formal for our group. To the left there was a bright and cosy kitchen diner which led to a large kitchen and beyond this another bedroom with a shower and toilet.
We didn't use the dining room at all during our stay, although it had a lovely large table and XX chairs, it seemed a bit formal for our little group. We preferred to sit in the breakfast room to eat; a lovely, cheerful light room with a digital radio and CD player that suited our informal chatter. The table in this room had a long bench in front of the window and several chairs around the other side, making it big enough for our group. In addition there was a bench style sofa just next to the table which was ideal for sprawling and chatting. It really was a very cosy relaxing and meeting place.
The spacious kitchen was just behind the kitchen diner and included absolutely everything we would need for the stay (large sink, dishwasher, beautiful range cooker, very large fridge freezer and a full complement of cooking utensils). A tea towel was supplied with some dishwasher tablets and washing up liquid to keep us going. The kitchen had a side window looking out to the side passage but we were not overlooked by the house next door as our privacy was protected by high fence.
The back door led to a patio area with large recycling bins. Further down a narrow path led to a spiral metal staircase which went up to a seating area sitting on top of the extension. There was a garden table and chairs on this seating area, but it may not be a good choice for a family with small children as it was high up and accessed by a steep staircase. There was no outdoor play area for children and this compared poorly to the house next door which had a large raised lawn area with garden furniture.
On the other side of the kitchen was a rather isolated double bedroom. This was an obvious extension to the house and had very large windows. However it was bright and cheerfully decorated and suited one of our party very well as she likes to be away from other people at night. It would not be suitable for a small child as it really is a long way away from the other bedrooms.
The main living room for the house is on the first floor, which I think is a lovely idea. While the downstairs dining room is a dark room with frosted windows to protect you from nosy passers-by, the upstairs lounge is light and beautiful, with lovely views over the town through both windows. The windows themselves are a feature of the room, with window seats to the very thick walls of the house; sunshine streams into this room during the day and lots of ambient lighting at night make it really cosy. There was plenty of room for us all to sit; two large leather sofas and an assortment of comfortable armchairs around a coffee table. There was also an old Victorian fireplace with gas effect coals, but sadly we had no matches!
There were two bedrooms on this first floor; one twin with en-suite and one double with en-suite. On the top floor there was a triple room and a double room with a shared bathroom between them. As the trip organiser I had the best room in the house; the double room with en-suite on the first floor. It was beautifully decorated and very comfortable. A window looked out onto the garden; there was a large wardrobe, radio, TV and two side lights on small side tables. There was a hair dryer in the room and I think there was one in every bedroom, but did not confirm this. The en-suite had a heated towel rail, a new looking shower cubical and a toilet. All new and in very good working order with excellent decoration. The flow from shower very good and the water was always hot.
It was a cold weekend when we stayed, but one of the biggest pluses of the house was clear heating and water controls. There were no restrictions on the amount of time we had the heating and water on and a large hot water tank kept us going for 7 showers in the morning - on one occasion it did run out, but we could easily put the water on again and it heated up for another shower in less than 30 minutes.
The location of the house could not be better. A one minute walk to the main street, the museum and the sea; the house was right next to a lovely vegetarian restaurant and a very tempting jewellery shop.
~~ Cost ~~
Our three night stay cost £669 plus £13 booking fee. I had to give the agency £100 deposit via my credit card but this was quickly returned to me via the same card once we had checked out.
Towels were not included in the price but could be requested for a little extra money. The price included all heating and cleaning. The house can sleep 12 in total and as such is very good value.
I have no hesitation in recommending this house. Although the thought of having nowhere to park is a little daunting at first, it was not a problem at all. The car park was a five minute walk up the hill and cost us £5 a day to park there. It was worth the slight inconvenience to have such a great location and I prefer this to staying further away from town with parking.