West Bay Discovery Centre is owned and operated by a local charity, the Bridport Area Development Trust. The Trust has also restored Bridport’s former library, the Literary and Scientific Institute on East Street.
The former West Bay Methodist Chapel is known locally as “the Chapel on the Beach”. The Grade II listed building dates from 1849 and ceased as a place of worship in 2006. The freehold was transferred to the Trust in 2012 by the local council on the understanding that the building was to be used to provide visitor information about the history and environment of West Bay and its surrounds.
The Trust obtained funding from the Coastal Communities Fund, which together with other grants enabled the restoration and adaption of the Chapel. The result was a fit for purpose home for the West Bay Discovery Centre, which opened on 1st August 2018.
The Discovery Centre provides an insight to West Bay and the Jurassic Coast, revealing its hidden history, local stories and offering fascinating facts about the natural environment.
We use interactive experiences to make learning about West Bay fun for all ages. Our challenge to visitors is to make your own discoveries, then come back and share them with us. We offer changing themed exhibitions and aim to provide the latest local information. A programme of talks, guided walks, and events are also on offer.
Thanks to the Coastal Community Fund and the generous support of the organisations shown below, West Bay has a Visitor Centre it can be proud of. Our ongoing costs are met by donations and fundraising. So please do contact us if you can help the Centre by becoming a donor or volunteer – Thank you.
Our mission is to grow people’s appreciation of West Bay and the Jurassic Coast using the unique stories that tell its history, hidden heritage and natural environment, so that our visitors will reflect, return and reconnect with us, again and again. We will do this by offering a “treasure trove” of stories, information and activities, with something for all ages and interests.
Winner GOLD in Dorset Tourism Award 2019 – ‘ New Business Category.’
Winner SILVER in South West Tourism Excellence Award 2019/2020 – ‘New Business Category.’
Winner – Best Dorset Community Heritage Project 2019