The modern resort of Weymouth is magnet for families and holiday makers visiting the Dorset coast. It was originally made fashionable by King George III, during the 18th century, and many fine Georgian houses and Regency terraces still line its wide Esplanade. The town grew up around an ancient port on the mouth of the River Wey, the only safe haven for miles along this stretch of coast. The local waters are still busy with pleasure craft, fishing trawlers and cargo boats. The harbour is also major port for cross-Channel services to Cherbourg and the Channel Islands.
Weymouth Bay (by Anthony (CC0))
Weymouth's wide-sweeping sheltered sandy beach offers excellent sun and sea bathing, with all the traditional seaside fun and facilities provided, including Punch & Judy and donkey rides. In the centre of the Esplanade stands a brightly painted clock tower - erected in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. Nearby is an unusual painted statue of George Ill.
Safe boating and other watersports can be enjoyed in the bay. Frequent sailing races are held, particularly around mid Summer. On of the most popular places to visit is the waterfront harbour, near the mouth of the river, which is usually jostling with fishing boats and pleasure craft. Here you will find a good range of pubs and restaurants, many specialising in locally caught seafood. West of the Town Bridge the river widens to forms Radipole Lake, where the Romans built the original port. It is now is now a swannery and RSPB bird sanctuary. On the east bank are public gardens and a children's paddling pool.
Good walking territory can be found all along the coastline here, particularly around the Nothe headland, just to the south of the harbour. Old Harry's Rocks, just along the coast at Swanage, marks the start of the 120 mile (150 km) Jurassic Coast, which ends in Devon.
Portland, a rocky promontory that has been exploited over the centuries for its excellent building stone. This high quality limestone has been quarried since the 17th-c and has been used for many prestigious buildings around the world, including St Paul's Cathedral. The ruins of Sandsfoot Castle (a blockhouse built by Henry VIII), is set on the cliff overlooking the harbour, which has been a key naval base since 1872.
Portland Cliffs © Adam Vaughan
Portland, also contains many sights of interest including the modern lighthouse at the Bill and the old lower lighthouse, which is now a bird observatory. The cliffs and rocky heights on this peninsular are every popular with rock climbers.
Chesil Beach, a 12-mile stretch of shingle reef containing a lagoon, forms a link between Weymouth and the Isle of Portland.
A converted Victorian brewery, near Weymouth Old Harbour with specialist arts, crafts and antique shops and a local history museum.
A squat coastal fort containing a labyrinth of tunnels and defensive bastions. Built as part of the defences of the naval base in Portland Harbour. It houses a Museum of Coastal Defence run by the Weymouth Civic Society.
Opening times: times
vary see website for details - Admission
Location: Barrack Rd, Weymouth DT4 8UF
Tel: 01305 766626
Interesting little museum of local and maritime history. Tells the story of the local people who have lived and worked on the Isle since Neolithic times. A gallery is also dedicated to the Portland Stone industry and its usage in hundreds of prestigious buildings. Regular changing exhibitions and events.
Opening times: times vary see
website for details - Admission
Location: 217 Wakeham, Portland, Dorset, DT5 1HS - Tel: 01305 821804
Weymouth Sea Life Centre contains one of the largest marine life displays in England, with over 1,000 sea creatures to see.
Opening times: from
11am to 4pm - Admission
Location: Lodmoor Country Park, Weymouth DT4 7SX
Tel: 01305 761070
An early 17th-century merchants house. The rooms are furnished in a traditional Elizabethan style.
Opening times: May
to October Tuesday to Friday from 1.00pm - Admission
Location: 3 Trinity St, Weymouth DT4 8TW
Tel: 01305 779711
Enjoy a theatre show or dance at this traditional seafront venue, located right at the end of the esplanade. The complex contains a large theatre, a ballroom with ocean views, Piano Bar restaurant, cafe and other facilities.
Opening times: daily
from 9:30. Show times vary.
Location: The Esplanade, Weymouth DT4 8ED
Tel: 01305 783225