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With its three-mile-long golden beach, and a marina bustling with yachts, Weymouth likes an excuse to throw a party, be it international sailing regattas, foodie festivals, or military pageants. The fishing port was transformed into a fashionable resort thanks to regular visits from King George III, who inspired its elegant 18th-century architecture — although its attractive narrow shopping streets also contain hints of Tudor times. With the surrounding Dorset countryside only a short cycle ride away, there’s plenty of nature-spotting to be done, from the Rodwell Trail that follows a former railway line to the bird sanctuaries of Lodmoor and Radipole Lake. The Isle of Portland, connected via Chesil Beach, is home to one of the UK’s most famous lighthouses, Portland Bill.
The nearest airport to Weymouth is Bournemouth International Airport (BOH), although it operates to only a limited number of (mostly Mediterranean) destinations; Southampton Airport (SOU), 60 miles east, and Bristol Airport (BRS), 70 miles north, also operate a limited number of routes. Most international travelers will arrive at one of the London hubs (LHR, LGW, STN, LTN), which are under four hours away by car or train. There is a regular direct service from London Waterloo Station, as well as coach service from London Victoria. A good local bus service operates in Weymouth, and bikes are a particularly popular way to get around; there are also plenty of taxi companies.
With average temperatures of 63 degrees Fahrenheit, Weymouth’s summers can be more warm than hot. And while they are cooler, with temperatures in the upper 40s and 50s, spring and fall are still somewhat mild, making for great walks on the beach. Winters are cold and often wet, dropping to average lows around 41 degrees, but rain is an ever-present possibility no matter the season. It’s always best to approach the English seaside as an unpredictable adventure; pack for anything, with a mix of layers and warm clothing. And a waterproof jacket is a must.
A five-minute walk from the southern end of the beach is the town’s historic harbor, lined with brightly colored fishermen’s cottages. It’s a busy spot filled with pubs, cafes, and fish and chip restaurants, as well as boats waiting for the 1930 town hydraulic bridge to open and let them pass, which it does, on schedule, every two hours.
Built in 1860, this historic sea fort sits at the tip of a peninsula just east of Weymouth harbor. Constructed to defend the naval harbor at Portland, it’s a popular visitor attraction containing a maze of strategic underground tunnels. You can also enjoy its exterior from nearby Nothe Gardens, a public park offering a peaceful place to look out across to the Isle of Portland.
This narrow barrier of shingle beach, stretching 18 miles from Portland to West Bay, is a natural wonder and an iconic Dorset landmark. It’s no good for swimming or surfing, but people come here for its windswept, rugged beauty, with breaking waves on one side and a large, brackish lake — the Fleet Lagoon — on the other. It’s also a popular spot for fishing and birdwatching.