All About Weymouth
Why Visit Weymouth?
Weymouth is one of the United Kingdoms' most beautiful seaside resorts, and being blessed with one of its sunniest and warmest climates, the area offers a wide range of activities and attractions to people of all ages and interests.
At the centre of the Jurassic coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Weymouth offers the perfect base for exploring Dorset, an extremely picturesque area. Click here for a photographic tour of our stunning Jurassic coastline - Pictorial journey along the Jurassic coast
Weymouth hosted the sailing in the 2012 UK Olympic Games.
There are numerous places to eat and drink with great pubs, traditional fish and chip shops, sophisticated restaurants, cafes and much more. There are some great night clubs in Weymouth too if you're that way inclined and want a bit more excitement in the evening!
One of the best things about Weymouth are the amount of things to do for everyone to enjoy near the town centre. Visit the Sea Life Centre and Adventure Park for the day along with sand world to see sculptures by international sand sculptors, there are Go Karts & the Cresta Run right next door too.
Weymouths award winning beach has beautiful fine soft sand at the town end which gradually transforms to shingle as you move away from town. The safe shallow waters of the bay are perfect for a dip - you won't find a cleaner, safer beach with finer sand anywhere in Dorset! Weymouth's town centre has many of the leading high street brands along with some very individual and unique independent retailers . There's a multiplex cinema too.
There's Henry XIIIs' famous Nothe Fort and Sandsfoot Castle built to protect Portland harbour. For indoor attractions in Weymouth you could visit Brewers Quay for retro and antique markets for the young there's Sharkys ball and adventure playground or for the young at heart the Sea front amusements.
For the fishermen Weymouth is a mecca for many types of sea fishing, the stone pier is ideal for land based fishing, and there are numerous expert boat crews who will take out anglers to try their luck at sea. Kids can join the fun using crab lines over the side of the harbour.
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Weymouths Early History
Weymouth started as a small settlement slotted into a small site to the southwest of Weymouth Harbour, neighboring Wyke Regis. Weymouth developed from 1100AD onwards, but was not really recognized until the 1200s. By 1252 it became an established seaport. Melcombe Regis on the northern side of the peninsula developed separately as a wool port in 1310. The port was raided by the French as it was so accessible forcing the main trade to move to Poole in 1433.
Melcombe Regis is widely thought to be the first area in England to contract the Black Death which came to the region in June 1348, most likely aboard a spice or army ship. In the early days Weymouth and Melcombe Regis competed for industry and trade, but were eventually joined together in an Act of Parliament in 1571 forming a double borough becoming known as Weymouth even though Melcombe Regis was the main centre.
- Sandsfoot Castle was built in Wyke Regis, a large part of which has collapsed due to being built on unstable sandstone
- On the other side of the harbour Portland Castle was built in what became Castletown.
Between the two castles the whole of the harbour could be protected by canons making sailing in extremely dangerous.
Weymouth was heavily fought over during the English Civil War, with rival troops setting up on either side of the harbour. Around 250 were people were killed during what became known as the Crabchurch Conspiracy in February 1645 when a number of supporters of Charles I attempted to overthrow the parliamentarian forces based on the Melcome Regis side.
In 1635, a ship called Charity with about 100 families emigrated from Weymouth and sailed across the Atlantic to settle in and help create Weymouth, Massachusetts. More townsfolk moved to the Americas to bolster the population of both Weymouth, Nova Scotia and Salem, Massachusetts; origionally called Naumking.
Putting Weymouth on the map
Weymouth became one of the first tourist destinations, after the Duke of Gloucester, brother of King George III, built a grand home on the seafront called Gloucester Lodge, spending winter there in 1780; King George made Weymouth his summer holiday home 14 times between 1789 and 1805, venturing into the sea for a swim in a bathing machine. a replica of which can be seen near to the painted statue on the seafront called the King's Statue, which was restored in 2007 by removing 20 layers of paint, replacing it with new paint and gold leaf, the iron framework fence was replaced with a stainless steel one. A depiction of King Charles I on a white horse was carved into the chalk hills of Osmington by artist John Ranier in 1808.
The seafront of Weymouth is mostly composed of Georgian terraced buildings, which originally would have been private housing but have now been converted into guest houses, apartments, shops and hotels. These buildings were built in the Georgian and Regency periods from 1770 to 1855, designed by famous architects such as James Hamilton, and often commissioned by well off businessmen. These terraces form a continuous curve of buildings which face Weymouth Bay all along the esplanade. In the centre of the Esplanade stands a multi-coloured Jubilee Clock, built in 1887 to commemorate the golden anniversary of Queen Victoria's reign. There are also Statues of Queen Victoria and Sir Henry Edwards, a Member of Parliament for Weymouth from 1867 to 1885 at either end of the Esplanade.
The Great Wars
Throughout World War I , in the region of 120,000 ANZAC troops convalesced in Weymouth having being injured at Gallipoli and other battles of the war. Weymouth and Portland were heavily bombed by the Germans in World War II trying to destroy Portland harbour which held a large navy base. Weymouth also held large guns placed in Nothe Fort, next to Nothe Gardens.
517,816 troops left through the town to fight at the Battle of Normandy. The legendary Bouncing bomb was tested and demonstrated to Winston Churchill in The Fleet lagoon to the west of town also home to an ancient swannery.