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Top things to see and do in Weymouth, Dorset

Weymouth is on my doorstep (I live in the Dorset countryside), but I blush to admit I have previously only visited the town once in the past decade.

More fool me, as it turns out Weymouth is buzzing with things to do, delicious food to eat and friendly locals. What’s more, despite a day of blazing June sunshine, the beaches were quiet and serene.

Weymouth is a fairly small seaside town with just over 50,000 inhabitants and forms part of the fossil-rich Jurassic Coast. The town is connected to the Isle of Portland (of lighthouse fame) by a long, straight causeway.

I was pleased to discover that Weymouth has not fallen to the melancholic “days gone by” atmosphere of some seaside and instead felt like an inviting place for young wanting a bit of fun and frolic.

Walk around Portland Bill Lighthouse

The picturesque drive to Portland Bill Lighthouse, past Chesil Beach and along a hilly, winding road, is worth the journey alone. As we arrived at the lighthouse, the stormy clouds and dramatic clifftop background added to the drama. 

The lighthouse itself, which stands at an impressive 41m (135ft) high, has been safeguarding the marina for over five centuries. Learn about the building’s and lighthouse keepers at the visitor center, and climb the 153 steps to the lantern room for some fabulous views of the Jurassic Coast.

Make sure you leave time to explore the lighthouse’s rocky surroundings at the crashing waves and smell that salty sea air.

Discover Weymouth’s ruins

On your way back from Portland Lighthouse, make a detour to Church Ope Cove, a bathing cove close to the village of Wake ham. The path to the cove takes you under the arch bridge of the ruins of Rufus, which date to the 15th century. The cobbled path that takes you from the cove back to the main road is so pretty, with crumbling archways and pink wildflowers concealing gravestones.

The other ruin worth a visit is Sandsfoot, which overlooks the cliffs close to the Rodwell Trail. The artillery fort was built on the orders of Henry VIII but fell into ruin by the early 18th century.

Cycle the Rodwell trail

The Rodwell Trail is a 2-mile trailway that follows a disused railway line and is suitable for walkers, scooters, bicycles and mobility scooters. The picturesque path is fully surfaced and takes in some lovely views of Portland Harbour and Sandsfoot. This is a popular spot for birdwatching, and you may even see a great spotted woodpecker.

The railway leads on to the causeway that connects Weymouth to Portland, and it is possible to extend your cycle on the Portland Legacy Trail.

We stopped at Taste at Chesil beach for a spot of lunch and a wander. I really enjoyed my Portland crab sandwich with a glass of sparkling elderflower.

Explore Weymouth Harbour

The picturesque harbour has a 17th century waterfront and forms the mouth of the River Wey. The buildings in a bright array of pastel colours line both sides of the harbour.

If you are yearning for a pint, there is an impressive concentration along the waterfront – we counted at least eight from our perch on the Harbour bridge. The Kings Arms serves an excellent pint of Guinness has been highly recommended.

Don’t miss a visit to Bennett’s for a plate of fish & chips (conveniently located next to The Kings Arms). A clear fan favorite, Bennett’s launched 32 years ago and serves one of the best fish & chips I have eaten in a long time. The servings are enormous, so opt for a medium unless you have the appetite of a very hungry horse.