Weymouth continues to be one of our favourite holiday destinations in the UK, and after our most recent visit I have been inspired to put together a little list of great things to do in the town. For most of these things you don’t even need to leave Weymouth itself – that’s how great it is to visit! However I’ve also added additional recommendations for things to do if you have a car and can travel outside of the town – all very much worth seeing!
1. Beach and Harbour History Trail
There are plenty of interesting historical landmarks dotted around Weymouth, from the Town Bridge, a major feature of Weymouth Harbour, and the 1988 Jubilee Clock on the seafront, to the quirky Maiden Street Cannonball stuck high in the wall of a public toilet. These sights have been marked by informative heritage plaques in the form of pavement slabs, and you can follow the entire Beach and Harbour History Trail around the town. Learn about Weymouth’s Tudor House and its involvement in the D Day invasion whilst enjoying a very pleasant 1.4 mile walk around the harbour, beach front and town.
2. Drink, Dine and More at the Harbour
Our favourite place in Weymouth is the harbour, and we’d happily spend hours chilling here. There’s plenty of choice of bars, cafes and restaurants, many with outdoor seating, so you can spend hours watching the world go by. We enjoyed some fantastic Mexican Tapas and margaritas at Cactus Jack, and also takeaway fish and chips on a bench as the sun went down. We always like to catch the town bridge raising to allow incoming boats into the marina and kids will enjoy trying their hand at crabbing along the edge of the harbour walls. We basically just love the atmosphere here, which is why we chose to rent our accommodation at this side of town (more on that below).
3. Enjoy a Beach Day
Most people come to Weymouth for the sandy beach, and that has been the case since King George III visited the seafront here in 1789 and turned Weymouth into a popular Georgian holiday haunt. The beach is great, though of course quite busy on a sunny weekend, and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed a day or two on the golden sand at Weymouth. And whilst you’re there you can also spot the the latest creation by the sand sculptor. There is always a sculpture in progress in the sculpture dome there, and if you want to see more sand sculptures, you can visit Sandworld down the road.
4. Visit Nothe Fort and Gardens
Nothe Forte is a fantastic heritage attraction and museum overlooking the entrance to Weymouth Harbour. Learn about the fort’s history through the World Wars with some great interactive exhibits. Right outside the fort are Nothe Gardens, a lovely public park space with fantastic hilltop views over the coastline. We really enjoyed an evening walk through the gardens and past the fort whilst watching the sun go down.
5. Take a Boat Trip
Weymouth Harbour offers plenty of boat trips, and there’s nothing quite like being on the sea for a while! We went on a short coastal cruise around Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour, where we learned about the history of the area, with a particular focus on military history from the WWII. We also spotted a (much faster) rib charter boat ride, which would be great for the more adventurous.
6. Do an Escape Room
Sometimes the weather isn’t great, and the nice thing about Weymouth being a decent sized town is it has plenty to offer indoors as well as outdoors. Rainy day activities within the town centre alone include a cinema, virtual reality gaming at Player Ready, and my personal favourite, escape rooms at Escape Dungeons.
7. Shop Local
As well as some standard high street favourites, you’ll see all sorts of locals businesses on a walk around Weymouth town centre, including bakeries, barbers and really interesting shops selling everything from crystals, fossils and unique gifts to local fashion and produce. It’s always nice to spend an afternoon exploring tiny shops for treasures!
Explore the Area Beyond Weymouth…
Although I love Weymouth itself, there’s plenty more to enjoy in Dorset from a base in Weymouth, and a lot of it is within an hour’s drive away. Here are some of our favourites:
8. Monkey World (30 mins from Weymouth by car)
The biggest draw to Dorset for us has always been Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre, and as adoptive parents we always make sure we visit the 65-acre park at least once during our stay. Now home to over 250 primates rescued from the pet trade, tourist trade and laboratories, we have always been supporters of the park, and really like to follow the stories of the individuals being rehabilitated there.
9. Tout Quarry Sculpture Park and Nature Reserve (15 mins from Weymouth by car)
This completely free attraction on the Portland peninsula is a bit of a hidden gem, and worth a visit if you get chance. Once a working limestone quarry, the area is now overgrown with local wildlife, and leftover rock has been turned into over 60 sculptures by local artists. It makes for an interesting wander, and also offers stunning views over Chesil Beach and Portland Harbour.
10. Swanage & Corfe Castle (1 hour from Weymouth by car)
We actually stayed in the pretty coastal town of Swanage once, and it’s worth a visit in itself. But our favourite activity was taking a ride on a heritage Swanage Railway steam train over to Corfe Castle, a town with castle ruins of the same name. The castle is open to the public, and is a nice place for a visit – both interesting and with stunning views. The castle ruins are also said to have inspired Enid Blyton’s Kirrin Island in ‘The Famous Five’.
11. Durdle Door & Lulworth Cove (30 mins from Weymouth by car)
Durdle Door was recently named the “second most Instagrammable beach” in Europe, thanks to the number of times it gets tagged in stunning Instagram posts. The natural limestone archway in the sea is certainly one of the most iconic parts of the Jurassic Coast, and worth a trip. A short drive or challenging over-hill walk away is Lulworth Cove, a little town with a pretty cove – itself a World Heritage Site. Both places are worth seeing, and could be visited in the same day.
Where to Stay in Weymouth
I mentioned earlier that we prefer to stay at the Harbour/Brewers Quay end of Weymouth, and our recent rented accommodation was absolutely perfect for a couple or small family. We booked Gone Sailing (affiliate link) in Brewers Quay through Sykes Cottages and can’t recommend it enough. It was a lovely house with a cute outdoor space for sunny days. But most importantly, the location was fantastic – literally 30 paces away from the sea! And a short walk to either Nothe Fort and Gardens or to the Harbourside, and not much further to the town and beach. We’ll definitely be booking to stay here again if we can!