Things to Do in Weymouth

From beaches, coastline and watersports to history, heritage and wildlife, the Visit Weymouth website will help you find some great ideas for days out for all the family by highlighting the best of Weymouth’s attractions and things to do in Weymouth.




Why not visit the beautifully-restored Victorian Nothe Fort with its fantastic views of Weymouth and Portland, or the Tudor House, one of Weymouth’s few remaining Tudor buildings which is furnished in the style of an early 17th century middle class family home? There is also the remains of the Jordan Hill Roman Temple overlooking Weymouth Bay. For nature lovers, there’s not one but two RSPB nature reserves, Weymouth’s Sea Life Park, and the butterfly reserves on Portland. Or, for the younger (or not so younger ones) ones, there’s always Sharky’s indoor soft play centre, the skate park, as well as pirate-themed mini golf and Sandworld.

The Weymouth and Portland area provides some of the finest waters in Britain, perhaps even Europe, for watersports such as sailing, diving, wind surfing, kite surfing and sea angling, which is why it was selected as the venue for the London 2012 Olympic sailing events. For the less energetic, there are frequent boat trips along the breathtaking Jurassic coastline, including some paddle steamer excursions, high-speed ferries making daily trips to the Channel Islands, and even a white water ride through Portland’s roughest waters, ‘the Race’.

You can see wonderful, panoramic views of Weymouth, Portland, Chesil Beach and the Jurassic coastline from the Sea Life Tower, which rises 53 metres above Weymouth.




Weymouth’s town centre boasts three formal gardens, each with its own unique character. Greenhill Gardens on the seafront are laid out using gloriously colourful bedding displays. By contrast, the Victorian, tree-lined Princess Diana Memorial Gardens are a haven of tranquillity where visitors can sit and watch the world go by. The Nothe Gardens, up by the fort, are a mixture of well-established trees and lawns, with several paths leading down to the secluded Newton’s Cove where you can often see dolphins playing, away from the bustle of the town. On the outskirts of Weymouth is Bennetts Water Gardens, with eight acres of landscaped gardens, numerous lakes and one of the most outstanding displays of water lilies in Britain.

For the avid shopper or those who just want to have a leisurely browse, Weymouth’s wonderful mix of high street names as well as individual boutiques and speciality shops offers something for everyone.

Joined to Weymouth by a causeway and the world-famous Chesil Beach is the Isle of Portland whose beautiful yet rugged landscape has been shaped over the years by its quarrying activities. The lighthouse at Portland Bill may be the Isle’s most visited tourist attraction but Henry VIII’s Portland Castle must come a close second.

Things to do in Weymouth don’t end when the sun goes down. Why not see a show at the Pavilion Theatre, watch a film at the multiplex cinema, or perhaps dance the night away in one of the town’s nightclubs? Weymouth also has a strong live music scene with tribute bands and local musicians playing regularly in many of the local pubs.

Weymouth Sea Life Tower

The Quay (behind The Pavilion Complex), Weymouth, Dorset

8.30am - 5.15pm week days

The spectacular Jurassic Skyline (formerly known as the Weymouth Sealife Tower) opened for business in June 2012. Construction of the new £3.5 million landmark attraction took under nine months, from the start of foundation works to the completion of the ground level reception building. Designed by a German company, each of the five 11-ton steel sections of the Tower’s central column were built in Hungary. The base section sits on a concrete base buried several metres beneath the Festival Pier. The clear-fronted passenger gondola, which rotates gently around that column as it climbs to its highest point, was built in France.

As many as 69 people at a time can be carried aloft in the gondola, where on a clear day they may be able to see as far as the famous Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove. Amazing views of the Purbeck Cliffs, Portland, Chesil Beach and Weymouth Bay are also assured, and the Tower’s ride operators will point out significant features like the scene of the discovery of the 155-million-year-old head of a marine dinosaur in 2003.

An admission charge applies and the ride lasts approximately 15 minutes. There is commentary on the Jurassic Skyline, and it is possible to purchase a 360° mini guide with Jurassic Coast information. Children under 14 years of age need to be accompanied by an adult. The Jurassic Skyline is accessible for disabled guests; however, it has the capacity for only one wheelchair per ride.

YMCA Portland, Reforne, Easton, Portland, Dorset DT5 2AN

10am-12pm, 1pm-3pm Mondays & Thursdays

The YMCA on Portland, Dorset holds Bounce & Play sessions for toddlers and young children every Monday and Thursday.

There is a large bouncy castle, ride on toys and a separate, smaller room with a tunnel, small ball pit and rocking toys for the tinies.

The sessions for Bounce and Play Portland YMCA are 10am – midday and 1pm – 3pm on Mondays and Thursdays.

There is a small entrance fee.

The YMCA Portland is also available as a children’s party venue in Dorset.

7 Albany Road, Granby Industrial Estate, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 9TH

9.30am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sundays

The Fun Factory Weymouth is an indoor soft play centre and children’s party venue for children aged 0-11.

The large indoor play area includes Battle Cannons and a Firing Zone, a High Glide, a Ball Pool and a four-lane Astro Slide. There is also a sports area for playing football, netball, basketball or other ball sports.

For the little ones, there is a separate Toddler’s Activity Area to cater for them and keep them safely out of the way of the bigger kids.

During busy periods the Fun Factory Weymouth sometimes has to limit play to 1.5 hours.

There is a large, free car park on site.

Wyke Regis Community Centre, Ryemead Lane, Wyke Regis, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 9NS

9.30am-11.30am Mondays and Wednesdays in term time

Wyke Weenies Toddler Group is held every Monday and Wednesday morning during term time at the Wyke Regis Community Centre from 9.30am to 11.30am. The Community Centre has its own free parking.

There is a large playroom with ride on toys, a slide, small trampoline etc plus a separate area for little ones. At the back is a separate craft room with different activities organised each week. This room also contains a play house and story corner.

Wyke Weenies Toddler Group is run entirely by volunteers whose aim is to provide an affordable group for the local community. The cost of each session is £1.50 per family, which includes hot drinks for adults and snacks/drinks for the children.

Age range from bumps to pre-school (age 5). £1.50 per family per session.

Chickerell Congregational Church, East Street, Chickerell, Weymouth, Dorset

10am-11.30am on Fridays

Busy Bees Toddler Group Chickerell is a friendly group that meets on Friday mornings in the Chickerell Congregational Church, East Street, Chickerell, Weymouth, Dorset from 10am until 11.30am.

Brewers Quay, Hope Square, Weymouth, Dorset

Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays 10.30am-4pm

Weymouth Museum has re-opened on the first floor of the Brewers Quay building and welcomes locals and visitors to explore aspects of the history of the town.

The large equestrian portrait of King George III still dominates the main gallery. Also on display are the remains of a Romano-British woman thought to have been buried in Wyke Regis, a small section of tessellated pavement found in 1902 in Newberry Road, an intricately carved panel from a Weymouth house from the Tudor period, some relics from the Georgian period plus a display of household objects from the 19th and 20th centuries.

There is a children’s corner where hats from many periods can be tried on plus a family trail quiz to follow.

A second smaller gallery is in preparation, which will include ship models, old bottles and works of art on a local theme.

£1 entry fee for adults. Accompanied people under 18 are free.

Lodmoor Country Park, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 7SX

During the Spring and Summer months, Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park & Marine Sanctuary is open from 10am until 5pm daily, with last admittance at 4pm. The Park closes earlier in the Autumn and Winter months, and does not open on Christmas Day

Weymouth Sea Life Centre is an all-weather attraction, with numerous indoor marine life exhibitions, as well as several children’s rides and a water play area.

Indoor displays include:

  • the Shark Reef Centre, a tropical haven for sharks and fish
  • a Nursery and breeding centre, housing all their baby creatures and seahorse family
  • the spectacular Turtle Sanctuary with its walk-through underwater tunnel
  • a Treasures of the Deep display teeming with weird and wonderful creatures

Outdoors there are:

  • sanctuaries for the Asian short-clawed otters and harbour seals
  • a resident colony of Humboldt penguins
  • features such as Adventure Island – a land of children rides – and Splash Zone – a children’s water play area
  • the fantastic Crocodile Creek – a mini log flume ride, but be warned you will get wet!
  • naturally themed rockpools, filled with crabs, starfish, urchins and giant spider crabs, hold a giant spider crab or touch a starfish, dodge the surge wave and view what lurks beneath with an underwater viewing device

Feeding Times (times may vary)

11.30am Divine Shark Dinner
Midday Penguin Play Time
12.30pm Terrapin Tea Time
1pm Ravenous Ray Feed
2pm Otter Madness
2.30pm Penguins
3pm Turtle Play Time
3.30pm Super Seal Time
4pm Otter Madness

18 Crescent Street, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 7BX

Gala Bingo Weymouth offers free membership. Players must be 18 or over.

For over twenty years, Gala Bingo has been the UK’s most loved and trusted bingo operator, a solid household name in the gaming industry, with over 143 clubs, 5 million members, and paying out prizes across retail and online of over £42 million per week.

Mini Golf

Lodmoor Country Park, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 7SX

Open daily from 11am-6pm (last entry at 5pm), except Christmas Day and subject to weather conditions

A swashbuckling game for the whole family!

At the Pirate Adventure Mini Golf in Weymouth, each hole has its own unique challenge to overcome as you work your way around the themed course, which includes treasure chests, gunpowder barrels and a pirate galleon.

Can you conquer the tricky uphill hole with a single deadly shot?

Do you have enough skill to avoid the obstacle blocking your way to the treasure?

Can you make that magical ‘hole in one’? But be warned…you only get the one chance!

sandworld

Lodmoor Country Park, Preston Beach Road, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 7SX

7 days a week from 10.30am between mid-April and the end of October

Sandworld is the international sand sculpture park at Weymouth’s Lodmoor Country Park.

In 2011, a new all-weather attraction opened on Weymouth’s seafront – Sandworld. Here you can see incredible sand sculptures made entirely from sand and water created by competing sand artists from around the world. Some of the sculptures are as large as a double-decker bus!

Weymouth sand sculptor Mark Anderson, who is well-known for his sand sculpting displays on Weymouth beach, teamed up with local businessman David Hicks to get the attraction off the ground. Mr Anderson also drafted in 10 of the world’s best sand sculptors to help him create Sandworld.

The sand sculptures are staged under a huge marquee and outside, under a canopy cover, there is an activity and sand play area so children can have a go themselves.

All the sand is from Weymouth beach, with permission from Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, and Mr Anderson said all the sand artists commented on its excellent quality.

Accessibility

Pushchair and wheelchair friendly.

Facilities

  • picnic tables
  • ice creams for sale
  • small shop
radipole

Map grid reference: SY671804

Visitor Centre is open daily 9am to 5pm (4pm in winter). The hide is open from 8.30am to 4.30pm. The Visitor Centre and hide are both closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Radipole Lake RSPB Nature Reserve is a great place to come, whether you are new to wildlife watching or an experienced birdwatcher. There are well-known birds at the reserve such as house sparrows, finches and robins, alongside rare birds like the Cetti’s warbler and bittern. On a typical walk you can even see seven or eight different kinds of ducks.

There is plenty for families to do, with specially-created trails, bird events and, during the summer, family activities such as pond dipping and bug hunts.

Spring highlights

In spring, the air is filled with bird song as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. Flocks of swallows and martins gather over the water to feed on insects after their migration from Africa. Warblers also arrive, including grasshopper, willow and Cetti’s warblers, blackcaps, whitethroats and lesser whitethroats. The reed beds are full of singing sedge and reed warblers.

Summer highlights

In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Hobbies can be seen flying after small birds and dragonflies, which they catch with their feet then pass to their beaks while still flying. Flowering plants attract good numbers of butterflies, such as commas, painted ladies and peacocks.

Autumn highlights

Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds – some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. Bearded tits become easier to see, with family groups roaming the reed beds and making their distinctive ‘pinging’ call. As the water levels are lowered in preparation for winter reed cutting, the mud attracts wading birds such as dunlins, snipe, redshanks and lapwings.

Winter highlights

In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm. You may see a bittern if you are patient – they will fly up from the reeds occasionally to get to different feeding areas. During cold snaps, water rails become much easier to see as they must feed outside the frozen-up reed beds. There is a large roost of pied wagtails in Weymouth and the birds can often be seen at Radipole Lake before heading into town for the night.

Marsh Harriers

The first marsh harriers to breed in Dorset in almost 50 years successfully raised three chicks in 2009 at Radipole Lake RSPB. Being only 10 minutes’ walk from Weymouth town centre, these marsh harrier chicks are thought to be the most urban of their species to fledge in the British Isles. The arrival of the parents at the reserve was filmed for the BBC television programme Springwatch.

Facilities

  • information centre
  • shop
  • refreshments available
  • picnic area
  • pushchair friendly
  • wheelchair accessible
  • pay and display car park (not RSPB)
  • toilets, including disabled, in the car park (not RSPB)
  • binocular hire
  • group bookings accepted
  • guided walks available
  • dogs allowed on public footpaths and bridleways

Entrance fees

It is free to walk around the reserve. Fees are only charged for use of the hide.

lodmoor

Map grid reference: SY688809

Open at all times

Bearded tits and Cetti’s warblers can be seen all year round, and the autumn migration can be spectacular with hundreds of swallows, martins and wagtails, as well as lots of wading birds.

Lodmoor RSPB has one of the largest common tern colonies in the south west of England, and the hide provides great views of their fascinating courtship and the chicks growing up through spring and summer.

Spring highlights

Little grebes ‘whinny’ in courtship displays and pairs of shovelers spin around each other, heads locked together below the water’s surface. By the middle of spring, summer visitors will have arrived: swallows, martins and by the beginning of May, swifts. The reed beds are noisy places to be, full of warblers staking out their territories.

Summer highlights

Listen for the explosive song of the Cetti’s warbler – a little like a wren’s song but even louder. Hobbies fly overhead in their attempts to catch small birds, causing havoc among the flocks. The tiny, stripy little grebe chicks can be seen out on the water with their parents.

Autumn highlights

Kingfishers are easiest to see at this time of the year, as young birds disperse from where they hatched. Bearded tits are also more obvious. Lodmoor RSPB is the perfect refuelling site for waders en route from the Arctic to Africa – you may see birds like black-tailed godwits, and green and wood sandpipers.

Winter highlights

Bitterns fly in from Europe during cold weather, but can be tricky to see. Grey herons stand at the water’s edge, waiting for fish to swim by within striking distance. Little egrets are more proactive and stir up the water with their yellow feet to entice small fish, worms and shrimps. This is the best season for watching wildfowl, with pochards, teals, tufted ducks, shelducks and gadwalls around the reserve. Marsh harriers can still be seen hunting over the reeds.

Facilities

  • pay and display car park (not RSPB)
  • group bookings accepted
  • guided walks available
  • pushchair friendly
  • dogs allowed on public footpaths and bridleways

Bowleaze Coveway, Weymouth, Dorset

All that remain of Jordan Hill Roman Temple in Weymouth are the foundations and the base of the walls, which are over one metre thick and enclose an area of about 80 square metres. The site is now owned by English Heritage and there is free, year-round access.

Amateur excavations in 1843 found coins that suggest the site was used in the 4th century, which was during the later years of the Roman occupation. However, finds such animal bones and bull horns suggest the site had also been used during Iron Age times. In the southeast corner of the temple, archaeologists found a shaft about four metres deep containing two urns, a spearhead and a sword in a stone cist at its base. Above this cist were deposited 16 layers of ash and charcoal, each containing the remains of a bird (including buzzard, raven, starling and crow) along with a coin and separated from the next layer with roofing slabs. Why these pagan offerings were being made so late in the Roman occupation of the British Isles is not known, as Christianity was already becoming established in Britain by this time. In the land surrounding Weymouth’s Jordan Hill Roman Temple were found the remains of around 100 burials.

It has also been suggested that this site may have been a late 4th century signal station.

Entry is free.

Barrack Road, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8UF

Various, see full listing

The Nothe Fort was built by the Victorians to protect Portland Harbour, and is one of the best preserved forts of its kind. Nothe Fort is located at the entrance to Weymouth Harbour and is a labyrinth of underground passageways and outdoor areas with stunning views of the Jurassic coastline.

The history of the Fort is explained through the many displays, exhibits and audiovisual facilities on the ramparts, gun decks and underground passageways.

You don’t have to be a military enthusiast to enjoy the Nothe Fort. It is a great day out for all the family whatever the weather – but beware, the fort is also haunted!

Facilities

  • Shop
  • Canteen and picnic areas
  • Facilities for those with mobility impediments
  • Dogs welcome
  • Parking (pay and display)

Opening times (2014)

Winter Opening:
Sundays only from 16th February to 30th March
11.00am – 4.30pm

Spring & Summer Opening:
Open daily from 1st April to 30th September
10:30am – 5:30pm

Autumn & Winter Opening:
Sundays only from 5th October – 14th December and Half Term from 25th October to 2nd November
11:00am – 4:30pm

B3157 Chickerell Link Road, Weymouth, Dorset DT3 4AF

Open 30th March to 30th September 2014, 10am to 5pm daily, closed Saturdays.

Flowering from late spring through to autumn, the national and international collections of water lilies at Bennetts Water Gardens near Weymouth create one of the most outstanding displays of water lilies in Britain.

Grass pathways lead you through the series of ponds and lakes, surrounded by wetland plants, native trees, palms, wild plants and flowers. Bennetts Water Gardens are a Site of Nature Conservation Interest and home to an abundance of wildlife. There are scenic places to sit and relax, as well as shaded woodland walks to explore. The Tropical House contains exotic plants, including a cacti collection. There is also a family nature trail to keep the younger visitors interested.

The museum at Bennetts Water Gardens describes the local history of Chickerell village (as mentioned in the Domesday Book), Chesil Beach and the Fleet lagoon. It also contains a fascinating history of the site from the brickworks and clay pits of 1859 through to the modern-day gardens.

Many of the original water lilies planted in the gardens by the Bennett family in 1959 came from the same nursery in France that supplied Claude Monet’s garden in Giverny. These same varieties that Monet painted are among the collections held at the gardens today. The Monet-style Japanese bridge was commissioned for Bennetts Water Gardens in 1999 to commemorate 100 years since Monet’s painting ‘Water Lily Pond 1899′, and recreates the painting of a bridge over a water lily pond.

Bennetts Water Gardens near Weymouth also have a gift and plant shop, a cafe and a licensed restaurant. There is free parking on site, and partial wheelchair access (weather permitting). Dogs are not allowed.