Winning over a legion of new fans as the host of the London 2012 Olympics sailing events, Weymouth and Portland are among England‘s most attractive seaside resorts, drawing thousands to their shores each year.
Weymouth, with its sandy beaches and rugged coastal cliffs is the perfect antidote to London’s urban sprawl, earning itself a stellar reputation among outdoor adventurers. Rock-climbing, paragliding, hiking and cycling are all popular ways to soak up the scenic surroundings, and the resort has fast made a name for itself as a water sports hot-spot, with kite surfing, water skiing and wind surfing all on offer.
A popular day trip from the capital, there’s plenty to do in the area and once you tire of the beach there’s a plethora of cafes, restaurants and music venues to unwind in. Pack a picnic, join in a game of beach cricket, explore the rocky inlet of Newton’s Cove by kayak or opt for a family pony ride along the beach.
It’s not just the windswept coastline and world class sailing that draws in the crowds; Weymouth also hosts a number of key events. Free fireworks displays and Beach Volleyball competitions are held throughout the summer months and the town also hosts the International Beach Kite Festival, a Harley Davidson Parade and a number of open-air music concerts.
Just across the bay is the ‘Isle of Portland’, a dramatic headland that forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage listed Jurassic Coast and is famous for its Portland Stone, the locally quarried limestone that many of Britain’s most memorable buildings, including the majestic St Paul’s Cathedral, are built from.
Located at the southernmost point of Dorset, Portland is also renowned for its historic port, originally built as a Royal Navy base and remaining one of the largest man-made harbours in the world. The historic ‘island’ isn’t only one of England’s most important geological landforms, the rugged hiking trails and harbor are dotted with a number of Tudor and Roman ruins and heritage buildings, including the 16th century Portland Castle, the 18th century St George’s Church and the remains of the ancient Rufus Castle.
The easiest way to get to Weymouth is by train, a two-and-a-half hour train ride from London’s Waterloo station.