The beautiful seaside and harbour town of Weymouth is situated on a sheltered bay at the mouth of the River Wey in Dorset, England. The history of Weymouth can be traced back to the 12th century when it was granted a charter by King Henry I, making it a free port.
In 1539, King Henry VIII offered the town as a wedding present to his daughter, Catherine Parr. The town’s connection with royalty continued into the 16th century when it was frequented by King Charles I and his queen, Henrietta Maria.
During the 18th century, George III spent many holidays in Weymouth, most famously during 1789 when he suffered from an illness now known as porphyria.
The Isle of Portland, which is only a few miles away, produces the sombre white-grey limestone that has been used for numerous famous monuments all over the world, including St. Paul’s Cathedral and the United Nations Building.
Today, Weymouth is a popular seaside resort with Georgian townhouses lining its famous sandy beach, the commanding Nothe Fort, and its quaint old harbour specks of colour splashed throughout its architecture and buildings.
Ready to learn all of the best things to do in Weymouth Dorset? Let’s get to it…
17 Best Things To Do In Weymouth, Dorset
1. Weymouth Beach
Weymouth Beach is undoubtedly among the town’s most popular attractions. The golden sand and clear blue waters make it a perfect place to relax, paddle, build sandcastles, go for a swim, or play on the fairground rides.
Rated as one of the best beaches in the UK, its accolades shine every year, consistently winning the Blue Flag award for maintaining its series of environmental, educational, safety and accessibility benchmarks.
Perfect for the whole family, friends and couples, there is also no end to choices of food and refreshments set back along the esplanade, sensibly set in front of the rows of graceful Georgian townhouses.
Beachside cafes, Fish and chips, ice cream parlours, donkey rides, the Weymouth Pavilion, and pubs and restaurants galore, you’re going to have no problem keeping the whole family fed and watered throughout your days spent on this glorious stretch of beach in Dorset.
How To Get Here: Weymouth Beach, Esplanade, Weymouth DT4 8DQ
2. Weymouth Harbour
Weymouth Harbour is the vibrant, beating heart of the town, with the Heritage Coast World Natural Heritage buzzing with life from the crack of dawn right the way up until the late-night revellers.
From the early morning fishermen setting out to sea, to the late-night party-goers stumbling home from the bars, there is always something happening here.
The harbour is also a popular spot for tourists who come to admire the boats, take in the views, and enjoy the fresh seafood. Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to relax or a place to party, you’ll find it at Weymouth Harbour.
Lined with cafes, pubs and restaurants, it’s easy to kick back and enjoy the sea breeze and salt-filled air while watching the life of the harbour pass you by.
And if you’re looking for romantic things to do in Weymouth with your loved one, then check out the Stone Pier Cafe for a romantic glass of wine sitting right on the water’s edge…it’s perfect.
How To Get Here: Weymouth Harbour, Custom House Quay, Weymouth DT4 8BG
3. Chesil Beach
Chesil Beach is a long, shingle beach in Dorset that stretches for 18 miles from West Bay to Portland. It’s one of the most popular beaches on the Jurassic Coast to escape the hustle and bustle of town with its crystal clear turquoise waters.
The beach is made up of pebbles of different sizes, which have been sorted by the tide over time. The beach is a natural defence against erosion and has protected the coastline from storms for centuries.
Its lack of development leaves this beach feeling more wild and natural, with parts of the beach as 100m wide at places. Chert, flint and quartzite pebbles make it difficult to walk along after a while but you can enjoy the views from the coastal path that runs along the rear.
It’s a great place to enjoy a seaside walk, with Chesil Beach acting as a natural defence from the exposed elements crashing in. This also means swimming can be challenging, so it’s recommended to swim width ways, close to the shore to avoid the strong rip currents lurking below.
If you don’t fancy dipping your toes in, then keep an eye out for marine life that often frequents this huge stretch of beach. Expect jellyfish, grey seals and even basking sharks and dolphins if you’re lucky.
It’s a lovely spot for a romantic walk later in the day, and one of the most popular cheap things to do in Weymouth for couples to enjoy.
How To Get Here: Chesil Beach
4. Nothe Fort
Weymouth’s Nothe Fort has a long and complex history, dating all the way back to the early 19th century. Construction on the fort was completed in the 1860s, and it was initially used as a base for coastal defences during the Crimean War to protect the Naval Harbour at Portland.
It served as an active military base until the Second World War, with two tiers of gun emplacements, and armed with 64 guns.
In 1955, the fort was sold to a private company, and it was turned into a tourist attraction. Today, the fort is a thriving attraction in Weymouth, providing visitors with stunning views of Weymouth Bay.
Visitors can explore the fort’s many rooms, tunnels and chambers, where you can learn all about the history of the fort through the many exhibitions. Then climb to the top to enjoy panoramic views of Weymouth Harbour and beyond.
The Nothe Fort is an exciting place to visit during your trip to Weymouth and definitely not something you want to miss. Make sure you stop off at the Nothe Gardens as well whilst you’re here.
How To Get Here: Nothe Fort, Barrack Rd, Weymouth DT4 8UF
5. Portland Castle
Portland Castle is a 16th-century artillery fort, situated on the Isle of Portland in Weymouth. The castle was built during the reign of King Henry VIII as part of his Device Forts programme to protect England from invasion by France or the Holy Roman Empire.
The castle has a fascinating history, and you can explore the many rooms, chambers and tunnels that make up this huge castle.
The audioguide with this castle tour acquaints you with the atmospheric dungeons, lurching towers and the stunning views from the top of the keep.
You’ll learn about a four-month siege during the English Civil War, the attempts to combat pirates from the 18th century, and how during World War II the fort became an ammunition store powering the Allies’ war efforts.
One of the best things about Portland Castle is that it’s located right on the coast just like all of the coastal forts, so you can enjoy panoramic views of Weymouth Bay and beyond with a plethora of photo opportunities.
How To Get Here: Portland Castle, Liberty Rd, Castletown, Portland DT5 1AZ
6. Portland Plateau Walk
Situated on the Isle of Portland, the Portland Plateau Nature Park is one of the best places to go for a hike in Weymouth. The nature park forms a section of the South West Coast Path that stretches the 630-mile passageway from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbour in Dorset, close by to Weymouth.
The Portland Plateau Nature Park covers an area of over 100 acres and is made up of chalk grassland, heathland and woodlands. You can follow the well-marked trail taking you through all of the different habitats in the park.
With a handful of interesting side trips, make sure you check out the Tout Quarry Nature Reserve and Sculpture Park with are all short deviations from the trail. There is also the King Quarry Nature Reserve and the Verne High Angle Battery with its gun stationings from the 19th century.
If you’re lucky, you might even spot some of the local wildlife on your walk, including the red-listed Dartford warbler and the rare silver-studded blue butterfly.
The Portland Plateau hike is a great place to come for a relaxing walk, and it’s definitely one of the best things to do in Weymouth for families if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of town.
How To Get Here: Isle of Portland
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7. Portland Bill Lighthouse
The Portland Bill Lighthouse is situated on the most southerly point of the Isle of Portland and has been an important landmark for sailors for centuries.
The first lighthouse was built on this site in 1616, and it has since been rebuilt and expanded a number of times. The current lighthouse dates back to 1906 and stands at a towering 80ft tall.
The lighthouse is open to the public, and you can explore the engine room, which houses the original steam-powered foghorn that was used to warn sailors of impending danger. You can also climb up to the top of the lighthouse for stunning views out over Weymouth Bay.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of the Portland Bill Lighthouse and its importance to Weymouth, then make sure you check out the Portland Bill Visitor Centre which is located just next door.
How To Get Here: Bill Lighthouse, Old Coastguard Cottages, Portland DT5 2JT
8. SandWorld Sand Sculpture Park
The family-friendly Weymouth SandWorld International Sand Sculpture Park displays sand sculptures created from Weymouth’s most prominent natural asset – the fine, golden sand.
Some of the sculptures at this indoor and outdoor canopy-covered park are as tall as double-decker buses. The sculptures are all produced of sand and water by World Class Sand Artists, who carved them from compacted damp sand by hand.
Outside, under a canopy cover of this seaside town, the giant sandpit offers everyone the chance to have a go themselves having been inspired by what they have seen.
There is an under 5s section with sit-in buggies, wendy houses, and all the buckets and shovels your little ones could desire.
It’s definitely something a little bit quirky to do during your visit to Dorset, and one of the best things to do in Weymouth for families with younger children.
Entrance Cost: Adults £6 /Children (4-16) £4 / Kids under 5 go free
How To Get Here: Preston Beach Road Lodmoor Country Park, Weymouth DT4 7SX
9. Sandsfoot Castle
Sandsfoot Castle is a ruined castle located just west of Weymouth town centre and is one of the best things to see in Weymouth if you’re interested in English history overlooking Portland Harbour.
The castle was built in 1539 by King Henry VIII as part of his chain of coastal defences known as the Device Forts, and it was later expanded in the 17th century.
The castle was used as a garrison during the English Civil War, and it was eventually abandoned in the 18th century, as the cliff it was built on began to crumble away and the stone was reused for other important buildings.
The castle is now managed by English Heritage, and you can explore the ruins and learn about its fascinating history.
Naturally, the place also comes with fantastic ocean views, much like a lot of these ancient landmarks within the Portland area and around the Rodwell Trail. Make sure you check out Sandsfoot Beach whilst you’re in the area too.
How To Get Here: 39 Old Castle Rd, Weymouth DT4 8QE
10. Greenhill Gardens
Weymouth’s seaside boasts of more than just a sandy beach and brilliant turquoise waters. The Greenhill Gardens is an award-winning garden made up of brightly coloured borders, meandering pathways, and a floral clock just waiting to be discovered.
The gardens, which are located just on Weymouth Beach, slope down from the beach and walkway, providing some of the best views over Weymouth Bay.
Greenhill Gardens are also some to a number of different activities including an 18-hole putting green, tennis courts and bowling green. And if you’re a fan of green space, make sure you check out Alexandra Gardens nearby as well.
Enjoy a peaceful walk through the vibrant floral gardens, grab a drink at Pebbles Cafe at the far end of the gardens and sit back and enjoy the magnificent views across Weymouth Bay.
How To Get Here: 33 Greenhill, Weymouth DT4 7SN
11. Weymouth Sea Life
The Weymouth Sea Life Centre is one of the best things to do in Weymouth if you’re travelling with kids. The international chain of Sea Life in Weymouth is home to a wide variety of marine life, including sharks, turtles, stingrays, and penguins.
You can learn all about the different creatures that call the park home through educational talks and feeding demonstrations. You can even get up close and personal with some of the animals during a behind-the-scenes tour.
The Weymouth Sea Life Park is also home to an indoor soft play area and an outdoor adventure playground and has pirate-themed mini golf which always seems to prove a hit with the little ones.
Insider Tip – Tickets are cheaper if you purchase in advance online from the Sea Life official website. Entrance will cost more if you buy them on the day at the ticket office
Entrance Cost: Standard tickets £21.55, under 3s go free
How To Get Here: Sea Life, Lodmoor Country Park, Weymouth DT4 7SX
12. RSPB Radipole Lake Reserve
Radipole Lake is located just south of Weymouth town centre, and it’s a great place to see some of the local wildlife. The RSPB Radipole Lake Reserve is made up of wetland habitats, including reedbeds, meadows, and woodlands.
The Weymouth wetlands reserve is home to a wide variety of birds, including bitterns, kingfishers, and reed warblers. You can also spot otters, water voles, and even bats if you’re lucky.
There are a number of different walking trails that you can follow around the reserve, and there’s also a visitor centre where you can learn more about the wildlife that calls Radipole Lake home.
Insider Tip – The best time to visit the reserve is during the winter months when the migrating birds are in town.
How To Get Here: Radipole Park Dr, Weymouth DT4 7TZ
13. Portland Museum
The Portland Museum is a great place to learn about the history of the Isle of Portland. The museum is located in an 18th-century townhouse, and it has a wide variety of exhibits on the island’s history, from its geology to its quarrying industry.
There are also displays on the island’s shipbuilding industry and its maritime history, as well as a section on the famous Portland stone.
The museum is open from Easter to October
Entrance Cost: Adults £3.50 / Children (6-15) £1 / Under 6s go free
How To Get Here: 217 Wakeham, Easton, Portland DT5 1HS
14. Fossil Hunting In Weymouth
The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site that stretches from East Devon to Dorset, and it’s well-known for its fossil-rich beaches. So, if you’re looking for unusual things to do in Weymouth, this might be just the ticket for you.
Although Weymouth may not be as well known as its neighbouring Lyme Regis and Charmouth, there are still some great finds to be had around here.
There’s a certain thrill in discovering your own fossils, and around the beaches of Weymouth and Portland, you might just be lucky enough to find a belemnite, ammonite, a tooth from a Jurassic shark, or even a fragment of an Ichthyosaurus preserved in the rocks.
For your best chances of finding something special, you’ll want to head to the cliffs at Langton Herring to the rear of Chesil Beach.
You can also check out the Kingbarrow Quarry and the foreshore on Freshwater Bay at low tide, both on the island of Portland.
15. Easton Gardens
Easton Gardens is a beautiful public park located in the east of Weymouth. The gardens were originally laid out in 1853 and have been awarded Green Flag status for its safety, cleanliness and accessibility.
There’s also a small playground for the kids to burn off some energy and a cut picnic area that gets busy on warm, sunny weekends.
Parking is easy here with on-street parking, and a little wander through these small gardens makes for a great break in your day or the perfect filler for a couple of hours. It might not fill the day up with activities, but it’s a fun thing to do in Weymouth for families and kids.
Insider Tip – The gardens are particularly beautiful in the springtime when the flowers are in full bloom.
How To Get Here: 11 Easton Square, Easton, Portland DT5 1EB
Best Things To Do Near Weymouth
16. Abbotsbury Swannery
If you’re looking for interesting places to visit near Weymouth, then the Abbotsbury Swannery should tick all of the right boxes for the nature and animal enthusiast, with it being home to more than 600 swans.
The swannery was founded in the 11th century by monks, who used the swans for their meat and feathers. The tradition continued until the late 20th century when the swannery was taken over by a conservation group.
The swannery is now a protected habitat for the birds, and it’s also open to the public so that you can learn all about these fascinating creatures.
During your visit, you’ll be able to take a boat ride through the colony, feed the swans, and even walk through a tunnel that takes you right into the heart of the swannery.
How To Get Here: Abbotsbury Swannery, New Barn Rd, Abbotsbury, Weymouth DT3 4JG
> Since you’re so close, why not check out my “20 Best Things To Do In Poole, Dorset” City guide
17. Durdle Door & Lulworth Cove
Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove are two of the most popular attractions on the Jurassic Coast. They’re less than a 30-minute drive away, making them the perfect day trip and one of the top things to do near Weymouth.
Durdle Door is one of the most popular natural landmarks in the United Kingdom. The limestone arch is located on the Jurassic Coast, and it is a popular spot for both tourists and locals.
The archway was formed over millions of years by wave action and erosion, and it is now a protected site. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the coast from the top of the arch, and there are also plenty of opportunities for hiking, swimming, and picnicking in the area.
Lulworth Cove is a secluded beach surrounded by towering cliffs and is only accessible by foot. Visitors can swim in the crystal clear blue waters here or explore the many tide pools that dot the coastline.
The cove is also home to a variety of wildlife, including seals, dolphins, and birds. Lulworth Cove is a beautiful and unique destination that is sure to excite any nature lover.
How To Get Here: Lulworth Cove, West Lulworth, Wareham BH20 5RH
Best Things To Do In Weymouth Dorset
- Weymouth Beach
- Weymouth Harbour
- Chesil Beach
- Nothe Fort
- Portland Castle
- Portland Plateau Walk
- Portland Bill Lighthouse
- SandWorld Sand Sculpture Park
- Sandsfoot Castle
- Greenhill Gardens
- Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park
- RSPB Radipole Lake Reserve
- Portland Museum
- Fossil Hunting
- Easton Gardens
- Abbotsbury Swannery
- Durdle Door & Lulworth Cove
- Bennetts Water Gardens
- Tudor House Museum
- Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens
Is Weymouth worth visiting?
Yes, Weymouth is definitely worth visiting! The town has a rich history with ample castles and forts to explore, along with beautiful gardens, and plenty of opportunities to find fossils. There are also many great things to do in the surrounding area, including the Abbotsbury Swannery and Durdle Door.
How long should I spend in Weymouth?
Weymouth is a great place to spend a day or two. If you’re interested in exploring the town and its history, we recommend spending at least one full day here. If you’re looking to add some beach time to your trip, then add on a few days and use Weymouth as a base for exploring the rest of the Jurassic Coastline
When is the best time of year to visit Weymouth?
The best time of year to visit Weymouth really depends on what you’re looking to do while you’re in town. If you’re interested in spending time outdoors, then the spring and summer months are the best time to visit. However, if you’re looking for a quieter trip with fewer crowds, then autumn and winter are also great. Just remember to bring a warm coat and umbrella if you’re visiting during the winter months!