Wind: 9mph North North Easterly, Visibility: Good, Pollution: Low, Sunrise: 04:57 BST, Sunset: 21:26 BST
Originally a medieval fishing village, Weymouth began to expand during the 17th Century when it became the summer home of George III and subsequently a major seaside resort. 300 years later the town was to play a key role in the D-Day Invasion. Today its perfectly arced bay, impressive harbour and reputation for having some of the best sailing waters in Northern Europe has led to the town being chosen, along with it’s neighbouring town Portland to be the sailing venue for the 2012 Olympic Games. Worthy praise indeed for this most picturesque of seaside towns.
Indeed there always seems to be enough of time to simply relax and enjoy the glorious three-mile stretch of golden sandy beach and gentle blue waters or wander at your leisure through the fascinating streets of the medieval town centre. And there are plenty of opportunities for days out to be discovered around and about. To the south is the craggy ‘Island’ of Portland with its impressive harbour and magnificent natural splendour. To the west is the 18mile Chesil beach a prime spot for wreck diving.
As you would expect from a town that has been given the Olympic seal of approval, hospitality in Weymouth is first class, with accommodation to suit all and a selection of fine restaurants to rival the most exclusive of holiday destinations. There is also a bustling shopping centre with plenty of cafes and pubs in which to buy fine quality refreshments. To be honest there is little else you could ask for from a visit to a British seaside town – well perhaps a longer stay.
Dorset’s unofficial ‘island’ is actually a block of limestone 4.5miles long by 1.75 miles wide that rises 400 feet above sea level and is reached by a narrow causeway from Chesil Beach. Famous for it’s naval routes, Portland’s other historically celebrated industry is quarrying with the namesake extracted stone being used worldwide in the construction of illustrious buildings, including St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The year 2012 sees Portland set to enter the history books once again, when it will, along with neighbouring Weymouth, host the Olympic Games Sailing events. And who would ever question why? It is, after all, the deepest man-made harbour in the UK and quite literally stunning to behold. Portland Harbour is quite literally water-sports playground made in heaven and year after year people flock from all corners of the earth to enjoy the superb conditions and facilities for yachting, boating, windsurfing, waterskiing, wreck diving and fishing.
The main land based tourist attraction is the mighty Portland Bill, which is situated at the most southerly tip of the ‘island’. Built in 1906 and Standing 41 meters tall with 153 steps the magnificent lighthouse is still in excellent working order and offers stunning views of Britain’s Jurassic Coast. Portland’s unique terrain and situation also makes it a paradise for walkers, climbers, naturalists, ornithologists and geologists. In truth, anyone with a flair for adventure who’s searching for a slice of real life by the English Channel there is nowhere quite as impressive as Portland.