Attractions Nearby Weymouth, Day Trips and Excursions
(Weymouth, Dorset, England, UK)
Around Weymouth you will discover a profusion of attractions, many of which can be found in neighbouring market towns, villages and hamlets. Part of the overall borough, the Isle of Portland and its many coastal attractions are just a short drive from Weymouth and its adjacent Chesil Beach stretches all the way to Abbotsbury and beyond.
The village of Abbotsbury has become an appealing tourist attraction in its own right, with its enormous collection of swans and exotic plants, while the nearby seaside resort of Lyme Regis is the place to come for some serious fossil hunting.
Isle of Portland
The Isle of Portland is often considered part of the Weymouth area and is situated approximately 10 km / 6 miles to the south. Around 6 km / 4 miles long, this island is linked to the mainland by the lengthy stretch of Chesil Beach and a narrow causeway. A popular place for bird watchers, wind surfers and those simply looking for a scenic coastal walk, one of the main attractions in Portland is the lighthouse, that is open between April to September and is more than 40 metres / 130 feet high, offering superb views. Also of interest is the magnificent Portland Castle along Wakeham Street and an additional, smaller lighthouse now used as an observatory for birds.
The small and appealing village of Abbotsbury contains a number of somewhat surprising attractions and can be found around 14 km / 9 miles to the north-west of Weymouth. With many charming thatched cottages and bags of character, attractions in Abbotsbury include a long Tithe Barn housing a smuggler's exhibition and children's farm, and the nearby Abbotsbury Castle, a triangular fortress sited on the village outskirts. However, Abbotsbury is best known for its enormous swannery, which contains a colony of more than 600 swans and cygnets, and also the Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, where lush and exotic plants and combined with beautifully landscaped gardens and large ponds.
Tel: +44 (0)1305 760 579
A popular beauty spot full of photo opportunities, Chesil Beach is a long and somewhat curving stretch of pebbles, around 29 km / 18 miles in length and linking the Isle of Portland to West Bay. The pebbles vary greatly in size, being considerably larger on the eastern side of the beach. Close to Weymouth, attractions here include scuba diving, snorkelling and fishing off the beach itself. The Chesil Beach Centre at Ferrybridge features a host of local information and regularly organises walks around the area.
Located around 48 km / 30 miles to the west of Weymouth, the coastal town of Lyme Regis was once home to one of the country's leading ports and over the years, gained considerable wealth from its thriving shipping industry. A popular seaside resort and rather elegant holiday destination, Lyme Regis is famous for its limestone cliffs, where many important fossils or dinosaurs have been discovered over the years. The harbour wall is a particularly prominent attraction and provides protection from the forces of the sea, being known locally as the 'Cobb' and featuring a popular marine aquarium.
The inland market town of Sherborne lies around 43 km / 27 miles north-west of Weymouth and offers an alternative to coastal attractions. On the eastern side of the town, the historic remains of the 12th-century Old Castle stand opposite the 16th-century New Castle, being separated by the scenic Sherborne Lake. The Abbey Church of St. Mary the Virgin is also worth a look and was originally founded in the 8th century.
The historic town of Dorchester is situated just 13 km / 8 miles north of Weymouth. This popular market town dates back to the Iron Age and the remains of an ancient hill fort are nearby at Maiden Castle. The town later became a Roman settlement and one of the remaining features is the famous amphitheatre Maumbury Rings. Famous author Thomas Hardy lived in Dorchester and his house, Max Gate, is now open to the public, while other Dorchester attractions include the Dorset County Museum, the Keep Military Museum, Judge Jeffries Hangman's Cottage, the Dinosaur Museum, the Old Crown Court and the foundations of a 1st-century Roman townhouse.