A weekend break in Weymouth, Dorset

by Jan

Have you ever wondered what to do on a weekend break in Weymouth?

Weymouth is one of Dorset’s top seaside resorts and has plenty to offer its visitors.  It’s halfway along the beautiful Jurassic Coast on the south coast of England.  Whether you’re looking for a coastal getaway, family attractions, or a trip to Portland Bill, you’ll find lots to do.

I recently had a fantastic weekend break in Weymouth with friends.  We were lucky with the weather, so got to enjoy the beach, but also managed to cram in many of Weymouth’s other top attractions.

In this post I’ll take you through our 2-day itinerary, so you can plan your own Dorset minibreak and discover some of the best things to do in Weymouth.

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Day 1 of Weymouth weekend - morning

Our accommodation was in a beautiful house overlooking the gorgeous Weymouth Harbour, so this seemed the best place to start the itinerary.  The historic fishing port is undoubtedly the prettiest part of town and one of the must-see areas in Weymouth.

Weymouth Harbour

Sailboats in Weymouth Harbour Views, Weymouth, Dorset, UK

Weymouth is a vibrant working port dating back to Roman times.  Today the picturesque harbour is the perfect place to hang out and soak up the atmosphere.

Start your weekend with a stroll along the waterfront, watch the boats arriving or just admire the pretty painted houses.

Seagull at Weymouth Harbour

With such picture-postcard views, it’s also the ideal place for lunch.  We stopped at Nanna Moon’s, but you’ll find plenty of pubs, cafés, and tea rooms to choose from.

Alternatively, order some fish and chips to eat on the quay.  It’s the perfect place to sit back and watch the world go by.  Just watch out for the seagulls – they are enormous!

You’ll need to cross Weymouth town Bridge, a lifting bascule bridge which connects the Marina from the town.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Weymouth’s maritime heritage, head to Nothe Fort at the furthermost point of the Harbour.  This historic fort was built to protect the harbour and was used for defence in World War II.

Day 1 of our Weymouth weekend - afternoon

Weymouth Beach

Without doubt the best thing to do on a sunny day in Weymouth is hit the beach.  Weymouth has a stunning bay, with miles of golden sand.  We were in luck as the sun was shining, so I didn’t need asking twice!

Weymouth Beach has been extremely popular since King George III made his royal visits in the 1700s.  King George raised Weymouth’s status as one of the most fashionable beach resorts and visitors have been flocking here since.

Today Weymouth still has one of the finest beaches in Dorset and is extremely popular with holidaymakers.  In fact, since we visited the Times and Sunday Times awarded it the grand accolade of “UK Beach of the Year” for 2023.

Weymouth Beach is very family-friendly, so don’t expect to have the beach to yourself.  On a hot day it gets very busy!

Donkey on Weymouth Beach, Weymouth, Dorset, UK

But don’t worry – there’s lots of things to do at Weymouth Beach and plenty of room for everyone.

Weymouth is a quintessential seaside town with all the traditional attractions you’d expect.  You can watch a Punch and Judy puppet show, ride a donkey, or go on the rides.  Weymouth also has its own seafront fun fair, with family favourites such as the Helter-Skelter and Bungee Trampolines.  Or, you take a visit to Sandworld, Weymouth’s sand sculpture exhibition.

However, for me it was a sunny weekend without kids, so I was all about the sunbathing and swimming.  One of the reasons Weymouth Beach is so family-friendly is the calm sea and clear water.  When the tide goes out the water is shallow and perfect for a dip.  The water is extremely clean and surprisingly warm (ish!)

If you don’t fancy a swim, you can hire pedalos and kayaks from the beach.  Or, if you’re feeling energetic, book yourself a paddleboard lesson.  If it’s good weather, the beach is most definitely one of top attractions for weekend breaks in Weymouth.

If it’s a rainy day in Weymouth, you could visit the Sea Life Centre.  This large aquarium has indoor and outdoor exhibits and is home to over 2,500 creatures.  It also offers other family attractions such as well as a pirate mini golf and Caribbean Adventure playground.

After an afternoon on the beach, head to Rossi’s on the Georgian Esplanade for some scrumptious ice-cream.  The Esplanade runs parallel to the beach and is home to some of Weymouth’s most elegant Georgian houses.  It also offers some great facilities, such as toilets, deckchairs, and windbreaks.

Day 1 of our Weymouth weekend - evening

Hope Square

Now you really can’t go on a weekend break in Weymouth without sampling some of the nightlife.

On our first evening , we headed back to the Harbour for dinner.  Hope Square (near Cove Street) has several quieter restaurants in a tranquil setting opposite The Brewers Quay.  We had tapas in the Crow’s Nest, or you could head next door to The Red Lion pub.

Afterwards, it was back across the river for cocktails in town!  Our favourites were at the Kika Beach Bar and The George Inn, but there’s plenty of choice of cocktail bars.

Don’t leave it too late to go out.  A lot of the restaurants shut their kitchens at 9pm and some of the bars close early too.

Day 2 of our Weymouth weekend - Isle of Portland

Isle of Portland

Day two of our Weymouth weekend itinerary is all about exploring the Isle of Portland.

The Isle of Portland is a tied island linked to Weymouth by the Portland Beach Road.  The area has been providing limestone to famous buildings around the world for many years.  Take a look at St Paul’s Cathedral next time you’re there!

It takes about 20 minutes to drive from Weymouth and you can park by the Lighthouse.   The Lobster Pot Café is directly opposite the car park, so we made a quick stop for coffees before setting off to explore.

Portland Bill

View of Red and White Portland Bill Lighthouse over rocks

At the southernmost tip of the Isle of Portland is the iconic red and white Portland Bill lighthouse.  They built the lighthouse as a guide for ships navigating the precarious waters around the Bill.

Today, a visit to the the lighthouse is one of the best things to do at Portland Bill.  Tour guides will show visitors to the  top  to discover more about the history of the iconic landmark.  Unfortunately, we’d just missed a tour, so had to admire from afar.

Our next stop was the Trinity House Obelisk, a large monument standing at the top of the cliffs.  It was built in 1844, to warn ships off the hazardous rocks at the end of Portland Bill.

Pulpit Rock

woman standing on Pulpit Rock, Portland

A short walk to the west of Portland Bill Lighthouse leads to Pulpit’s Rock, one of the most famous landmarks near Weymouth.  Jutting out from the Jurassic coastline, this unique rock formation is an artificial sea stack.  A quarry man formed the rock after cutting away the original natural limestone arch.

If you are feeling adventurous, you can climb the rock.  Take care, as it can be extremely dangerous and definitely isn’t something you should do in bad weather conditions.

However, as it was another sunny day, the inner mountain goat took over.  Within minutes I was soon scrambling up the rock face.  Going up is made easier by some steps in the stone and is far trickier on the descent!

If you have time, you could visit Tout Quarry Reserve and Sculpture Park.  This abandoned quarry has been transformed into an interesting sculpture park, with lots of unusual art pieces and is one of the top attractions on Portland Bill.

The Olympic Rings Statue & Chesil Beach

The Olympic Rings Statue, Chesil

For some of the most magnificent views in Weymouth, head to the viewing point by the Olympic Rings Statue.  The statue commemorates the hosting of the Olympic sailing events in Portland Harbour in 2012.

From the viewpoint you can look out over Chesil Beach and Portland Harbour.   If you are staying longer, this would be a fantastic spot to watch the sunset.

To your left you’ll see Chesil Beach, a unique landmark on the West Dorset Heritage Coast.  Chesil Beach is a shingle beach which stretches for 18 miles.  It is bordered by the Fleet, Europe’s largest tidal lagoon.

Billy Winter's Beach Bar

Billy Winters Beach Bar, Chesil Beach, Dorset, UK

The last stop on our Weymouth weekend break was at Billy Winters Bar on the Portland Beach Road.

Billy Winters is a beach shack restaurant/bar with a laid-back retro vibe.  It has everything you need from a beach bar – good cocktails, a tasty menu and views looking over the beach.  What a perfect ending to my weekend getaway in Weymouth.

Practical information for your visit to Weymouth

Accommodation in Weymouth

Being such a popular seaside town, you’ll find a good choice of accommodation in Weymouth to suit all budgets.

We stayed in Trinity Road by Weymouth Quay, which has several excellent self-catering accommodations overlooking the harbour.  You could try the Old Quayside View or Tradewinds, both of which have an excellent location.

If you prefer to stay in a hotel, you’ll find plenty along the Esplanade facing the beachfront.  Click here for prices and availability at Chapter 1 Hotels or the Hotel Rex.

See below for more Weymouth holiday accommodation on Booking.com.

Getting to Weymouth

Visiting Weymouth by car

Weymouth is in Dorset in the middle of the south coast of England.

You can drive there from Surrey or London on the M3 and M27.  This route will take you through the pretty New Forest and takes about 2.5 hours.

Visiting Weymouth by Public Transport

If you are travelling by public transport, regular trains operate between London Waterloo and Weymouth.  The journey takes under 3 hours.  The train station is a short walk from the town centre and beach.

Weymouth parking information

There is limited parking by the harbour, but you’ll find plenty of car parks within walking distance of the beach.

Things to do near Weymouth

Swans feeding at Abbotsbury Swannery, Dorset, UK

Weymouth has a prime location on the south coast and you’ll find plenty of things to do nearby.

If you like animals, Weymouth is just a short drive from the lovely Abbotsbury Swannery or Monkey World.  Or, for history-lovers, another of the best places to visit near Weymouth is Corfe Castle.

Dorset has an awe-inspiring coastline, with many fantastic walks.  You could walk from the iconic Durdle Door to Lulworth Cove or do a short walk out to Old Harry Rocks.

Click here for our full guide to the best things to do on the Jurassic Coast.

We hope this helps you plan your own Weymouth minibreak?  We would love to hear your comments below.

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