Weymouth

First made fashionable by King George III who bathed in the sea here at his doctors’ recommendation, Weymouth has come a long way since. It still retains its antique charm, but has lots of modern attractions too. The golden sandy beach has lots of traditional attractions, like fairground swings, ice cream parlours, a Punch and Judy show and donkey rides (who doesn’t love a donkey?), whilst more sophisticated tastes will perhaps be satisfied by the Dorset Seafood Festival in July (not just seafood, but other local produce and drinks), or the Yacht Regatta in September.
Just off the coast here you can visit Portland, a starkly beautiful limestone island joined to the mainland by the astonishing shingle ridge of Chesil Bank. Sights include Tout Quarry, home to a big collection of carvings and sculptures; the lighthouse at Portland Bill set near dramatic coastal rocks; or you could have lunch in prison! The Jailhouse Café at the Verne teaches prisoners life skills, and gives you the change to sample simple dishes in stunning surroundings at the top of the island.

If you fancy more conventional holiday pursuits, Bennet’s Water Gardens give you the chance to imagine Monet’s waterlilies close to home – eight acres of beautiful gardens including a tropical greenhouse – best visited from May-September when the lilies are in bloom on the lakes.

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