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450 years ago in 1571, the Boroughs of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis were joined at the command of Queen Elizabeth I, to form the Weymouth we know and love today.

Weymouth & Portland and the surrounding countryside are steeped in history with Vikings invading Portland – the first Viking invasion of Portland, and the Black Death being introduced to the UK via the trade ships in Weymouth Harbour.

Credit: Weymouth Museum

Despite this dark past, Weymouth has flourished and over the past 450 years this small town has been party to historic events such as the D Day landings or the world’s first underwater photograph! Weymouth has also hosted many famous and historical figures, from King George III who visited 14 times over the years from 1789, to Harry Styles who visited filming a movie on Weymouth Beach.

Weymouth is referenced in Thomas Hardy’s ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ as the port of Budmouth, it was the backdrop to Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ and is the home to locals that have been here for generations, or new arrivals looking for the perfect seaside retreat. Each summer the town plays host to holidaymakers near and far with the seaside staycation having a resurgence in popularity over recent months.

John Schlesinger’s Oscar winning adaption of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd was filmed mainly on location in Dorset with a number of memorable scenes including this one of Weymouth seafront in Victorian times being shot in and around Weymouth. The film stared Julie Christie, Terence Stamp, Alan Bates and Peter Finch.

Today, Weymouth is still home to a picturesque, traditional, working harbour. The Nothe Fort sits above the harbour, shielding the town from oncoming threat – and showcasing food fairs, events, and the town’s history.

Sandsfoot Castle Dates Back to Tudor Times

Locals and visitors sit outside an array of pubs and restaurants to enjoy coffee or wine in the sunshine. Weymouth Bay has affectionately been named Weymouth Bay of Naples for its soft sands, shallow waters and safe swimming conditions. The seafront and promenade remain a key feature of the town with hotels and guest houses looking out over the Bay as they did in the time of King George III.

To celebrate Weymouth’s history, visitors can travel through time following a trail of heritage plaques, installed by We Are Weymouth, throughout the town – highlighting historical events and locations. Visitors can also visit the Weymouth Museum to learn more about the role the town played in the Black Death, the D-Day invasion from Weymouth & Portland and everything in between.

Events to celebrate 450 years of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis joining together have been taking place throughout the town including flowers at Greenhill gardens and the Melway games at the Nothe fort. Do visit for further information.