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Our first trip to Weymouth was in May 2013 for a week, I found myself sitting on the harbour wall watching the world go by taking in the beautiful harbour and quaint cottages that line it; I didn’t want to leave!

A short wander round into Brewers Quay and Hope Square brought me to Dream Cottages, and my excitement was restored.

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 11.48.39 Girls at Dream Cottages couldn’t have been more helpful,  I told them my dream of a cottage on the harbour and they fulfilled it with ease. An amazing array of cottages is on offer both in Weymouth and surrounding areas and I discovered that they also have other booking offices in Lulworth and Bowleaze cove.   I booked with them immediately to return in August of the same year.

Having just returned home, with much sadness to leave I wanted to share some highlights of our holiday…..

Weymouth Old Harbour

We are a family of four, 2 children aged 13 and 10, and we stayed in an idyllic Georgian cottage directly on the harbour, from Dream Cottages.  The Stunning views of the boats going by and life on the river, the spectacle of the Town Bridge raising and shutting and crabbing every day right outside the front door.

The Harbour is a fascinating place as we discovered on the Harbour Ghost Tour.  Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 11.49.11Our guide Dave Allen, we found runs the Weymouth Heritage Centre, located on the quayside, is the font of all knowledge and history of Weymouth and as I now know, Melcumbe Regis…The tour was really special, Dave arrived in his smugglers attire, he made it fun for the children, who were a little frightened by the end of the tour, but not too much which was good.  The sea mist descended on the harbour as it got dark and bats were flying which all added to the atmosphere of the ghostly tour.

Many an evening we spent crabbing and sitting on the harbour wall with a cider or two, watching the boats and listening to the occasional sea shanty on a few of the moorings.

Town Beach

One of the best beaches in the world I would say, the softest sand you could find and on a sunny day, laid on the beach you could be anywhere in the world ! Clean shallow waters, so safe for the children to paddle and swim. Sun loungers and deck chairs are available to hire at a small price, great food Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 11.49.58and toilet facilities are all very nearby.  Not the usual seaside you would expect with the amusements and arcades, the sea front is kept beautiful and true to its Georgian origins.

There is a little rowing boat ferry that will take you from the old harbour across to the beach side for just £1 each or 50p for children, and this is a great fun little treat.

The Sealife Centre and Weymouth Tower are well worth a visit, though expensive for a family best to look out for offers and kids free deals through supermarkets etc.

Outside Weymouth

Jump in the car and drive a little way out of Weymouth. After passing the White Horse on the hillside you will arrive in Osmington. A pretty village with a couple of good food pubs, a beach which is great for fossil hunting and our favourite and well worth a visit, Craig’s Dairy.  Their ice-cream is divine and all made there; you can watch the milk being bottled and see the cows overlooking Weymouth Harbour. A well stocked little shop with all sorts of dairy products and other little treats such as homemade jams and local honeys.

A little further down the road from Weymouth you will come across Ringstead Bay one of our favourites. It is a huge shingle and pebble bay which is great to take your dinghy or canoe as the water is calm and quite sheltered.  Another great spot for fossil hunting and a nice little café and again well stocked shop with lots of locally produced food and essentials. Parking is £5 a day but a little tip, if you arrive at 4pm you only pay £2. A quiet beach and the views are stunning.

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 11.50.21Lulworth Cove and world famous Durdle Door.  Lulworth is a quaint and pretty little fishing village, with some lovely shops and cafes and yummy cream teas can be had from several of the establishments.  A steep walk over the hill is available to the awesome sight of Durdle Door, but this is not for the faint hearted and I would say would be hard work for prams, wheelchairs and the elderly if you’re willing to give it a go, its well worth the1 ½ mile walk to the end which is simply breathtaking.

We visited Jurassic Kayak Tours   their shop is located in Lulworth near the car park. I was quite terrified at the prospect of kayaking, but the children worked their magic and convinced me to give it a go.  The staff couldn’t have been more helpful, they put my mind at rest and made sure we were all looked after and gave us 3 hours we will never forget.  We were kitted out with wetsuits, life jackets and helmets and I purchased a waterproof camera which I would say is a must.  No experience is necessary and after our lesson in kayaking in the shallow waters of the cove we set off for our adventure.  Making sure to avoid underwater rocks we navigated our way out of the cove and in to the sea.  We spent our time looking at the fascinating rock formations, negotiating the rocks and we had a surprise taster session of Coasteering.  This involves jumping off rocks into the sea, swimming through dark cave tunnels, all of which I bravely endured.  Our guide pointed out a Peregrine Falcon high up in the cliff on its nest and we saw the most unusual fossils on the rocks.  To top it off we had an “extreme picnic”.  Much to my surprise we moored up our kayak and all sat on a rock out in the sea, just big enough for the five of us and he produced a snack and drink…really quite an odd experience.  The whole trip was breathtaking and I would recommend it to anyone, will definitely return.

Portland – you can’t help but not notice Portland as it juts out on the end of Weymouth Harbour. I loved Portland some great views from the higher points especially at the Olympic Rings and the Jailhouse Café at HMP The Verne.  The café is well worth a visit, it is a lottery funded project to help the prisoners with getting back in to work, the food and cakes are all homemade and served to you in the café or outside by the prisoners who are a friendly bunch and all seem pleased that you are willing to give them a chance and have a chat with them.  The food is great, cheesecake to die for, views fantastic and all very reasonably priced.

A visit to Portland Bill lighthouse is also interesting, if you’re brave enough to climb to the top this is worth a go. Lovely views from the Bill and once again cafes and toilets are good.  Lots of fun clambering about on the rocks and climbing Pulpit rock.

I could probably write on for hours about places to eat and things to do, but I will leave you with my best highlights.  I think you can truly say I have fallen in love with Weymouth and the Dorset Coast and will be returning next year.

Kirsty Frost

Suffolk