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Weymouth Beach (Weymouth)
Member Name: jamiebeck
Weymouth Beach (Weymouth)
Date: 19/06/09, updated on 20/06/09 (376 review reads)
Advantages: plenty of activities, beautiful sands and clear water
Disadvantages: pier and pavilion need renovating
Weymouth has been my home all my life but having spent the last 4 years away at University this has enabled me to have the advantageous perspectives of both visitor and local.
Weymouth is a great seaside town with a pretty decent selection of shops (apart from mens clothing grr!), some very nice restaurants and a nightlife that can often rival bigger cities such as Bournemouth. The beach is the largest jewel in the crown of Weymouth and, without it, King George the Third wouldn't have visited it all those years ago and injected a huge industry of tourism into the town. The Weymouth I know and love today would be completely different if it didn't have its tourism business. In the summer it is a vibrant town with a great mixture of youth and maturity, elegance and modernism but in the dead end cold winter months it can be aptly described as a ghost town. As I mentioned before, I am a local and I, like everyone else I know, have moaned about the tourists in some shape or form but deep down we all know (or those of us who arent ignorant know) that we need them to survive as one of Dorset's and the South's most busiest towns.
Anyway...back to the beach, walking along it the other day and watching my feet brushing through the sand it made me notice, or rather remember, how white and soft the sand is and how clear the water is. So many beaches in the southwest are let down by this (i.e. Minehead!) and I'm sure it's the reason why so many of us are tempted by the greek islands, cyprus etc - because of the white sands, clear waters (and of course the greater chance of sun) but those people fail to realise that Britain does have its fair share of beautiful beaches. Cornwall especially, Woolecombe (Devon), Tenby (Wales)...the list goes on, I'm talking about Weymouth and it is consistently, year after year, winning awards and being ranked along side all those beaches. There are different ways to measure how good a beach is; surf? activities? family friendly?..etc. Weymouth doesn't tick all those boxes but for natural beauty it has to be one of the top in Britain. I will try and cover these topics and more in this review...
Weymouth beach is the host of many attractions; from motorcross racing, international volleyball tournaments frequenting there and there's always the annual kite festival at the end of May (not to mention Carnival in August). As well as that Weymouth Beach has permanent fixtures throughout the summer such as the famous Punch and Judy shows which is free to watch (donations welcomed), the pedalows which are pretty reasonable in price and they do let you go quite far out which is great to get a view of the beach and there's also some amazing sand sculptures towards the end by the Pavilion (usually based on current affairs - I remember an amazing Minas Tirith when Lord of the Rings: Return of the King was released). Kayaks, Canoes and deckchairs are also available for rental and exist in around 2 different places on the beach and are usually quite visible (i.e. a pile of them!). The list continues... trampolines, donkey rides, a small funfair all for kids all exist on this busy yet spacious summer beach!
In the winter, like most beaches, there isn't alot to do but if you have a dog or five it is a great place to walk them and let them go wild, if you don't mind them walking sand in and becoming a little damp, that is! Also, whilst walking it's always amusing to see the few brave (stupid) people indulging in some daring swimming.
---For the family---
As mentioned earlier there are plenty of things to distract the kids with apart from the usual building sandcastles and swimming in the sea. All are reasonably priced and it is something to bribe them with if they behave.
Obviously Alcohol is illegal on the beach (some nice bars being near by however) but you're free to bring sandwiches, cakes etc. If you don't feel like the hastle and prefer a treat there's always the numerous beach huts that run all up the beach up to the pier. These sell Fish and chips, Burgers, Hot dogs, ice creams and other snacks (a personal favourite is candy floss!). The smell of these run up the beach and is hard to resist for kids and adults! These too are reasonably priced because of the surrounding competition of the town but obviously if you have a large family it won't be cheap!
As for saftey there are plenty of lifeguards on the beach walking around and in visible red shirts with walkie talkies. As a regular on the beach for many years II have never seen any trouble and in general the council are very concerned with the safety to protect their own reputation. Further up the beach on the pebbly bit there are many rafts which mainly locals use but the council removed these a few years back because of safety concerns even though there were no incidents recorded on them. However this year they are expected to return! :)
For me, one of the disadvantages is the appearance of the old pier bandstand halfway up the beach past the Jubilee Clock (Victorian era - very pretty). It was a pier until 1985 when the seaward end bandstand had became too costly to maintain. It was subsequently demolished by two schoolgirls who, in the May of 1986, had won a national competition to 'press the button'. What is left today is quite run down and the occupation of it changes quite often. At present it is a Chinese restaurant upstairs and an ice cream shop / mini arcade downstairs. The restaurant provides average foos despite amazing views, the exterior needs some work on it and I've always been of the opinion that such a great location should be complimented with a great attraction / restaurant there. Alas no... for the time being at least.
If you are a keen surfer, don't expect any joy on the beach of Weymouth, although the winds can come directly from as far as Spain it is a little closed. However if you like sailing and surfing you can pop down the road to Portland (5 miles down) and you can use the facilities that the Olympics will be using in 2012 for sailing, surf etc, one of the best places in Europe, if you surf and sail you'll already of heard of it...
---Surrounding the beach---
All up the esplanade road are countless bed and bedbreakfasts and a few hotels (most notably the Royal Hotel, Gloucester Lodge...) which are handy if you are travelling down and want to be located nearby everything. Despite the great number of them, they can get fully booked quite quickly so it is worth booking ahead. At the end of the beach, separating it from the harbour is the esplanade curling round to the Pavilion, unfortunately this is often the subject of a much need renovation but it is still used to host pantamines, charity bashes and other shows in the evening. One day the council will stop arguing with the nostalgic locals and replace it with something that is both pleasing to the eye and useful to the public.
As mentioned earlier, about halfway up the beach is the Jubilee Clock, first put there in the Victorian era in honour of Queen Victoria. This is very pretty and one of the icons that Weymouth can be portrayed by, further up from this are some war memorials which are kept in very good condition. Occasionally there is a simulation ride that is parked by the beach and esplanade before the clock whcih I've only been on once but is mainly for kids. This is a bit pricey at around £5 for a 5-10minute 'ride', it is an option i guess....
If you prefer shopping when on holiday or you want a break from the beach there are also the shops a couple of streets back from the beach. These are worth a look with shops such as New Look, Debenhams, WH Smiths, Monsoon, Burtons, Next, The Works, Tesco, Boots...etc etc
A wonderful beach and something every local is proud of. Sure the winter months are less than desirable for any location in Weymouth but aren't they all? Plus with the sun, sea and nightlife in the summer, it more than makes up for it and can make for a great weekend away for teenagers, families or couples. Some locals get bored of it but after having been away at Plymouth for four years with no beach you soon become very aware of its greatness and you fully appreciate how special it really is.
Summary: a great beach for families, couples and teens