“ Address: The Esplanade / Weymouth / Dorset / DT4 7AN / Telephone: 01305 785747 „
If you go to Weymouth for a holiday or short break, make your first stop the Weymouth Tourist Information Centre which is conveniently located on The Esplanade right next to their wonderful beach.
We found it quite by chance while looking for somewhere my Uncle could hire out a mobility scooter, although it's adequately signposted from all directions I hadn't noticed any of the posters or information flyers so only knew it was there when a Weymouth resident suggested they may have the information we were looking for.
The centre itself is a stand alone glass building, similar in size to a large Portacabin, which is very spacious and uncluttered inside. It's split up into two sections; one end of the building is reserved for booklets, maps and any other literature to help you enjoy your stay and the other end is a souvenir shop. It's very easy to make your way around the Tourist Information Centre as every thing is well signed, with the different areas of Dorset being labelled so you can find out what's going on in your area of interest. There are no steps either inside or out meaning this centre is ideal for any disabled visitors or families with prams, the staff will also tell you if there are likely to be any problems mobility-wise with the attraction you've expressed interest in.
Any UK holiday resort will have their own Information Centre which is specific to that area, although they generally give basic information on the surrounding holiday hot spots. Therefore this particular branch holds mainly Weymouth and Portland Bill literature, although you may find booklets of things to do in Poole, Torquay and other close(ish) areas.
The books and maps are well stocked and laid out in such a way that you can easily find and pick up what you're looking for. If, like us, you're not looking for anything in particular then this is where the Information Centre will really come into its own. I spent a few minutes browsing the 'What's On' section, which was extensive and interesting. It doesn't focus on any one attraction but gives details of local markets, festivals, live gigs and general things to see. Here I discovered the Greek Wine & Food festival which was being held in a large marquee within walking distance and I picked up a brochure which offered me discount 'taster tickets' for the festival.
I couldn't make my mind up what I wanted to do after sampling the Greek wine so headed over to the customer services point. I've honestly never known someone so knowledgeable about the area in which they live. The woman who was helping with enquiries at the time of my visit was absolutely brilliant, off the top of her head she listed several attractions which are off the beaten path and likely to be enjoyed by a completely adult group such as ourselves. These included trips to the lighthouse at Portland Bill, cliff walks and the Sealife Centre.
When I enquired about a specific activity my partner fancied doing, namely speedboat trips, she instantly knew who to contact and had telephone numbers ready and waiting so we could arrange it there and then on my mobile. Another thing I liked about the member of staff who I spoke to was the fact that she wasn't shy to tell me that an attraction I'd expressed interest in was, actually, a waste of money. This kind of honesty is fantastic as there's nothing worse than being disappointed with something you've done on holiday. She offered viable alternatives which I didn't take, but the suggestions were there if I wanted more information. She also handed me a copy of Resort 2006 which is a magazine packed with information about Dorset and Weymouth, this actually proved invaluable in our hunt for the mobility scooter so I was grateful.
Dotted throughout the Tourist Information Centre are other members of staff. I was very impressed with their enthusiasm and also the way they seemed to be able to accurately answer any questions. One elderly lady was asking for advice on coach trips and during my eavesdropping I heard a member of staff list no less than twelve different excursions without consulting so much as a map! And he wasn't wearing an ear piece, I checked!
The souvenir shop is great with a fabulous selection of products to suit all ages and price ranges. Everything is Weymouth branded and very reasonably priced meaning this should really be your first port of call if you're looking for something to really remember your holiday by. I bought the kids a model made of Weymouth sand, a thimble and two dolphin necklaces along with a framed map of Dorset and this cost £13.79 which really is great value for money as all the items are brilliant quality. There are also I Love Weymouth kids t-shirts, beach shoes, teddy bears and lots more to choose from with nothing costing more than around £10 - and this is for the big or exclusive items.
While you're in the centre look at the maps on the wall as this will give you a good idea of where you are and how far the various attractions are, any coach trips you're interested in can be booked here and also they can advise on local transport links. One useful service they offer is the 'Accommodation Finder' which is great for those people who simply travel and look into bed & breakfast/hotel stays once they arrive. Basically if you turn up at the Information Centre with your bags they'll check their database and find out where there are rooms available, these can then be booked directly from the centre and all you have to do is go and find the place using one of their very detailed and straightforward maps.
To find the Weymouth Tourist Information Centre simply walk along the beach in the direction of the Old Harbour until you see the big 'Tourist' sign which heralds your arrival at the centre. It's really that easy. But definitely go and have a look, otherwise you could be missing something exciting in Weymouth simply because you don't know about it!
Weymouth Tourist Information Centre
Tel: 01305 785747