Beaches near Weymouth
The county of Dorset is home to some of the most exquisite countryside, rugged coastlines, and popular seaside resorts with a history dating back thousands of years.
Now known as a fun seaside location and the third biggest town in Dorset after Bournemouth and Poole, Weymouth has a rich history of its own. Weymouth came to be the resort it is now thanks to George III's love for the area over 200 years ago. When visiting Weymouth from our Weymouth Bay, Littlesea, or Seaview holiday parks, you can walk along Weymouth's harbour and marvel at the quaint Georgian buildings painted in pastel hues while eating your fish and chips or stroll along the esplanade.
But there's far more to this terrific town than just beach huts and ice cream! Here is all you need to know about the beaches near Weymouth.
Beach walks: from Abbotsbury to Durdle Door
Situated perfectly in the middle of the famous Jurassic Coast, Weymouth is a haven for visitors wanting to enjoy the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in England. That's one of the reasons why we’ve got not one, not two, but three of our holiday parks close to the town. The Jurassic Coast is world-renowned for its golden sands, rocky cliffs, and fossil-rich earth. There are plenty of beautiful and interesting places to walk in Weymouth, whether you want a short circular to admire the architecture, or fancy something longer and more challenging.
You can join the South West Coast path, a national trail that's 630 miles long in total and spans 115 miles along the Jurassic Coast! Hike from Abbotsbury in the west, with its swannery, subtropical gardens and Iron Age Abbotsbury Castle (which are all shorter walks in their own right) and make your way east toward Durdle Door. On your way, explore Bowleaze Cove, Weymouth Beach, Ringstead Bay, and St Oswald's Bay.
The beaches in Weymouth and the surrounding villages vary in terrain. Weymouth Beach has a gently sloping beach and sands that make it perfect for a gentle stroll and a swim afterwards. As you can imagine, this is a hotbed of tourism! The adjacent beaches at Preston and Greenhill are more rugged with shingle and rocky terrain - ideal for a quieter amble with the dog.
Beach history: fossils, smugglers, and two world wars
Wondering where the Jurassic Coast gets its name? The answer lies in the soil and sand found there. The beach, which stretches over 100 miles, has fascinating geology spanning the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. If you're up for going on a fossil hunt, you can walk the beaches in Weymouth to find some!
Some favourite beaches for finding fossils are Ringstead Bay, a rocky shingle beach that's perfect for uncovering hidden gems. Up the road to Wyke Regis, you'll find Pirates Cove, another popular location for digging up fossils.
Speaking of pirates, did you know the beaches in Weymouth played a critical part in the history of smugglers? Weymouth had its fair share of smuggled goods come into the harbour, with the good folk at the time turning a blind eye to the trade. It's said that the smugglers' boats would sail up to Chesil Beach, lifting tubs of contraband like spirits and tobacco over the sand bar and into the fleet lagoon behind it! To learn more, head to the Smuggler’s Inn at Osmington Mills where you’ll tuck into some delicious food and drink.
Continuing the maritime theme, Weymouth is home to Nothe Fort, a sea defence originally built in 1860 to protect the harbour at Portland (Portland also has its own sea fort called Portland Breakwater Fort for the same reason). Sandsfoot Castle is also located nearby, built much earlier in the 1500s, but sadly it decayed so much that parts of it were lost to the sea. Both are fantastic for a family visit with plenty to see and do.
During the First World War, Weymouth took in many injured Australian and New Zealand troops to rest. In World War Two, Weymouth was the main location for the departure of troops to the Normandy Landings on D-Day.
Voyages across the Atlantic
On your stroll through Weymouth, you may spot the Clark Endicott memorial. What you may not know about this seaside town is that two of its inhabitants, Captain Richard Clark and John Endicott, set sail to join voyages to discover Newfoundland and Naumkeag in North America. Naumkeag you'll now know as Salem in Massachusetts, famous for its witch trials.
Thanks to George III, Weymouth is now famous as a seaside destination. After falling ill, he made several trips to Weymouth to bathe in its waters during the 1700s. Quickly, it became the place to be for the rich and famous and now, as you walk along the esplanade, you'll see his influence everywhere- from the impressive Georgian architecture to his magnificent statue along the seafront.
Beach attractions: Where culture meets the sea
Thankfully, these days the beaches in Weymouth continue to be the perfect place for fun and frolics. As any worthy seaside resort should have, Weymouth is bursting with eateries and attractions.
For a slice of English tradition, Fantasy Island in Bowleaze Cove is a must-visit. It's a traditional English funfair with rides, an amusement arcade, and plenty of fish and chips. To take the thrills up a notch, clubs in Bowleaze Cove can teach you how to kayak, paddleboard, or even coasteering if you're brave enough!
If you fancy something a little on the quieter side, take a walk around Weymouth Marina using the footpaths and footbridge over the water. You can even see the Town Bridge lifting every two hours.
All that exploring is bound to get your belly rumbling, so why not visit one of the many award-winning restaurants and cafes? Most cater for coeliacs, vegans, and veggies, and even welcome furry friends to join you as you admire Weymouth from the waterfront.