After I had been in England for 6 weeks, my friend Nigel and I decided to go on a drive the opposite way down (well up really) the coast of England which I haven’t seen yet. We ended up in Weymouth then Portland before making our way back again. It was a lovely day out as I hadn’t seen Nigel since going away to Surrey and Bath and Bristol so a fair bit of catching up to do.
Weymouth reminded me a little bit of Dartmouth with the boats and the river leading out to sea, very pretty and beautiful views walking along the river up to the breakwaters. A patchwork of boats lazed in the harbour, from old ships to little yachts from dinghies to modern boats. My favourite was the wooden ship that reminded me of a small pirate ship. Kind of made me wish I was a pirate, I think I would have made an excellent pirate. Well mostly. Probably not when it came to a confrontation, however. But how often do pirates get into confrontations really?
Weymouth, it is very pretty and piratesque. And to make the pirate fantasy even better there is a fort at the entrance of the river which could totally hold treasure.
A spot of exploring was in order so after lunch (not bacon and eggs, I was well sick of bacon and eggs by this stage), we headed out for a walk. We walked past the rows of boats sitting peacefully on the water, past the stone buildings, mismatched and vying for their own space to the mouth of the river. Nothe Fort sits guarding the river mouth, although its stronghold has decreased with time.
Nothe Fort was built by the Victorians to protect Portland Harbour. It is one of the best-preserved forts of its kind. The Fort sits at the entrance of Weymouth Harbour and has a labyrinth of underground passageways and outdoor areas, it would have been fun to explore if we had more time.
Stretching across the river mouth lies Stone Pier, a pier first constructed in the 18th Century, perfect for walking along. The reward for battling the unsheltered winds are stunning views of the town beach and across the bay. The tower at the end of Stone Pier is worth a climb up, just hold tight to the railings in a gust.
A wee bit o’ history
Weymouth’s history is tied to its development as a port, the first mention being around 1100. Romans sailed up the River Wey to the Roman town of Durnovaria, or Dorchester as it’s known today. It is thought that it was here that the Black Plague was brought into Britain in 1348. Many of the townsfolk fled to escape infection, only spreading the disease further. Weymouth was once extensively used as a place to collect troops and materials used during the Second World War’s D-Day landings.
A colourful history for such a sleepy little seaside town.
Things to do in Weymouth
- Weymouth Beach
- Murder mystery themed Treasure Trails walking tour
- Sandworld sculpture park
- Nothe Fort, a well preserved Victorian fort
- Greenhill Gardens
After Weymouth, we made our way back to Portland. We ended up on a big hill and you could see right the way down Chesil Beach, which is apparently the longest beach in England (18 miles long, 15 metres tall and 200 metres wide) and is just shingle. Imagine walking right the way along that beach in bare feet. I dare you to try it. You could also see Weymouth where we had just been.
Nigel wanted to see the prison so we set out to find it. The prison has an interesting history, opening in 1848 with the purpose of making use of convict labour in the construction of the breakwaters of Portland Harbour and its various defences. Convicts became a tourist attraction, homeowners decided to open cafes from the upstairs of their houses for tourists to watch the convicts work. Nowadays the prison has become an Adult/Young Offender establishment and one of a number of resettlement prisons across the UK.
A House in a Hill
We came along a hill that had a house literally built into it. It is either very cleverly camouflaged and spies live there, a hobbit lives there or the hill decided to claim back its land. Maybe someone just wanted to build a house in a hill. Or it could have loads of underground tunnels and an underground village could reside there. Who knows? Probably someone but not me. I personally like the idea of a spy living there in a secret underground village filled with other spies and agencies. Rather exciting really!
I couldn’t find any information about the hill house, even Google couldn’t help a gal out. If you know about the house on the hill, leave a comment and satisfy my curiosity!
On our way to find the prison, we came across a children’s petting farm. It is seriously the least inviting petting farm in existence. It looked like a prison with high fences and get this, wire across the top. I mean really? Really?! Who wants to break into a farm and steal sheep? Or goats?
In fact, the prison looked more inviting than the farm. It was on top of the hill with nearly 360-degree views of the sea. Lush! Well aside from the fact that you would be surrounded by hundreds of fairly dangerous people. And bars. And barbed wire.
We found the prison but didn’t get a fantastic view of it from where we were. But, Nigel was happy so it was a successful day out.
Things to do in Portland
I loved Weymouth, it is such a pretty, picturesque town. Perfectly English. We walked out to the mouth of the river and along stone pier which provided beautiful views out to sea and across the bay. If you are ever in the vicinity, go take a trip.
Till next time
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