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Nov 2017

wey (river name) + mūða Old English (large) river mouth, estuary.

Population - 52,323.

Wetherspoon™s - The William Henry : Building once owned by Prince William Henry AKA the Duke of Gloucester and brother of King George III, no less (3/5).

Dorset Coat of Arms

Despite it being early November, it's still a busy seaside town centre so the parking's on the clock, of course. Too thrifty for three and too tight to fork out for four, two hours will have to do, besides, it's just a load of sand here, isn't it?

A beach is to be expected, naturally, but what of Georgian restoration and some ghostly goings-on? It'll be an uplifting experience but that's just bad timing and will have you waiting impatiently with one eye on the watch.

There's no sign, yet, of any knick-knacks and 'Kiss Me Quick' hats, just a Wilko™s on Westham Road that leads you to the front.

Weymouth - Westham Road Weymouth Beach and Esplanade

There, it's more your traditional seaside fayre with their impressive beach and esplanade and, if you scratch the surface, more reason to call themselves 'Royal' than, erm, 'Royal' Leamington Spa, say.

The Duke of Gloucester had himself a house here in the seventeen-ninety-somethings and it was around this time that George III started acting all, erm, erratically.

The king was prescribed some seaside air and, happening to be his younger brother, Gloucester put the muddled monarch up and some say the hydrotherapy helped.

Weymouth - King George III

George returned for another 14 years and the townsfolk thanked him with a statue for the invaluable PR.

 
The Gloucester (The Esplanade)

Gloucester's original pad, this grand, redbrick building was never large enough to accommodate all of the royal entourage and they had to find lodgings elsewhere. They're still able to fillet these days, it's a  'Steak and Seafood Grill', you see.

Queen Vic has also been rewarded, in her case with a clock, for some golden work, jubilee-wise. There's a statue of her around here somewhere but it's been inexplicably missed so head down The Esplanade to make do with Sir Henry Edwards.

Weymouth - Queen Victoria Jubilee Clock Weymouth - Sir Henry Edwards MP 'Edwardsville'

This liberal and charitable MP donated some dwellings for the downtrodden and elderly in ' Edwardsville' or, a block on Rodwell Avenue if you'd rather.

They're still being run on similar grounds for those without much in the way of life savings and all with the whiff of the almshouse.

 
Bay Royal Hotel (The Esplanade)

There's an almost inevitable royal association with the grand-looking lodgings on the front and George gave the nod to the name having stayed there himself.

Weymouth - Bay Royal Hotel

That was, however, before they went and rebuilt it 100 years later and advising trippers have been rating it  III out of V ever since.

Just across from Henry, there's some rather good sculpting in sand been done in a covered pod next to a portable cashpoint.

Weymouth - The Esplanade

This is just a taster for  Sandworld, a seasonal display on a much larger scale but you'll have to head north and to the outskirts for that.

The  Pavilion Theatre isn't quite as old-skool as first imagined and sits on, what's sort of but not quite, a pier. No, the end of the, what's sort of but not quite a, pier attraction here is something much more modern.

Weymouth Pavilion Weymouth - Jurassic Skyline

The rotating glass gondola of the  Jurassic Skyline rises 174 foot for panoramic views of the  Jurassic Coast and the English Channel. 13 people had to be winched off by helicopter when the thing got stuck in 2017 and what with that fact and what with these wobblies[1], what's that you ask? Of course not!

That would look to be town done, then, not unless some shopping's needed in an area that could, sorry Weymouth, just about be anywhere. You can do that just about anywhere so let's loop back to the car via the quay and the river that runs right through here.

[1] Yes, that'll be the old vertigo.

Whoa! It only looks like a picturesque harbour with a 17th-century waterfront has been found.

Weymouth Harbour

Weymouth is being greedy, you see, and doubles up as a south coast seaside resort and a picturesque harbour with a 17th-century waterfront.

The old Custom House might not be quite so old but it still dates from the time the Duke of Gloucester could have been seen hanging around the harbour when he fancied a fresh bit of fish.

Custom House, Weymouth Weymouth - Weyfish Ltd

The old fish market is still a fishmongers today and  Weyfish Ltd™ do just that although the much larger catches have to be taken to the whale weigh station.

Weyfish have competition on the dressed crab front over the Wey at Seas the Moment with some fine wordplay there by everybody concerned. There looks to be quite a bit of life across the river, actually, if only there was some way to get across?

 
Boho Gelato (St Mary Street)

Plenty of refreshment options along the quay and this one, just off, paddles imaginatively flavoured Italian-style ice cream. Why you didn't order a double scoop of peanut butter and salt caramel is because it sells out as soon as they churn it out and advising trippers largely give this one V out of V.

Of course there's a bridge but not just any old bridge, a classic bascule bridge as you nod strongly in agreement.

Weymouth - Town Bridge

The imaginatively named Town Bridge isn't all that old, neither, with the original 1930 hydraulics still all in working order.

It stops you in your tracks, on the hour, every two hours and provides access for the big masts at Weymouth Marina who are on the meter by the metre.

Weymouth - Town Bridge Weymouth Marina

Unlike yourselves who are on the meter by the hour and some of it's being consumed while you wait.

The wandering so far has been confined to what was once called Melcombe Regis and a succession of bridges have linked to what was the original Weymouth and Regis' great rival.

They combined in a QE1 Act of Parliament, no less, when the name was nicked and Weymouth crossed the river with the rebranding rather welcome. The residents of Melcombe were still harbouring the blame for letting the Black Death in, you see.

Over the bridge in old Weymouth, there's much more of a fishing port feel although most of the fleet now operates out of Portland Harbour.

Weymouth Harbour

The Cove Gallery, Sea Shell Cottage etc. emphasise the seaside and an award-winning Londis™ occupies a building that might be from the Tudors.

The Devenish Brewery used to be a staple in the south-west but closed in 1985 when it was consumed by some thirsty multinational or other. The old building opened as Brewer's Quay in 1990 and was sold as the 'Covent Garden of Dorset' but without the floating Yodas.

Weymouth - Brewer's Quay Weymouth - The Red Lion

They're still only managing to half fill it but that's considerably better than the  Red Lion even though, as you know, it's just tipped into November.

 
Tudor House Museum (Trinity Street)

The Londis™ might be Tudor era but only because it looks a little bit like this voluntarily-run, when-in-season restoration of what it was like to live as a 17th-century merchant.

The South West Coast Path heads along the quay and up to a piece of park, which runs into  Nothe Fort.

Weymouth - Nothe Fort Weymouth - Portland Harbour from Nothe Fort

That's Nothe as in rhymes with both and not as in rhymes with noth and used to offer protection for both Weymouth and the new naval base at Portland.

Napoléon III, nephew of the little fella, was busy building a second French Empire, you see, and a potential second conquering was on the cards in 1860.

The place didn't actually see any action until World War II when they had to point the guns skywards although a couple of vessels evacuating from the Channel Islands were nearly accidentally sunk.

Weymouth - Nothe Fort

With a 1970s luxury hotel idea not developing any further and following a short stint as a nuclear bunker, more restorative work by the Weymouth Civic Society saw things opened up to the public like they weren't busy enough with the Tudor House.

It's also a paranormal hotspot with one whistling artilleryman of particular interest to  Derek Acorah and his ilk. Not that any of this was known first hand but a different kind of fright was had... £8 each to get in!

 
South West Coast Path

If you're walking England's longest National Trail anticlockwise from Minehead, well done, you're about 560 miles in with just the 70-or-so to go and that includes not cheating by avoiding the fort. If you're coming from Poole, then it's still about 570 miles to Minehead.

The end of another pier is an option before Barrack Road leads back down towards the bridge. Now residential, the barracks in question were once home to nearly 300 lodgers back in 1801 and double that, these days, having just been on Airbnb™, right kids?

Weymouth - Nothe Pier Weymouth - Horsford Street

The navy, or at least the future of it, has a presence with a sizeable Sea Cadets centre before you come out at the back of the brewery and their big old chimney. This would once have caused a right stink but nowhere near as bad as when the plague was in town.

Back over the bridge, there's a little time left to do that shopping on a street that could, sorry Weymouth, again, just about be anywhere or to pop down a side street for a last-chance, souvenir 'Kiss me Quick' hat.

Weymouth - St Thomas Street Weymouth - St Alban Street

It's just a few minutes back to the car so today has been pretty much timed to perfection. That's a word that could nearly be used to describe Weymouth and it scores a strong IV out of V. That's a bit tight, actually, so, since they don't do fractions, it's doubled up to a IX out of X.

It would have been X out of X. If only Boho Gelato hadn't run out of that peanut butter and salt caramel ice cream.