Saturday, 26 March 2011

WEYMOUTH

Weymouth was reincarnated as Budmouth Regis in one of Thomas Hardy’s novels, The Trumpet-Major, and the town also featured in other books by him. One character called Eustacia Vye in The Return of the Native was particularly effusive about the town’s charms, declaring: “I was happy enough at Budmouth. O the times, O the days at Budmouth!” Hardy actually lived there for a while, at No. 3 Wooperton Street. There is a building on the sea-front which now houses apartments that used to belong to the brother of King George III. George III stayed there during his Grand Tour of the South West, and on several occasions thereafter. There are all sorts of stories surrounding the King’s visits to the town: that he was an enthusiastic sea-bather, using one of the earliest bathing machines, and that he was so revered by the local townsfolk that whenever he entered the sea the local band started playing the national anthem, and the bathing ladies of Weymouth reportedly had “God Save The King” embroidered on their belts. However, these stories have recently been discounted by a local historian, who has unearthed evidence that, far from lingering in the town to sample its bathing delights, the King was forced to leave in a hurry after an assassination attempt, and that the subsequent visits were prompted by a need to quell the activities of the troublesome local Republicans.

Since those exciting times, Weymouth has settled into the role of the traditional family resort with the arrival of mass tourism. However, there is now a new source of excitement in the town due to the fact that Weymouth has been selected as one of the major venues for the 2012 Olympics. Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour will be hosting the Olympic and Paralympic sailing events. Whoever was in charge of the building work for these events should be put in charge of the national economy: the work was completed ahead of schedule and within the budget, nothing short of a miracle in 21st century Britain.

Weymouth has many attractions worthy of its resort status. As well as the numerous shops, restaurants, bars and pubs the harbour makes a nice contrast, with a more traditional feel to it. At the entrance to the harbour is Nothe Fort built in the 19th century. Among the attractions aimed at families, one of the more unusual is an International Sand Sculpture Park called Sand World .

For a list of events in Weymouth and Portland, see here.

Map of the area.


File:Weymouth beach and sea-front - geograph.org.uk - 406323.jpg
Weymouth beach and seafront. Photo by E. Gammie, via Wikimedia Commons

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