Monday, 11 April 2011


As you gaze across Bowleaze Cove, looking towards the east, your eyes cannot help but be drawn towards a rather startling long, low blue and white building in a distinctly dated architectural style, with a two rows of arches and a strange little tower in the middle. This building, which completely dominates the east side of the bay, is the Riviera Hotel, built in the 1940s, and operated for several decades by the “holiday camp” company Pontins. It is meant to be Spanish-style, but I don’t recall seeing anything quite like it in Spain. Still, it’s an interesting architectural relic all the same.

This spot on the Dorset coast had its moment of fame in the art world when John Constable painted “Weymouth Bay: Bowleaze Cove and Jordon Hill” in 1816-17. It is a slightly moody view of the bay, with angry-looking black and grey clouds rising up from the horizon. The painting is housed in the National Gallery in London. Jordan Hill, the hill named as Jordon Hill by Constable, houses the remains of a 4th century Romano-Celtic temple.

Map of the area.

File:Bowleaze Cove - - 1444209.jpg
Photo by Andrew auger, via Wikimedia Commons

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