With a Local: Weymouth, Dorset

This edition of the With a Local series is from Weymouth, Dorset. Photographer, travel writer and videographer Geoff Moore has resided in Weymouth for more than 30 years. He’s agreed to provide his insider tips to enrich visits by readers of Go Eat Do.

Geoff moved to the Dorset town to work for the local newspaper. “That finished a long time ago now but I’m still there because it’s such a gorgeous place to live,” he said before answering questions whose answers provide local suggestions as to places to visit and things to do:

Why should people visit Weymouth?

It’s one of those unsung destinations, really. It’s on the south coast. It has a gorgeous Regency seafront with a wonderful beach in front of it, and extremely safe bathing.

It’s ideal for young families and also ideal for the older visitor, because it’s very flat and has easy access around the town, which sits just behind the beach.

The population is around 50,000, with the town of Portland, nearby, it’s probably up to 65 to 70,000.

Regency Seafront, Weymouth, Dorset
Good for a stroll…The Regency seafront in Weymouth, Dorset.

What is your favourite place in Weymouth?

It has to be the beach — without a doubt. You’ve got this incredible Regency backdrop of buildings and it’s a lovely curving, sweeping beach, and everything is very close.

Where would you take a guest for a meal?

There’s a couple of really good restaurant in Weymouth itself or very close.

In Weymouth there’s a restaurant called Mallam’s (5 Trinity Road; tel. 01305 776 757). It’s on the harbourside. It’s been there for years. It’s got a really good reputation, a good seafood and has good all-round choice on the menu. I tend to go for the freshest seafood, as it comes in on the harbour, next door. It’s probably best to go for whatever is freshest and local on the menu.

The other place is called the Crab House Café (Ferrymans Way: tel. 01305 788 867) which is, as the name suggests, a cracking place for crab, lobster and seafood in general. It’s on the edge of the town. It’s delightfully shabby chic in style and overlooks Chesil Beach.

Fish, Mitch Tonks
A fish dish prepared by chef Mitch Tonks.

Where do you recommend for a drink?

Weymouth has an abundance of small, typical pubs in along the harbourside. But there’s also a good number of small coffee shops and those sort of premises which are now coming on stream, because town shops are closing and they’ve been replaced, it seems, by coffee shops, hairdressers and nail bars.

There’s a delightful little coffee shop, the Coffee Saloon (2 Grand Parade) — it’s very, very small — an intimate little place to gather that’s serving some really excellent Central American coffee from El Salvador, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. It’s friendly, intimate and quirky part of a small local chain.

What is you favourite legend or piece of history is associated with Weymouth?

Weymouth has the starring role in introducing the Black Death to the country!

It was through Weymouth that a sailor first came ashore with the Black Death in 1348 and the rest is history.

One other Weymouth highlight is the Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival. It’s a stunning two-day event of seafood being cooked and prepared all around the harbour. Probably 60 outlets where you can try dozens and dozens of different seafood dishes. It’s visited by celebrity chefs, it’s free and is a fantastic two-days seafood experience.

Mat Follas, Chef, Geoff Moore
MasterChef winner Mat Follas and Geoff Moore with a cook book they both worked on.

If people have an extra day or two in the area, what would you recommend?

A visit to the Isle of Portland is certainly well worth it. It’s a chance to find out more about Portland stone and where it’s used. It’s used in buildings like Buckingham Palace, the Bank of England and in Whitehall. Those principal buildings around London, including St Paul’s Cathedral, are all made with Portland stone.

You can find out about the stone, the quarries, and how the stone got there. You can also try your hand and some stone carving yourself.

Other things to do around the area would be sisits to places like Lulworth Cove, where you can get your glimpse of the folded strata of the Jurassic Coast. Then you can move on to places like Lyme Regis and Charmouth, which are all part of the Jurassic Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The area is also the former home of Thomas Hardy. The Hardy novels are all written in the county and about the county. You can find numerous locations mentioned in the Hardy books. I live in what he called Budmouth Regis.

Portland, Dorset, Island
Portland in Dorset, an island made of Portland stone.

Useful books about Dorset

You may find these books useful. Click on the pictures of the covers to buy them via Amazon.

Pub Walks in Dorset is by Anne-Marie Edwards:

Dorset, written by Alexandra Richards, is part of the Bradt Slow Travel series of guidebooks:

Dorset: A Dog Walker’s Guide is by Nigel Vile:

Further information

Find out more about the town on the We Are Weymouth and Visit Dorset websites.

Illustrating photos are by Geoff Moore. See travel stories by Geoff on his blog, The Travel Trunk.

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