Lulworth Cove, Weymouth, ReadyClickAndGo

What a lovely seaside town! Wide beaches with golden sands, calm blue water (there are no tidal currents within 2 miles of the shore), a charming esplanade of slightly faded Georgian buildings of guesthouses, once-grand hotels and cafes with an ornate clocktower in the middle of the promenade and a highly coloured statue of George III (Mad King George) at the end. Old ladies doze in the shade of the bus shelters, dogs dash, mad with excitement, in and out of the sea, everyone basks in the sunshine, delighted with the rare week of sunshine. Behind these is a cheering sight, the still-busy 17th century harbour lined with warehouses, sailmakers and chandleries, and filled with modern yachts and fishing boats unloading their baskets and nets. The original customs house and harbourmaster office still stand and best of all, there are no such heritage buildings converted into smart apartment blocks in sight.

Old Harbour in Weymouth, ReadyClickAndGoBowleaze Cove lies to the east of the town, the coarse golden sands of Weymouth Bay giving way to rocks. Overlooking it is an unfortunate fun fair and the Riviera Hotel, once a Pontin’s holiday camp but with higher aspirations nowadays since its £4million refurbishment. Along the top of the cliffs behind the hotel snakes the Coastal Path, constantly under threat from the crumbling clay and sandstone rocks – you can see great gashes in the ground that will soon form the new edge of the country. Although this part of the so-called Jurassic coast has fewer of the finds that the rest of the Dorset coast is famous for, you may still find ammonites at the base of the cliffs. You may also see small hills – these are ancient burial mounds, some of them dating back 4,000  years, and there are several hundred of them. If you look inland you can also see White Horse Hill, the figure of a white horse carved into a hillside, covering an acre. There are several of these in the south of England but this one is different – it’s the only one with a rider, said to be George III himself.

From here you can gaze down at the wild coves and remote, rugged bays, once the haunt of smugglers who would dare the dangers of the English Channel and the customs men to bring in their contraband and make their fortune. The Smugglers Inn in Osmington Mills stands at the end of a narrow track a short scramble up from the empty bay, and was notorious for years as the home to a renowned local family of smugglers – nowadays the only shady thing about it is the garden where customers can enjoy reasonably-priced food offered with a refund of the car park charge.  Down on the pebbly beach you may well be the only visitors – pick your way along to the WWII pillbox, a dilapidated remnant of the fortifications against the expected invasion by the Germans.

This is in contrast to the more spectacular but inevitably more crowded Lulworth Cove a few miles further along the shore. The tiny fishing village nestles in an almost completely circular bay with almost sheer vertical cliffs – it’s stunning to arrive by boat here but less so by car when you are directed into a huge, dusty car park and funnelled past the pub, fudge and ice cream shops, down to the jetty to buy a boat trip. The drive to and from Lulworth along country lanes through picturesque villages is very pleasant though.

 

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About the author: Tara

 

The travel professional with years of experience in the travel industry – in guiding, reservations, operations, contracting, customer service and product development – and have travelled extensively in Asia and Eastern Europe not just on holiday but also for work, inspecting hotels, visiting attractions and seeing exactly what each destination has to offer. The only way I could do this properly was with my own guide, car and driver and this inspired me to create my own range of customised private day tours for other people to be able to explore in-depth and learn to love their destination as much as I do.

Website: www.readyclickandgo.com