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Weymouth Tourist Guide

When George III dipped a royal toe into the waters of Weymouth Bay in 1789 he became the first reigning monarch to take up sea-bathing and ensured the future prosperity of this ancient town.

The Romans, Saxons and Normans all realised the value of the River Wey as a safe anchorage, and the harbour grew in importance when Henry VIII developed it as a naval base Wealthy Georgians followed George IIl’s example, and descended upon the town in droves. The results of their patronage can be seen along the Esplanade and in the streets behind, terraces of porticoed houses bow-fronted shops and inns and the elegant St Mary’s Church with its Classical-style clock-tower. This broad promenade curves gently around a sweeping crescent of sandy beach to the harbour, which took on anew role with the coming of the railway in 1857. The line was extended along the harbour quay, and Weymouth became a major port for the cross-Channel services to Cherbourg and the Channel Islands – sadly the Condor Ferry service stopped in 2013. In the centre of the Esplanade stands the brightly painted Queen Victoria Jubilee Clock Tower, looking like a miniature version of London’s Big Ben tower. The Town Bridge crosses the Wey linking the district of Melcombe Regis with Wyke Regis. On the south side of the river, in Trinity Street, are two early-17th-century cottages which have been made into a museum, and an inn of the same period. The rooms are furnished in Elizabethan style. Further south are the remains of Sandsfoot Castle, a blockhouse built to the command of Henry VIII in 1539.

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