Weymouth was one of England’s first official seaside resorts, and today remains a popular destination on the southwest coast in Dorset. Located at the mouth of the River Wey, it’s the county’s third largest town after Bournemouth and Poole. Its neighbour Melcombe Regis is believed to be the port where the Black Death arrived in England, in the 14th century. Queen Elizabeth I combined the two towns in 1571. Over 100 years later, many boarded a ship to sail to North America (which is why there are towns called Weymouth in Massachusetts and Nova Scotia.
One fan was King George III (the first to use English as his first language and who bought what is now Buckingham Palace). He took holidays there over 10 times during his life. Another local was the writer Thomas Hardy, who worked for an architect and wrote part of his book Under the Greenwood while living there. The local MP was another architect (Christopher Wren, who designed St Paul’s Cathedral, made from local Portland stone). The Georgian terraces on the esplanade may look familiar, that’s because they were built in the same style as the famed Royal Crescent in Bath (often used in period dramas).
Greenhill Gardens offer a bright-coloured serenity to look out across Weymouth Bay. Built in 1902 for the benefit of local residents, there was uproar of a plan (later shelved) to build a restaurant on the old tennis courts. The most popular feature is the floral clock. Built in 1936, it chimes like a cuckoo clock. The original clockhouse still stands, holding the mechanism to keep it ticking!