Duchess of Cambridge attends watersports event in white blazer
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Celebrating 10 years since Weymouth and Portsmouth hosted the 2012 Olympic Sailing events, I was lucky enough to be invited by We Are Weymouth in light of their latest campaign We Are Active to uncover some of the most exciting activities that this coastal town has to offer. As well as jet skiing, sailing and the lesser known high thrill activity of fliteboarding, Weymouth is dripping with history, with George III one its most famous regular visitors. It also boasts a buzzing nightlife and some of the freshest seasfood to eat.
The first stop on the three-night trip was to check into the accommodation. Along the seafront you will find a plethora of boutique bed and breakfasts with quirky names, and some with quirky decor.
One of the most modern and welcoming is The Gresham Hotel, where we were greeted warmly by owner Louise, who took on the property with her husband Steve and children in February 2021.
Awarded a Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Award in 2022 it is not hard to see why. The plentiful double room and ensuite celebrated both the original 1827 elements of the guest house, as well as adding a touch of modern luxury to make sure every guest is catered for.
As with every bed and breakfast one of the most defining elements is of course the breakfast, and The Gresham Hotel does not disappoint. With a daily online form that comes direct to your phone, guests are able to choose from a full English fry up, toast and condiments or a more continental breakfast, with a range of cereals, fruit, yoghurts and pastries served fresh daily.
After breakfast it was a quick trip back to the room, all 12 of which were fully equipped with Wi-Fi, a hair dryer and tea and coffee making facilities, before we set off for our first water sports activity of the trip.
Paddle boarding and fliteboarding
First up on our trip was paddle boarding at The Official Test Centre (OTC), located on the Isle of Portland, which marks the most southern point on the Jurassic Coast, joined to the mainland by Chesil Beach.
With a tagline of “Watersports Made Easy”, the staff at the OTC were experts in making two absolute beginners feel safe, informed and excited at the prospect of taking to the calm and beautiful waters of the harbour.
After a relaxing and almost restorative trip out on a paddleboard, yes this reporter even managed to stand up on the board, we were thrown into the deep end by being offered to try fliteboarding.
Described as an “extreme water sport” it is also one of the newest and coolest out there, with the OTC the first authorised Fliteschool in the UK. The concept seems simple, mount an electronic board, click the remote up a couple of gears and fly silently over the water as you get the board to foil out of the water.
But with maximum speeds of up to 26 knots and a complete beginner on the controls, even staying on the board was tricky. Despite the wobbly start it wasn’t long before this reporter was getting up to gear five and cruising through Weymouth harbour standing on the electronic board.
To make the experience even more thrilling there were glimpses of dolphins. The creatures are regular visitors in the harbour who seem to enjoy the ripples on the water created by the fliteboard.
After an exhausting but incredibly exciting two hours, this reporter can safely say fliteboarding was one of the best experiences she has ever tried and without a doubt a must try if you visit Weymouth.
The next day we were back in Portland again, this time to experience the world renowned sailing facilities that hosted some of the Olympic sailing events at London 2012.
The Andrew Simpson Centre is the company’s flagship centre and boasts perfect conditions for sailing nearly all year round due to its location in the enclosed, but large harbour. Once more the extremely friendly staff made sure we had all the kit before we headed back out on the water, with a trained instructor in the boat with us.
In a double-handed boat we learnt all the basics of sailing and by the end were able to confidently make the boat turn and use the direction of the wind, plus the direction of the sail to control how fast we were going. This three-hour excursion was made all the more enjoyable by the extremely knowledgeable instructor who was not only able to teach us the ropes, but give us a brief history on Weymouth harbour and all the activities they offer.
A slightly more relaxed activity, but still as enjoyable, sailing at The Andrew Simpson Centre is perfect for those completely new to the sport, for those seeking to hone in their skills and for expert sailors who want to experience life on the water in one of the most unique settings.
With all the activities, this reporter certainly worked up an appetite, and Weymouth’s selection of restaurants and food certainly did not disappoint. A visit to any seaside town would not be complete without a fish and chip supper, so the first night we visited award winning restaurant Fish ‘n’ Fritz.
Located on Market Street, before even tasting the food we knew we were onto a winner due to the queue of hungry customers that wrapped round the building. If the numerous accolades to its name are not enough, the only thing this reporter can say is that my travel companion said it was the “best fish and chips” she had ever had.
Continuing our glorious food journey around Weymouth, we stopped for dinner at Les Enfants Terribles, established in 2016 by Chef Eric Tavernier. With seafood that comes straight from the Harbourside, this charming restaurant delighted the tastebuds from start to finish.
The varied menu boasts highlights such as Poole Oysters With Shallot Dressing, Chicken Stuffed With Goat’s Cheese Wrapped In Parma-Ham and Chef Eric’s signature dish, Whole Baked Sea-Bass In Foil Papilotte (Filleted), a must try if you visit.
When asked, Chef Eric said that what attracted him to take over the restaurant in Weymouth about seven years ago, he said it was the freshness of the fish, which just cannot compare to anywhere in London, where he worked for 20 years of his career.
Last but most certainly not least we tried Hatch on the Harbour, seafood served from a small hatch with casual tables on the quay. With the hashtag #seafoodstreetfood, everything on the menu is made from scratch using the finest local ingredients.
Having wanted to try everything, menu highlights included the crab tacos with kimchi and gochujang aioli and the fried salmon burger served with pickled shallots, baby gem lettuce, paprika aioli topped with a brioche bun. Albeit the salmon burger being a tad salty, the food was stunning, and the quiet location and unique way they serve the food made this a highlight of the trip.
This three-day non stop trip to Weymouth highlighted some of its most excellent activities, hotels and restaurants, but the scenery alone should be enough to make you book a stay. And of course Weymouth has got plenty more to offer.
If watersports are not your thing, perhaps try a ghost walk or take a trip on the heritage trail. Discover the history of Weymouth with a trip to the Nothe Fort or Tudor House. Overall, staying active in Weymouth is never going to be a struggle and this reporter for one shall definitely be returning to this stunning part of the Jurassic Coast.
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