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The seaside town of Weymouth is one of southern England’s most colourful and enjoyable holiday destinations. It’s mainly a tourist spot, but the town has a very pleasant atmosphere, a historic harbour and an old town centre. Best of all, Weymouth is located right on the edge of the UNESCO Jurassic Coast region and many of Dorset’s top attractions. With a car rental, you can use Weymouth as a base for daytrips all over this beautiful and engaging corner of England.
Who to Book With
There aren’t too many choices when it comes to renting a car in Weymouth, but arriving visitors will find a few big name firms like Europcar alongside local outfits such as Dorset Vehicle Rentals. Most rental offices can be found around the waterfront area and transport stations. If you are planning a trip during a peak travel periods, be sure and book your car online in advance to lock down the lowest rates and best vehicle selection.
Best Time to Go
Weymouth is at the southern end of England, so enjoys some of the warmest weather in the country. The yearly average temperature is 10°C, and even in January it’s not uncommon for the mercury to reach 13°C. But rain is also common in Weymouth year-round, so it’s best to try and visit during the warmest months between May and September.
Need to Know Essentials
When you pick up your car hire, be sure and bring the following:
- A valid UK or EU driving license or International Driving Permit
- A printed rental confirmation sheet
- A second picture ID like a passport
- The credit card used in the original booking
Unless it’s the middle of the peak summer holiday season, Weymouth doesn’t present too many problems for drivers. Things tend to get congested around the ferry terminal and along the seaside strip, so parking in one of the town’s outlying car parks and walking in is the way to go. There is also pay and display street-side parking spaces, but these are harder to find and often have time restrictions.
All roads seem to end in Weymouth, so there is no trouble finding a route to this seaside town. The M5 and the M3 get fairly close, but then trunk roads such as the A35 and A37 make the final leg into Weymouth. No matter which route you take, you are guaranteed a very scenic drive into town.
Travellers can reach Weymouth by train, coach, road or ferry with little difficulty. Once in town, the only public transport is provided by buses serviced by Sureline and First. These buses are useful for moving around town and up the coast, and taxis are also always available. If you plan to do much travelling outside of Weymouth, however, a car rental will prove very handy.
Hourly trains roll into Weymouth from London’s Waterloo Station, with less frequent rail services from Bristol. Weymouth’s train station is located just a few minutes by foot from the centre of town. Taxis are typically on hand to greet arriving trains.
Long-distance coach services are provided by National Express from dozens of cities around England. Within Weymouth itself, local bus routes are handled mainly by First and backed up by Sureline. A daily ticket for unlimited bus travel in the town costs around £2.80, while £4 gets you a day pass covering Dorchester and Portland as well. The X31 and X53 bus routes are very scenic and great for a sightseeing outing. The 501 also runs open-top buses in summer.
There are several good taxi outfits operating in Weymouth, all of which are very reasonably priced. They might be a bit tricky to hail on the street, but look for them queued up at the train and ferry terminals. It’s even easier to simply call in for a pick-up 24 hours a day from a local company like Weyline Taxis.
One of the great things about a holiday in Weymouth is all the potential driving daytrips available in the surrounding Dorset region. From Salisbury to the east and Exeter to the west, there are many famous historic cities to balance out the beach time. Of course, the coastal driving is also sublime here, with daytrips to natural preserves like Dartmoor National Park a real treat.
Dartmoor National Park - This is one of Britain’s 15 national parks, featuring 450 miles of public walking paths. Even if you just want to cruise around the moorlands in your car, the A386 road cuts right through the heart of the park for one of southern England’s coolest drives.
Salisbury - This is a classic English cathedral town boasting the nation’s highest spire on top of its magnificent cathedral. The town itself is also very pleasant, offering a nice change of pace from the overt tourism of Weymouth. You can reach Salisbury by scenic roads in under an hour, stopping by Stonehenge along the way.
Glastonbury - This is best-known for its mythical legends of kings, knights and wizards, but the town itself is just as magical as the mysterious ancient ruins of Glastonbury Tor and Glastonbury Abbey. Whether you are into the New Age scene here or not, the drive from Weymouth is worth the effort alone.