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A day out from Weymouth: Abbotsbury Swannery

Weymouth boasts a number of unique attractions nearby: Chesil Beach, the Tank Museum and perhaps the most unusual of all, Abbotsbury Swannery.

It’s the only managed colony of mute swans in the world. You’re probably used to seeing a few swans on a local river or lake – here there are hundreds. While it’s a managed environment, the birds are free to come and go as they please – it’s a sanctuary, not a zoo. Swans have been managed here for hundreds of years.

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panther tank

A day out from Weymouth: The Tank Museum

One hundred years ago massive metal war war horses clanked and clunked their way onto the battlefields of France. Devised as a weapon to break the stalemate of the trench warfare, the tank has gone on to become a symbol of the modern army.

The Tank Museum at Bovington is the best collection of armoured fighting vehicles in the world. It includes the first tank to be made, a fearsome array of German panzers from the Second World War, and comes up to date with the Challenger 2, which is still in service today.

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The wonders of Weymouth beach

Something magical happens when a strip of golden sand is all that separates the sea from the land. Cliffs are dramatic, pebbles can be pleasant and mud is, well, just mud. But sand is special and here in Weymouth, we have buckets of the stuff!

You don’t need sand to have a seaside. Plenty of British resorts get by without having a decent beach. Southend and Weston-super-Mare both spring to mind as places better known for their mud than their sand. Both Brighton and Bournemouth enjoy swathes of shingle.

Long curves of sand, that dip gently into the sea for as far as the tide extends, and beyond, are to be treasured and enjoyed. Weymouth’s golden coast has attracted visitors for well over two hundred years and we can rightly claim to be one of the nation’s first proper seaside towns.

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Taking a ride on the Jurassic Skyline tower

People like a good view and, as the London Eye proved, and the Eiffel Tower before that, they’re willing to pay for the pleasure.

Weymouth’s Jurassic Skyline was erected in time for the 2012 Olympics and was originally billed as a sailing observation tower, although builders Merlin Entertainments (who run most of the UK’s big theme parks) did say they hoped it would keep bringing people to Weymouth for years to come.

Three years later, the tower has become an established feature of the Weymouth sea front. So what does it have to offer?

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Discover the incredible Chesil Beach

Chesil Beach features in my earliest memory of Weymouth. Some time in the early 1980s my parents brought us here and I recall scrambling up and and down the pebbles of this massive stony bank.

The beach popped up a few years later in my geography classes at school. It’s a unique curiosity and a wonderful feature on a coastline that’s already packed with variety and interest.

So what’s so special about Chesil Beach? Or Chesil Bank, as it’s also known.

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The pleasures of Alexandra Gardens, Weymouth

If you’re looking for gloriously colourful displays of flowers in a quiet spot where you can enjoy wonderful views of the coast, head for Greenhill Gardens at the northern end of the seafront.

Alexandra Gardens, at the other end, near the Pavilion Theatre, offer an entirely different experience. They’re all candy floss, funfair rides and arcade games. Great fun for families with some loose change to spend on entertaining themselves.

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