‘On your bike’ is the message to children and staff at Gillingham school.

Dorset For You - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 14:08

Three new cycle shelters have been provided by Dorset County Council to encourage more pupils and staff to ride in.

The shelters, which cost just over £11k, will give the children and staff a safe place to leave their bikes.

The official opening took place earlier this week by Dorset County Councillor Andrew Cattaway and Cllr Su Hunt, Mayor of Gillingham.

Mark Lavis, Deputy Headteacher, Kevin Humphreys, transport planner at the council and the pupils at the school took part in the event.

Cllr Daryl Turner, Dorset County Council Cabinet member for The Natural & Built Environment said:

“Walking and cycling to school is a great way for our children to get the exercise they need everyday to keep healthy, and research shows it allows them to become better students in the classroom. It’s important every child has the skills to cycle safely and confidently, helping them to develop healthy habits for a lifetime.”

Mark Lavis, Deputy Headteacher said:

“We are delighted with the new bike racks for our students and staff to use.  They look fantastic!

“We’re hoping that the new covered and secure bike storage facilities will encourage people to cycle to school.  We’ve been working hard over the last few years to make our school more environmentally friendly and these facilities will make a significant contribution to this”.

For many children, cycling is simply more fun and more sociable than going to school by car, and they love the feeling of freedom it gives them.  It also helps to cut traffic congestion and pollution in local areas.

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Categories: Dorset

Safety concerns at Olympic rings site on Portland addressed

Dorset For You - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 09:27

A temporary, discreet post and rail fence is being installed around the Olympic rings structure on Portland whilst we have signs made to discourage the public from climbing on the rings. This follows safety concerns raised to us by Albion Stone, the creators of the sculpture.

Celebrating the magnificent view

Tony Porter, Operations Director of Albion Stone, said: “This sculpture was originally created to celebrate the Olympic legacy with it first being placed at the train station, and then moved to its current location to compliment the magnificent view on Portland. They were not intended to be climbed on when they were designed. Therefore, there is a significant risk of toppling if they continue to be loosened by excessive use in this way.  We are very willing to work with the council, hoping that a low impact solution can be found .”

Structural engineer report

Cllr Paul Kimber, ward member for Underhill,  said: “Despite the signs in place asking the public not to climb on the stones to take photos, we are aware that some individuals continue to do so. Given the concerns raised to us we have to act in the interests of public safety. In order to get a comprehensive understanding of the issue, we commissioned a structural engineer to assess the stability of the sculpture.”

Rings could be vulnerable

The structural engineer’s report concluded that “Ground conditions are good with no obvious sign of instability near the structure or in the general area, the stone plinth is complete and not showing any signs of stress and the rings appear to be as near vertical as possible. [The concerns] relate to potential toppling / structural integrity as a result of people clambering over it. In this respect, the rings look extremely vulnerable if clambered on and it would do serious harm if to fall on someone.”

We continue to look at a solution in partnership with Albion Stone and hope to have this completed as soon as possible.

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Categories: Dorset

Minister makes official visit to discuss Council’s shared vision for regeneration of Weymouth & Portland

Dorset For You - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 17:25

The Borough of Weymouth and Portland is at the forefront of an initiative fronted by the Minister, to coordinate funding across Government departments in support of poor coastal towns. Jake Berry, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, made his first official visit to the town of Weymouth.


Jake Berry MP talks with local business leaders


Following a very productive meeting in Westminster earlier in the year, the Minister met with MP Richard Drax and Cllr Jeff Cant, Leader of Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, and senior council officials, to explore the ambitious regeneration plans for the borough of Weymouth and Portland.

The Minister received a presentation outlining the ambitious regeneration programme that has been developed and promoted by the council over the past three years, followed by a guided tour around the town. This gave him an opportunity to view target regeneration sites, and witness key problem areas that the council are determined to improve – hopefully with Government support.

Key sites highlighted along the walk included; the harbour walls that are in poor condition, the flood risks at Westham Bridge and along the harbourside, and it ended at the Weymouth Peninsula.

Jake Berry MP, finished his visit with a small-scale event at the Pavilion, facilitated by Richard Drax MP, and attended by over 30 leading local businesses. The discussion focused on the Councils’ shared transformation plans for the Borough and looked into how Government support would greatly improve the progression of regeneration linked to; transport, infrastructure, jobs, housing, and training.

Support for Coastal Towns and Communities

Weymouth and Portland is at the forefront of an initiative fronted by the Minister, to coordinate funding across Government departments in support of poor coastal towns.

Jake Berry MP, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth said: “It was a great experience to visit the town of Weymouth to see and hear first-hand, the ambitions that the local authority and local business leaders hold for the borough. It’s clear that regeneration is very much a focus for all involved and that this shared vision would breathe new life into the borough’s coastal towns and economy.”

MP Richard Drax, said: “Securing the regeneration of the area is of paramount importance. We are exploring with the Government how best they can support regeneration through provision of funding to help us realise our shared vision for the borough. Commitment of support from the Government to work with us, will greatly boost our progress to realise this vision.”

Cllr Jeff Cant, Leader of Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the Minister here to showcase the vision that we have for the borough of Weymouth and Portland.

“This event offered a rare opportunity for local business leaders to engage directly with the Minister, to develop his understanding of our collective ambition and our potential as a borough. It gave us an opportunity to highlight our ambitious programme of regeneration, and the ways in which support from Government could speed up the delivery and transform the town and lives of the community.”

Sign up to the resident newsletter to be kept up-to-date with all Council news and updates.

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Categories: Dorset

The Great Big Family Health Walk

Dorset For You - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 16:22

Families in North Dorset are being invited to join the ‘Great Big Family Health Walk’.

Have fun on the Great Big Family Health Walk

This free event will feature a one-mile ‘treasure hunt’ and a two-mile ‘bug hunt’. It will start at 3pm on 1st August at the Station Road Car Park in Sturminster Newton. It also finishes at the car park.

The event will be led by volunteer walk leaders from the North Dorset Walking for Health scheme. The treasure hunt will feature painted rocks hidden along the route for youngsters to find. The bug hunt will be provided by Dorset County Council’s Countryside Rangers Team.

The one-mile route is buggy and wheelchair friendly. The walks will follow the North Dorset Trailway. Parents, grandparents and any other friends and family members are all welcome to come along and join in the fun.

Click here for the Great Big Family Health Walk poster. 

The North Dorset Walking for Health scheme offers weekly health walks in Sturminster, Shaftesbury, Gillingham, Blandford and Sherborne.

More information about the scheme is available here.  Or you can contact Keith Harrison, Scheme Coordinator Health & Wellbeing Officer, North & Mid Dorset CCG Locality Groups, on 07825 691508 or

Information is also available via the web link above or via:

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Categories: Dorset

An apprenticeship could be the best decision you make

Dorset For You - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 15:28

Are you thinking about a change of career? Or a move to a job that requires different skills and abilities?

An apprenticeship could make a big difference.

Daryl Burns, 25, started as an apprentice in Highway Maintenance last year and hasn’t looked back.

Daryl says: “The Apprenticeship offered me a worthwhile career with good future prospects. as well as learning on the job, I am studying for a NVQ level 3.

“Working for Dorset Highways, I get involved in traffic signage and management.

“I will shortly be taking my HGV and digger licence as well, so I’ll learn skills, such as winter gritting, road maintenance and repair.

Applying for an apprenticeship was one of the best decisions I ever made.”

Cllr Andrew Parry, Cabinet member for economic growth, education, learning and skills, said: “Whether you are a school leaver, wanting to re-train or change your career, apprenticeships offer great opportunities. They allow you to earn a wage and also gain a nationally-recognised qualification, up to postgraduate degree.”

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Categories: Dorset

A little support goes a long way for young adults with special needs

Dorset For You - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 14:41

Seeing young people achieve their potential is just one of the rewarding aspects for our vocational services team.

The team works with young people who have disabilities, to help them into training or employment.

One of our success stories includes 26-year-old Robyn who lives at home in east Dorset. Robyn found work hard to come by after finishing a course, so the team stepped in to help her become more independent and achieve her goals.

Starting as a voluntary kitchen assistant, Robyn was soon nominated to train as a care assistant.

By the end of her first year, Robyn secured a paid contract.

Vocational support worker Pat Sams said: “Local provision such as in-house training can be as good, if not than, residential courses anywhere else, and saves both time and money.”

The support offered to Robyn has made a huge difference to her life. “I am a changed person she,” she said.

Watch the video on YouTube

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Categories: Dorset

Are you scams aware?

Dorset For You - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 14:22

Our trading standards service is taking a hard stance to tackle doorstep crime and scams.

It has a new focused environment team, which also offers more vulnerable victims support  and signposting to prevent them being targeted again.

Here are three simple steps anyone can take to help combat these types of financial fraud:

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Categories: Dorset

Have you got what it takes to be a care worker?

Dorset For You - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 13:50

Care support worker Beth Knight has been employed in care for 14 years. Here’s what she has to say about her job in a residential care home.

What inspired you to work in care?

My admiration for the elderly generation inspired me to work in care. I wanted to ensure their later years are as safe, happy, and loving as they can be.

What is your favourite part of the job?

I really enjoy being there for my residents. Seeing them smiling and happy makes me feel like I am making a positive difference.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking of working in care?

My job is very satisfying and rewarding I feel pride in my work, have friendly colleagues and long-term employment prospects.

If you’ve got passion, respect, and think you can go that extra mile to help people maintain their dignity, then you could be the right person for the job.

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Categories: Dorset

A lifeline for Martinstown

Dorset For You - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 12:41

A community transport scheme is providing a life-line for the community in Martinstown.

A regular minibus service runs on Mondays and Fridays to take local residents into Dorchester and back.

Ruth Wilson, 77, from Martinstown, said: “The service helps me to go shopping and to socialise. It means everything to me.”

Charlotte White from the operator, A-Line Taxis, added: “This scheme works because it’s a group of people who always used to travel together on the bus. Most of them can’t drive themselves, so they now use our service regularly. And at £3 return, it’s affordable for them.”

Find out more about the scheme and how it could help you.

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Categories: Dorset

How fostering fits in with our family

Dorset For You - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 12:25

Jo and Mark Thomson of Dorchester started fostering four years ago. At that time, their own daughter, Amy, was 14.

“I was really keen on fostering,” said Jo. “But it was a big decision and had to fit with the rest of the family. We decided that fostering on a short-term basis would suit us best.”

They have since fostered four children, aged from four to 14. Two were for six months and two on a respite basis(looking after children for short breaks).

Jo feels it’s been rewarding for all of them, and especially beneficial for Amy.

“Although Mark has two grown-up children, Amy was effectively an only child at home,” said Jo

“But she welcomed the foster children into our lives without hesitation. It has helped her develop invaluable skills, such as responsibility, empathy and patience.”

According to Jo, the rewards far outweigh the challenges.

“The joy is seeing a child get their life back on track. We had one four-year-old who suffered from night terrors. But as her life became more stable, they stopped and she began to sleep peacefully. That’s what it’s all about.”

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Categories: Dorset

Escape to the country

Dorset For You - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 11:45

Summer is here – the perfect time to enjoy the lovely Dorset countryside. Why not check out our two county parks, both offering you a completely different experience?
Durlston Country Park near Swanage is made up of grassland and woodland, with breathtaking sea views. You can see an amazing range of wildlife from wildflower meadows filled with butterflies, to seabirds nesting on the sheer cliffs. If you’re lucky, you might even spot dolphins offshore.

Avon Heath Country Park, in the east of Dorset, offers spectacular heathland scenery. From the Heathland Discovery Centre, you can learn about some of the parks unique and rare wildlife before you head outside to explore. It’s the ideal place to take the kids as there is a huge play area with a zip wire, climbing wall, sand pit, tree house and giant insect climbing sculptures.

Scooters for hire for those with limited mobility

Tamper Scooters are available at both parks (please pre-book). So if you have mobility issues, you’ll still be able to explore. You need to be a member of the Countryside Mobility Scheme – join at

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Categories: Dorset

Boost for military families in Dorset

Dorset For You - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 11:25

Military personnel past and present and their families in Dorset will benefit from a grant of £234,786 from the Ministry of Defence Armed Forces Covenant Fund.

The grant will boost a project to make sure members of the armed forces community are treated fairly across the county. It will focus on areas such as employment, training, schools, health, and wellbeing, and housing.

The successful funding bid was made by Dorset County Council, Bournemouth Borough Council and Borough of Poole, working with Dorset HealthCare and Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office.

There are an estimated 51,000 veterans living in Dorset.

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Categories: Dorset

Foster in Dorset – Cath and Sue’s story

Dorset For You - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 10:52

Have you ever considered fostering? Dorset County Council is looking for more foster carers to help children in need and offer generous fees and allowances. People from all walks of life foster – read about Cath and Sue and their experience of fostering as a same sex couple.

Cath and Sue have been together for 4 years and were approved as foster carers for Dorset County Council in December 2016. Since then they have had provided a 2-week respite placement and now have a 10-year-old boy who has been with them for just over a year.

Although Cath had limited childcare experience herself, she had been friends with a foster carer for some time. Cath raised the idea with Sue about them becoming carers too knowing that Sue has great motherly traits and had been great at raising her own adopted son, Toby. They took about a month to think about it before making their initial enquiry in April 2016.  They found the application and assessment process straight forward and felt they were treated like every other applicant. They never questioned their decision to go ahead but their only concern was whether the child they looked after would be bullied in any way with them being a same sex couple. This hasn’t happened at all. The positives about fostering for Cath and Sue have been seeing the changes in their foster child, showing him what a loving family home can be and knowing they are making a positive difference to his life.

“It is very rewarding. When I see him laughing and playing, it melts my heart” says Cath. “I love the fact that he can just be himself”.  The impact on their own relationship has been positive too. They have seen new sides in each other as they adjust to situations. They complement each other well and fostering has brought them closer together. They both recognise the importance of taking quality time out for themselves and this is encouraged by their own social worker too.

It obviously took a little bit of time to adjust to their new lifestyle at first. They initially felt a bit thrown in the deep end but they used their voice and the support in place to ensure their foster child had access to the full information and support needed in those early stages. For anyone else thinking of fostering, their advice is to go for it. Cath said “You need to be calm and have patience and you need to be all-in. It’s a lifestyle change that brings so many rewards. For same sex couples it’s a really good thing to do. Don’t be put off by the fact you are same sex. In lots of cases you could have more to offer young people from difficult backgrounds”.

We’re looking for foster carers for all types of placement whether short term, long term, respite or emergency.

Visit or call 01305 225568.

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Categories: Dorset

Stay safe on the coast

Dorset For You - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 10:44

Lots of us will be getting out and exploring our spectacular coastline this summer.

But remember, our dramatic cliffs have been created by erosion  – rock falls and landslides are part of this process.

For your safety, please check these tips:

  • Stay away from the edge of the clifftop.
  • Stay away from the base of the cliffs – rock falls can happen at any time.
  • Always pay attention to warning signs.
  • Be aware of tide times. The sea comes in and out twice a day and it’s possible to get cut off by the incoming tide.
  • If you’re looking for fossils, do not hammer into the cliffs. The safest place to look for fossils is on the beach.

In case of emergency on the coast dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.

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Categories: Dorset

Pranks galore at your local library!

Dorset For You - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 10:19

This year, the Summer Reading Challenge has teamed up with ‘The Beano’ to create a mischief-inspired challenge.

To help celebrate the much-loved comic’s 80th anniversary, ‘Mischief Makers’ will explore adventure, friendship, reading and fun.

Aimed at all Dorset children aged four to 12 the challenge is simple and free. It takes place at libraries across Dorset from 7 July until 8 September.

Children are invited to read or listen to six library books of their choice during the summer holidays. Collecting stickers as they go, young readers will follow clues to explore their colourful collector’s map of Beantown – meeting Dennis, Gnasher and friends along the way.

There’s a medal and certificate for all youngsters who complete the challenge.

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Categories: Dorset

What to do if you find some treasure

Dorset For You - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 09:59

What happens if you dig up an interesting object when you’re out metal detecting, gardening or walking the dog?

It could be an archaeological item – or even  ancient treasure. You can get your object identified through the Portable Antiquities Scheme. This is a national project for the voluntary recording of finds such as coins, brooches, flint tools and pottery.

Identification surgeries take place across the country. They are a chance for you to chat to our experts about your finds – and maybe have them added to Dorset’s archaeological records.

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Categories: Dorset

A brand new Ranger Den at Moors Valley!

Dorset For You - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 22:21

Moors Valley Country Park and Forest is celebrating the opening of a brand new experience at the Park.

The new Ranger Den was officially opened this afternoon by the Chairman of East Dorset, Cllr Toni Coombs.

Today’s special event at Moors Valley welcomed guests to learn more about the nature at the Park, with help from the resident Rangers.

At the brand-new Ranger Den experience you will get the opportunity to meet Bramble and Berry, the park’s harvest mice, see a snake, hold a giant millipede, discover who lives in the pond and enjoy learning more about the fantastic wildlife who call Moors Valley their home.

Emma Reeks, Visitor Engagement Ranger at Moors Valley, said: “We’re so excited to open the Ranger Den. This new experience is a great way for us to celebrate the wildlife who live at the park, whilst educating children in a fun and exciting way. The feedback this afternoon has been really positive, so as the school holidays draw ever closer we look forward to welcoming lots of new young Rangers to our Den!”

Cllr Toni Coombs, Chairman of East Dorset District Council, said: “The new Ranger Den is great fun and it is great to see the space revitalised into such a colourful and welcoming child-friendly space!

“I’m grateful to all the staff and volunteers at the Park whose passion and enthusiasm continues to push this award-winning attraction from strength to strength. East Dorset District Council remains incredibly proud of Moors Valley and it is fantastic, even in its 30th year, we are continuing to invest and improve this well-loved attraction.

The Ranger Den is open every day from 1-4pm during the summer holiday and at most weekends. For more details and the full event programme at Moors Valley visit-


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Categories: Dorset

Could you help shape future services for young people?

Dorset For You - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 14:50

Dorset County Council is looking for 14 to 19-year-olds to help capture the views and ideas of young people about the services they receive.

Young Researchers consult young people across the county, analyse the results and present their findings to the county council and other organisations to help influence decision-making in Dorset.

Debbie Ward and Dorset Young Researchers

The researchers work in a team, are given full training and help make a difference to young people’s lives. Researchers also gain valuable skills that employers value and get to meet students from other schools and colleges.

Cllr Andrew Parry, Dorset County Council’s Cabinet member for economy, education, learning and skills, said:

“We’re very proud of our young researchers – they do a fantastic job and make sure we consider the views of local young people in everything we do. It’s also a great opportunity for them to get involved in their local communities and help improve services for children and young people.”

The Dorset Young Researchers project is a partnership between students, Dorset County Council and The Participation People – a youth engagement agency that empowers young people to help make positive changes in communities.

The deadline to apply is 5pm on Friday, 20 July. or visit

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Categories: Dorset

New rules for public places

Dorset For You - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 10:51

 New rules have been drawn-up to ensure public places can be enjoyed by all and kept free from anti-social behaviour. The new Weymouth & Portland Anti-Social Behaviour Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) 2018 was drawn-up after listening to your views.  

Feeding of gulls banned under new order.


The Order was set out by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council following a public consultation, which saw hundreds of people taking the trouble to share their views.

The new rules will be in place in restricted areas within the borough of Weymouth and in Easton Square, Portland and covers the consumption of alcohol in public places, begging, feeding gulls and cycling on the promenade.

Cycling on the promenade

Rules on cycling along the promenade will be relaxed, now only restricting cycling between 10am and 5.30pm from Good Friday to 31 October annually (both dates inclusive). Right of way will remain with pedestrians.

Consuming alcohol in public places

Within the restricted areas, the Order will make it an offence to continue to consume alcohol where a constable or authorised officer has directed someone not to do so, in the reasonable belief that such a direction is necessary to prevent public nuisance, public order or anti-social behaviour.

A constable or authorised officer can require anyone to surrender anything which they believe to be alcohol or a container for alcohol. Fixed Penalty Notices may be issued if there is no reasonable excuse not to comply with the requirement.

Intentional feeding of gulls

Within the restricted areas, the Order will make it an offence for any person to provide or deposit food, intentionally, for the consumption of gulls. This measure has been introduced to help tackle the growing problem of gulls causing alarm, annoyance and injury.


New rules banning begging within the restricted area, will also be introduced. Begging issues have been identified by the borough council, police, residents and shop owners, over the last few years.

Responses to the public consultation made it clear, measures are wanted to deter begging in the town centre. Begging is already prohibited on the promenade under local Byelaws. 

Mike Byatt, Community Safety Briefholder at Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, said: “These measures are designed to make our public places safer, so we can all enjoy them.

“We listened to people’s views before making these changes and I’d like to thank everyone who made the effort to have their say. We looked carefully at all the responses and have done our best to take a common sense approach.

‘We listened to your views’

“New rules on begging will be introduced. We will continue to be sensitive to people genuinely in need of our support, however, Fixed Penalty Notices will be available if there is no other alternative to tackle the problem of begging.

“New measures will also be introduced to ban feeding gulls. This should reduce the problem of gulls mobbing people as they can cause alarm and injury, especially to children.

“I am glad that cycling in the summer during quieter periods will now be welcomed, as we are keen to do what we can to promote fitness and physical activity.

“The aim of the PSPO is simply to make our lovely public spaces kept free from anti-social behaviour, so they can be enjoyed by all.”

All the provisions contained within the PSPO will complement police and other council measures, as well as the multi-agency funded Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS) which is soon to be launched. This will see uniformed officers patrolling the streets to tackle anti-social behaviour.

The Order also follows the borough council’s successful measures last year to tackle littering and dog fouling, through the services of 3GS. The new Order, which replaces the existing rules, will begin on 20 August 2018.

New signage will be erected within the restricted areas. However, full information and maps showing the restricted areas will be available here.

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Categories: Dorset

Dorset Seafood Festival travel advice

Dorset For You - Tue, 07/10/2018 - 20:16

Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival is returning to Weymouth this weekend – have you planned your journey?

Roads around the harbourside will be closed to ensure a car-free safe environment for festival-goers on Saturday 13 July and Sunday 14 July.

Roads closed to traffic include:

  • The Esplanade (from the Kings Statue to The Pavilion)
  • Custom House Quay
  • Town Bridge
  • St Thomas Street
  • North Quay
  • Trinity Road
  • Cove Row

Please allow plenty of time for your journey into Weymouth, and help us by not driving your car into the town centre.

Park & Ride

Avoid queues into Weymouth town centre by making use of the park and ride facility, the car park is open from 5am to 1am the following morning.

Parking is free all day, with bus travel to and from the site £3.50 for an adult return (tickets are purchased on the bus). Buses are every ten minutes at peak times.

Plan your visit using Weymouth Park & Ride


There are regular local bus services and also a regular Number 10 service between Dorchester and Weymouth, with the bus dropping off in the town centre.

Plan your bus journey.


Weymouth train station is in the town centre, with a 15-minute stroll along the seafront to the harbour, where the festival is taking place.

Plan your train journey.


Why not burn off those calories by travelling by bike?!

Plan your bike route.

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Categories: Dorset