Here are a some of my initial tips, insider travel advice - and a personal inspection of the town bogs - to help you plan a visit to Weymouth
Issue an invitation to Mitt Romney. On today’s evidence Weymouth was spit-spot and totally ready for the sailing Olympics.
In case you’re planning to visit – and it is an excellent family day out with or without Olympic sailing tickets – here’s some info I’ve gleaned from visiting on yesterday’s opening day of racing.
How to get to the Olympic sailing venue
By train – Trains were busy arriving from 1100 through to mid afternoon but there was no shortage of seats and the services were all on time. Same again in the evening: there were no queues at Weymouth station and plenty of seats to be had.
Numerous staff at the station approached customers to make sure they knew which platform their train was leaving from, where they should change to reach their destination and what time they’d get there. All really well organised.
If you are arriving have a ticket for the Olympic area, shuttle buses run regularly from the station. There were no big queues or waiting times for those either.
Was the SW Trains warning recently about taking the car rather than travelling by train a seriously pessimistic bit of backside-covering? Looks like it. From tomorrow Virgin Cross Country will also be running trains to Weymouth, increasing capacity from 4,000 to 7,500 daily.
From what I’ve seen yesterday when there was a limited Sunday service I can’t see any need for a seat reservation.
There will be extra trains next weekend when the medal races start and for what is being termed Ainslie Sunday.
Driving – Having talked to people about their experiences getting here by car there have been no special traffic or parking problems. I talked to the oddly-named Olympic ‘Last Mile Co-ordinator’ yesterday and he told me there were no major delays getting into Weymouth.
I wanted to know if it would be advisable to drive to Dorchester and get the train for the last two stops if coming from the north or west, but he says no, just drive in; the park and ride buses have been working fine.
Although the Olympics information statements have been advising people to book park and ride spaces online in advance, he tells me: “No, there’s no need, you can just rock up.”
Bike – The Olympic organisers have gone to great lengths to set up secure bike parks at various points in the town, including the Swannery Park and Ride, the station and a big, gated park at Nothe. The latter is manned during the day and locked up overnight.
There were quite a lot of cyclists round the town and coves yesterday and it would be a perfect way to scoot around the best spectating points for different race fleets.
There were plenty of people in Weymouth yesterday, but it didn’t feel in any way crazy. They were spread out over a big area so it wasn’t difficult to get around Weymouth seemed to me friendly and safe.
There was lots of room in the Weymouth and Portland Live screen beach area and the Bayside Festival music and food area.
There are many places to explore and wander on the way to a vantage point and yesterday the Nothe (ticketed) and Newton’s Cove (free access) had great views of the windward mark of the Finn race and women’s match race. Lots of people brought picnics and picked out a place in the free park area.
If you get bored of watching – and yes, some still feel there is a paint drying element to yacht racing – you can dip in and out. There was a live band in Hope Square and nearby lies the lure of bars and shops round the inner harbour. These were all very busy after 1600 because of the exodus of thirsty spectators from the ticketed zone.
By the way, if all the directions and areas sound meaningless and confusing, don’t worry; you can’t move more than a few metres from the park and ride or train station without being offered a free pocket map and info pack. All will become clear.
Weymouth is very easy to walk round. Distances aren’t far and it’s almost all on the level.
I feel I must mention this as I was tweeted a special request to check the state of the Weymouth khazis, with particular reference to the provision of paper. I know my place.
Good news for those with diarrhoea, double incontinence or ten pints on board (ladies, at least): they were in good order with paper aplenty. They are located along the beach, at the Pavilion and at Hope Square, and all are annotated on the free giveaway map.
OK? Happy? Then let’s agree that I have discharged all loo paper duties. Please can someone email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for my verdict on the best cake shop/chocolatier/fish restaurant?
Any questions? Feel free.