Monday, 17 August 2015

Great places to visit for free in Weymouth & Portland - Part 2 - Nothe Gardens & Church Ope Cove

This weeks Great free places to visit features one well known Weymouth destination as well as a hidden gem on Portland.

As with the theme of my blog these two places are free to visit but still have plenty to see and do for families.

So here we go:

Nothe Gardens - Weymouth

The Nothe Gardens has to be one of my favourite places in Weymouth for a family picnic, get together or just a walk.  With fantastic garden's, stunning scenery and an abundance of paths, lawns, history and places for children to hide and play this is such an amazing place to enjoy with the family.

Situated just up from Weymouth's harbour and piers, it is a nice easy walk from the Town Centre.  If you have a push chair or pram, there can be a bit of a steep climb to reach to the gardens depending on which way you go.   The best bet if you are coming from town is to walk alongside the harbour (Nothe Side) towards the Pier and before you reach the walls of the Nothe there is a non stepped winding path up to the top.

There is parking available within the gardens but it is limited so it may be best to go for the car park at the back of Brewers Quay and from there you can walk to the Nothe with fairly easy access too.

By the main lawn area there is a small play area for the children, but with so much space it's a great place for a game of football, rounders...

In and around the gardens there are also various little nooks with benches and and places for BBQ's.

Just off from the Gardens there are great little Rock pools for catching crabs and climbing accessible for most supervised aged children.

There are a couple of catering places around the Nothe Gardens too for drinks, Ice Cream's and Snacks.

One of the gardens famous inhabitant is the Grey Squirrel.  These little fella's are used to Humans and are quite happy to approach you if you have a nut.  (you can buy these to take with you but in the summer months the Squirrels are spoiled so less likely to come and see you but also there are lots of nuts on the floor).  Just be careful though especially during winter months as they have a tendency to climb up your legs and do have a nasty bite, but if you keep them at arms length and throw a nut to them you will be fine.

I know there is a cost to it but a visit to the Nothe Fort is well worth a visit whilst you are there.  It is a massive part of Weymouth History and is a fantastic place to go and explore for Adults and Children alike for a small cost which the last time I asked was just £7 per adult.  The view from the top are absolutely amazing as well.

For more information on the Nothe Fort visit:

There is also a great group who run various events at the Nothe called the friends of Nothe Gardens and their website contains a detailed map of the gardens and area:

Church Ope Cove - Portland

I love this place, tons of history, amazing views, and a great little pirate/smuggler adventure for the children.  Beware though this isn't the easiest place to access with a pram or buggy.

The best place to park for this is along the Pennsylvania Road which is on the way to Portland Bill.  A good postcode is: DT5 1HU.   This postcode should take you outside of the Pennsylvania Castle site and you can park easily along this main road for free.  An alternative is to park in the Car Park of the Hayloft Cafe if you are going to make a visit in here.  It's a great little cafe with a menu that feature's many meals with food from their very own Gardens.

If you use the the Cafe Car Park as your starting point for your adventure,  walk back along the pavement with the Castle on your right until you see a sign pointing to your right for the Church Ope Cove.  Follow this down a lovely tree enclosed pathway until you reach the ancient ruins of Church Ope, with its many nooks and crannies and graves with the infamous Skull and crossbones featured.  

From here's you can walk down to the Cove itself.  It is quite steep but once you get there it is a fantastic little Pebble beach to sit, relax, have a picnic, throw pebbles....

On your way down keep your eyes out on the walls and steps as the last time we were there we saw lots of little lizards who don't seem to be phased by humans so great to show the kids.

It is quite a steep climb on the way back, but about half way up you will reach a nice plateau from which to look over the cove and the sea, as well as being able to see the walls of the ancient Rufus Castle, which you will walk past on your way back to the car. 

When you reach the top you will see to the right of you the charming little Portland Museum which has various events during the year and is a nice little slice of Island History.  

From here you will be back to the main road so will be able to walk back to your car.

I can't say enough about how nice this little walk is, and with some real history with a pirate twist thrown in for good measure too.

For more information on Portland Castle visit:

For more information on the Hayloft Cafe visit their Facebook page:

Thanks for reading my latest blog, and please keep your eyes out for more updates and free places to visit at  

Also if you know of a great free or money saving event's locally let me know via email at

About Lara

Lara, has a passion for Bargains and the Local Area and is the Proprietor of Wise Buys Weymouth a Bargain Brand Food Outlet, situated on Lynch Lane which sells perfectly good short dated and Best Before Expired food, at low prices which would otherwise be scrapped and turned into harmful landfill.  

For more info visit 
or their Facebook page

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