Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Weymouth: Olympic sailing on Jurassic Coast

From Stina Backer, CNN
July 25, 2012 -- Updated 1457 GMT (2257 HKT)
Weymouth, which is hosting the sailing events at the London 2012 Olympics, is located on the "Jurassic Coast" -- a rocky and dramatic 153 kilometer coastline in the south of England. Weymouth, which is hosting the sailing events at the London 2012 Olympics, is located on the "Jurassic Coast" -- a rocky and dramatic 153 kilometer coastline in the south of England.
HIDE CAPTION
Olympic sailing on Jurassic Coast
World Heritage Site
Lulworth Cove
"On Chesil Beach"
Hardy country
Happening Weymouth harbor
After sail on the beach
Britain's premier sailing academy
Maritime Mix
Art for the masses
Camp Bestival
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Weymouth and Portland are hosting all sailing events during the London 2012 Olympics
  • During the Olympics the area is bustling with numerous sport and cultural festivals
  • Weymouth is located on the Jurassic Coast -- England's first World Heritage Site

Editor's note: MainSail is CNN's monthly sailing show, exploring the sport of sailing, luxury travel and the latest in design and technology.

London, England (CNN) -- Nestled in a sheltered bay on the English Channel coast, Weymouth is one of Britain's most picturesque seaside towns. As the home to the Weymouth and Portland British National Sailing Academy it was the obvious choice to host all sailing events during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Located in the English county of Dorset, and smack bang in the middle of what is known as the "Jurassic Coast" -- a rocky and dramatic 153 kilometer coastline dating back 185 million years -- this area is arguably one of the most historically interesting regions in the UK.

In 1348 it played a pivotal role in the spread of the Black Death, it was a major departure point for the settlement of the Americas and a critical location for Britain's defense during World War II.

See also: Beheaded Vikings found at Olympic site

It also has a great cultural heritage and its spectacular vistas and dynamic seas have inspired many great British novelists such as Thomas Hardy and Ian McEwan, who even chose one of Dorset's beaches, Chesil Beach, as the title for one of his most celebrated novels.

Throughout the summer, Weymouth and the surrounding towns and villages, are hosting countless events to celebrate the homecoming of the Olympic Games. To make your life easier CNN has selected some of the most interesting events and must-see tourist attractions right here.

Olympic venues prepare for sailing
Sailing at the Olympics
Which sailors will take Olympic gold?
Sailors compete for Olympic selection
Going for the Gold

Weymouth & Portland Live

For anyone visiting Weymouth during the Olympics a trip to the Weymouth & Portland Live site is a must. Located in the center of Weymouth and overlooking its golden beach, the venue will show all sailing and other major Olympic events live on two giant 60 square meter television screens. During the Games 15,000 people are expected to visit the area each day. The free site opens its doors on Friday July 27 when it will be showing the Olympic opening ceremony, followed by a big firework display in Weymouth Bay.

Interactive sports arena

If watching sports doesn't tire you out then a visit to the interactive sports arena might. Targeting the more active sports fans this venue lets visitors try out some of Britain's favorite sports including football, rugby, volleyball, cricket, bowling, sailing and kayaking. It is located right next to the Live Site and will be open July 27 - August 12.

Maritime Mix

Branded as the "London 2012 Cultural Olympiad by the Sea" the Maritime Mix is one of the most ambitious cultural events ever put on in Dorset. It is an official part of the UK-wide London 2012 Festival which celebrates the best of British cultural life during the Olympic year. There are more than 80 free separate events featuring visual arts, music, choral performances, outdoor theater and circus, earth sciences, sound installations, video projection, dance and participative street celebrations.

The Bayside Festival

For those who want to enjoy a bit of fun, light entertainment and plenty of cold beers during the Olympics, the Bayside Festival is likely to be the a popular pit stop. Located on the Weymouth peninsula the festival, which has a capacity of 9,000 people, will feature a wide range of music and entertainment along with lots of shops, food stalls and bars.

For history buffs there's the Olympic Sailing Heritage Exhibition, military displays and a chance to board the classic cruise ship MV Balmoral for a tour of the Jurassic Coast.

See also: Olympic sailors test waters for 2012 Games

Sea Life Tower

Rising 53 meter over Weymouth's Festival Pier this newly opened tower offers some stunning bird's eye views over the Olympic sailing arena. On a clear day the tower's slowly revolving observation deck reveals panoramic views of Weymouth Bay, the English Channel and the Jurassic Coast.

b-side festival

For the third year in a row this contemporary art festival is being held in Weymouth, and this year it runs throughout the Olympics and Paralympics. The b-side festival features cutting edge British and international artists from Europe, the U.S. and China who are showcasing new commissions on the theme of "margins, boundaries, portals and departure points" using visual art, digital media, performance and film to display their work.

According to organizers the aim of the festival is to "delight and provoke in equal measures" and with a program featuring "misguided" tours, telepathic drawing experiments, sound installations, film programs and interactive signage located in pubs, churches, alleyways, swimming pools and car parks it sounds like it will stay true to its word.

Jurassic Coast

For those adventurous enough to go sightseeing around Dorset there is plenty to see even after the Olympics. The Jurassic Coast was England's first UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a must see attraction for anyone visiting Dorset. It covers 95 miles of dramatic coastline and features rocks dating back 185 million years -- spanning the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

The coastline has plenty of fossils, dinosaur prints and geological marvels such as the 28 kilometer long barrier beach Chesil Beach and Lulworth Cove, which attracts half a million tourists a year. One of the best ways to see the Jurassic Coast is by sea so if you left your own boat at home you can easily hop on a boat trip from any of the gateway towns along the coast. For those who want to explore the coast by foot the 1000 kilometer (630 miles) long South West Coast Path National Trail offers plenty of coastal adventures.

Inside Out Dorset festival

Held on the limestone island of Portland a few kilometers south of Weymouth, the Inside Out Dorset festival is free event that has been running since 2005. It aims to make art accessible and less "intimidating" and this year it runs from August 31- September 9. One of the year's highlights is the Harmonic Fields -- a sensory art installation featuring an ensemble of 500 instruments being played by the strong Dorset wind.

Camp Bestival

Camp Bestival is the "little sister" of the very popular music festival Bestival, both organised by radio DJ Rob Da Bank. Held annually at the end of July at the majestic Lulworth Castle it is not the average raucous British festival but one for music-loving families with small children. It won the Best New Festival in the UK Festival Awards in 2008 and this year bands like Happy Mondays, Hot Chip, Kool & the Gang, Jimmy Cliff and Rolf Harris are performing.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
MainSail
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 1915 GMT (0315 HKT)
Wide shot of a sailboat from a drone
"Sometimes, I fly the drone with my head in a trash bag so I don't get salt spray from the sea on my equipment," says drone operator Justice L Bentz.
November 11, 2014 -- Updated 1401 GMT (2201 HKT)
If some naval architects get their way, superyachts of the future will look more like floating pieces of art than bog standard boats.
November 4, 2014 -- Updated 1224 GMT (2024 HKT)
This is no treasure hunt for a casket of gold at the bottom of the ocean.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 1529 GMT (2329 HKT)
Navigate the world's most treacherous seas, crossing 73,000 nautical kilometers in a confined space with stressed-out, sleep-deprived crewmates. 
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1005 GMT (1805 HKT)
Personal submarines, jetpacks, even 'walking boats.'
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
Over 300 miles from the nearest ocean, competitors in one of the world's fastest sailing races prepare for battle.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 1544 GMT (2344 HKT)
London's new superyacht hotel is so enormous, authorities had to lower the water level by five meters just to fit it under a bridge.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1155 GMT (1955 HKT)
His mast-walking stunts have attracted over 3.5 million hits on YouTube, but Alex Thomson just wants to get back to doing what he does best.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
Elizabeth Meyer talks to CNN's Mainsail about the "Armageddon battle" to restore the pioneering J-class boat Endeavour.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
Ship captains of the future won't be salty sea dogs with their hand at the helm, and the ocean at their feet.
July 10, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
Like "Downton Abbey," Henley's Royal Regatta reminds its visitors of an England of old. But for how much longer?
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
VO65 'Dongfeng' Training in Hong Kong
Nine months at sea, one change of clothes, freeze-dried food and a strange language. Could you cope?
June 11, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
Can a $134 million budget and the royal seal of approval bring the coveted America's Cup back to British shores for the first time in sailing history?
June 3, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
Bored of lounging on your superyacht in the Mediterranean? An increasing number of millionaires are now sailing their luxury vessels to the ends of the Earth, to get their kicks.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 1613 GMT (0013 HKT)
He's one of the great landscape artists, but JMW Turner also had a watery passion -- and his maritime travels are being retraced.
ADVERTISEMENT