WEYMOUTH was alive with tourists and business was booming as sun worshipers made the most of the hottest day of the year so far.
Weymouth and wider Dorset were bathed in sunshine over the bank holiday weekend as temperatures hit 22C.
Bathers were stretched out along Weymouth Beach as far as the eye can see throughout Monday, with people in the water on pedal boats and paddle boards.
New seaside attractions along with old traditions including Helter Skelter, Hook-a-Duck, Trampolines and Bungee Trampolines seemed to be a hit with kids and families.
The traditional favorite of donkey rides was also popular while the Sandworld attraction also attracted a few punters.
A number of seaside parking lots were already full before lunchtime as visitors made their way to the area’s beaches.
Stays and trips to resort towns are expected to be popular again this summer due to ongoing overseas travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“ When it’s hot and sunny like this you can’t beat it ”
Tourists said they were ‘delighted to be back in Weymouth’, while locals said they were happy to see the town occupied again.
A tourist from Gloucester said: “We like to come here at least once a year for a few days.
“When it’s hot and sunny like that, you can’t beat it. There is something unique and special about Weymouth and its beach that you cannot beat.
A tourist from Coventry, who was visiting family, noted the large number of crowds on the beach and wanted to stay away – but admitted people naturally wanted to head to the seaside towns after restrictions were eased of Covid-19.
He said: “They have been confined to the house so naturally that they want to go out and move around.
“When we told people to stay home and with the year we’ve had, can you blame the people who come here? No.”
One resident said: “It’s great to see people coming back and a bit of normalcy. Today is the first day I’ve been to the waterfront, so it’s been really cool.
Businesses are ‘very busy’ amid influx of tourists
Businesses also flourished with the return of tourists to Weymouth and reported an influx of customers throughout Monday and weekends.
Many seaside cafes and kiosks, such as The Boat, The Fish Place, saw socially distant queues while many people enjoyed alfresco dining at Cactus Tea Rooms and Bistro.
Natasha, manager of the Ship Inn across from Weymouth Harbor, said it was ‘absolutely brilliant’ to see tourists entering the town – but joked that they were struggling to keep up with demand.
She said: “It has been very busy but we don’t have the team to follow.
“It’s still table service, but we have an app that customers can order from and people are very responsive to it. It’s nice to see people inside because not everyone wants to sit outside in the sun.
“We all benefit from it, but it’s hard work. It’s great to see people coming back.
Another popular spot was Rossi, along the Weymouth seafront, with queues in front of the glacier and pretty much keeping up with customer volumes.
Its manager, Kim Gay, first said it was ‘quite scary’ to see the crowds along the beach after the pandemic, but was astonished by ‘non-stop’ customers visiting his living room.
She said: “We are looking at the sea and it is crowded with people and tourists and even people on pedal boats or swimming.
“We’ve been very busy and it’s great. We are so happy that the sun is out.
“We have the impression that summer has arrived. We had a fantastic weekend.
“We hope this continues midway through this week.”
Ms Gay noted that Bank Holiday Monday could be her best day of the year so far after a profitable weekend.
She added: “It has been fantastic. I think today will be our best day and we haven’t stopped serving.
“We haven’t increased our prices and a lot of customers say we’re the cheapest for an ice cream.
“Everyone knows us and I hope people will keep seeing us again!”