The Belvedere Inn is full of historical interest and quirky features.

This pub dates back to the middle of the 19th century and has since become one of the most popular local haunts in Weymouth.

As you walk along High West Street past the Old Town Hall, the sound of laughter, music and merry conversation starts to fill the air. Right at the end of the street, you’ll find the source of such cheer.

Dorset Echo: Exterior of the Belvedere Inn

Inside, the Belvedere Inn boasts a warm and bustling ambiance where many locals like to catch up with friends or unwind after a long day of work.

Click into our picture gallery above to see a series of full-sized photos of the Belvedere 

One such Weymouth local is Ross, who describes the inn as “a home from home.”

“There are many nightclubs and pubs around, but there’s very few that are little gems like this one. It’s your local and having a local is very important,” he said.

The inn has your traditional pub grub as well as offering Sunday Roasts, fry up breakfasts and a variety of ales from established and micro-breweries, mostly local. People are also welcome to bring their dogs inside. 

Dorset Echo: Belvedere Inn bar

It boasts many accolades, being named as one of the best pubs in the country in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide in 2022, and being named Pub of the Year in the Echo last year.

READ MORE: The Dorset Echo Pub of the Year has been announced

The pub’s popularity, according to Ross, can be attributed to its personal touches.

 “The landlady has whole say on everything that goes on in here and she’s got a very good taste in live music and events. She’s got the licence in herself to do what she wants to do. It’s thoroughly independent and individual and it’s not really ever going to change.”

Lyn Mackenzie has been the landlady of the Belvedere Inn since 2019 and has been the driving force behind many of the inn’s unique aesthetics including building the Pirates Keep, which Lyn says is steeped in rich history.

“I am researching into the history of the building.

"At the moment the earliest date of it being a pub or room house is 1855. Prior to that it was a bakery and a green grocers.

"During the Second World War, what is now Pirates Keep was a skittles alley that used to be a bunkhouse for soldiers.

Dorset Echo: Inside Pirates Keep

“During Covid, we rebuilt the derelict alley into a pirate themed bar. The closest other pirate bar to my knowledge is in Portsmouth, so there isn’t another feature like it in Dorset.”

The room now resembles the inside of a 1700s tall ship, featuring a fireplace and intricate carved panelling. Since Lyn’s renovation, the unique venue has played host to black tie events, weddings, and live music shows.  

Next to the Pirate Keep, you’ll come across a wooden door decorated like a magical wardrobe. Walk through and you’ll discover not Narnia but “Narden” – a secluded outdoor space described by locals as a “haven.”

According to Lyn, the previous landlord created the name by combining the titles of two famous literary works – The Secret Garden and The Chronicles of Narnia – as it was indicative of the space’s hidden and enchanting aura, providing escapism from the hustle and bustle of the town.

Dorset Echo: The Belvedere Inn is the Dorset Echo's Pub of the Year

“The garden in the summer is spectacular. It’s a south facing garden and you wouldn’t believe it’s right next to a main road because you sit out here in the sun and you don’t hear anything it’s lovely and calming,” Lyn added. 

There is also a stage within the pub which will play host to its first “major” event of 2024 – Anti Valentines on February 10, 2024.

The day will include Duke & Broad’s rat pack show, a performance from Dorset rock band Tripod, and a ticketed event in Pirates Keep called Belvedere Burlesque.

The latter will be hosted by international cabaret artist King Crimson and feature performances by Dorset based Neo Burlesque and drag King performer Miss Anticipation, Weymouth artist Josie Renee and an interval fire show by Ana Defuego and Amiee Lune Fleur.

Dorset Echo: The stage seating area of the Belvedere Inn

While Lyn is "delighted" to be recognised for Dorset Echo’s Pub of the Week, she highlights the growing need for people to support small, independent businesses locally especially during the cost of living crisis and dry January.

“If everybody helps put their hand in to support local venues even just by doing a review that would be great, because anybody in the trade, any business, needs all the help they can get.

“Chains have the financial backing and support whereas the independents don’t and we’re getting crippled. It’s the smaller independent businesses that need all the help they can get not just pubs but restaurants and cafes as well because they’re shutting all over and it’s worrying to see, so anything to help is a bonus.”

The opinion is shared by regulars in the pub who would be saddened to see such a treasured and unique part of town close.

Ross added: “It’s got a lot of old Weymouth about it. A lot of pubs in this country are closing in trade and keeping these little independent ones alive is very, very important. These independent pubs are very close to our hearts, and we’ve got to save them."