Pictures showing some beauty spots and beaches in Dorset rammed with visitors over the sunny bank holiday may seem worrying to many – but it will come as a relief to know there was a very different scene in Weymouth.

While Bournemouth’s seafront car parks were full by noon on Monday as thousands of people flocked to the beach to enjoy roasting temperatures, Weymouth appeared quiet – and was certainly not a typical bank holiday.

Although lockdown restrictions have eased, authorities have been pushing a very strong ‘think twice’ message and people have been asked not to visit Dorset right now.

And while Bournemouth appeared to be overcrowded, beachgoers in Weymouth were few and far between. Those who did visit obeyed social distancing rules.

Andy Cooke runs Loving Weymouth and Portland – a social media page with 50,000 followers which celebrates the area - and said Weymouth’s response was ‘superb.’

It's been echoing the message of Dorset Council, police and the NHS which is to visit Dorset later.

“Everyone was incredibly sensible and politely social distancing in our public areas and beach areas” - Andy Cooke.

By contrast, one witness said Bournemouth beach was 'rammed.'

“Clearly Bournemouth looked very crowded from the photos I have seen," said Mr Cooke. "But the message here has been very different.

Dorset Echo:

  • Bournemouth on Bank Holiday Monday  Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA

"The message we’ve been putting out has been we would prefer it if you did stay away – but if you want to come please be sensible. There has been an incredibly positive response to that. We’ve been contacted by people who’ve holidayed here for years and years sending positive comments about how they can’t wait to come back but that they will wait. They've been wishing us well.

“Most people accept the situation and are looking forward to when they can come back, which is wonderful.”

On Thursday, ahead of the bank holiday weekend, Dorset Council announced it would be reopening some car parks and public toilets in key locations to cope with demand.

It had tried to keep them closed in a bid to deter visitors, but there were issues in a number of areas including Lulworth, Portland and West Bexington with irresponsible behaviour by visitors such as illegal parking, littering and lack of social distancing.

In response, Weymouth Town Council opened public toilet facilities including Overcombe, Lodmoor, Greenhill Gardens and the Pier Bandstand.

A spokesman for Dorset Council said: "The bank holiday saw a good number of visitors to the Dorset Council area's beaches. It wasn’t as busy as we expected but on the whole people were socially distancing and being courteous to each other. Weymouth, Lyme Regis, Swanage and West Bay were all manageable. We want to thank everyone for being considerate."