After years of planning and fundraising, a discovery centre will open its doors to visitors and locals alike.

West Bay Discovery Centre will open to the public on Wednesday, offering an insight into the area’s history and heritage.

Bridport’s deputy town mayor, Cllr Martin Ray, will cut the ribbon at 11am, accompanied by town crier, John Collingwood.

Bridport Area Development Trust (BADT) is responsible for bringing the Grade II-listed building back to life and giving it a ‘fresh and exciting’ new purpose. The trust has been supported by a professional construction team which included Kim Sankey of Angel Architecture and project manager, Daryl Chambers.

The centre aims to take its visitors on a ‘voyage of discovery’ around West Bay past and present using images, audio, videos and interactive displays.

BADT director John West said: “We will provide interactive experiences for all ages, enabling people to learn about West Bay in a fun way. We’ll challenge our visitors to go out and make their own discoveries and come back to the centre to learn more. They’ll be able to learn how more than 300 ships were once built in a shipyard of which there is no trace today, how and why West Bay became a trading and fishing port and then finally a popular tourist destination.

“It’s certainly not all history, and one of the highlights of the centre is a unique display where today’s residents and visitors explain why West Bay is special for them.”

The centre also features the story of the area’s geological past and its place in the World Heritage Coast and will also be a hub of information for visitors and locals alike on all there is to do in this part of West Dorset.

Mr West added: “West Bay is a special place of fascinating contrasts, that draws people back again and again. We want to help people make the most of their time here, as well as enabling regular visitors to relive their memories of West Bay past and create new ones too.”

For more information and volunteering opportunities, email