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Things to do inPortland

Visitor information for Portland in Dorset

  • Portland
  • Portland
  • Portland
  • Portland

When you visit the Isle of Portland, stop off at the Chesil Beach Visitor Centre on the causeway, where you’ll find lots of information about Chesil Beach and the wildlife that it supports. 

You’ll also pass the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy, which hosted the Olympic sailing events of London 2012 and still hosts top sailing events throughout the year.

There are several attractions on the island which offer something for all ages: The D-Day Centre offers an immersive, interactive visitor experience that tells the story of embarkation from what the Americans called: ‘The world's biggest little port’; Portland Castle is one of Henry VIII’s finest coastal forts with views over Portland Harbour; the animals at Fancy’s Farm will delight the children and as it’s free to wander around it will no doubt delight the adults too; and Portland Museum is packed with artefacts that chart the history, people and culture of the island, and, surprisingly, it has a connection to family planning! 

To the right of the Museum is a path and steps that lead down to Church Ope Cove, a sheltered beach that is popular with local residents and was once a smuggling hot spot. The walk down to the beach offers stunning views and it’s usually quiet. 

Portland Stone has been used in prestigious buildings all around the world, including London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, and the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Quarrying continues but Tout Quarry, now disused, has become a sculpture park with more than seventy sculptures to be found by walking around the site. 

The South West Coast Path goes right around the island and on a clear day you can see the longest stretch of coastline than from any other point on the Path’s 630-mile length.

The Visitor Centre at Portland Bill Lighthouse gives an insight into the work of Trinity House, the organisation responsible for the operation of our lighthouses. During the summer, visitors are able to climb the lighthouse steps and marvel at the views.

Close to the Lighthouse is the Portland Bird Observatory: Portland has many sightings of rare birds as they use the island as a stop off point on their migration to warmer climes. Swallows, oystercatchers, short-eared owls and the UK’s smallest bird of prey, Merlins, have all been spotted off Portland Bill. The Observatory is open all year round for you to visit and to spot the local wildlife. 

With a spa for a spot of pampering, horse riding with fabulous sea views, pubs, cafes and restaurants ready to fulfil your foodie requirements, Portland really does have a lot to offer its visitors. 

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Latest Portland Features

27 Feb 2018
10 of the Best Dorset Places of Interest Dorset is blessed with more beauty spots and landmarks per square mile than anywhere else (ok we just made that up, but it's got a lot). With its stunning countryside, breathtaking coastal views, historic monuments and spectacular natural features, you don’t have to look far to see why visitors just can’t get enough of what Dorset has to offer. One of the great advantages is just how accessible everything is – many sights are close together and you could ... Read more...
27 Feb 2018
Chesil Beach Chesil Beach is a stunning 18-mile long shingle bank running between West Bay and Portland. The bank protects the land behind it, without it the sea would be further inland. Interestingly, the pebbles vary in size from pea sized at West Bay to large potato size at Portland. This could be due to the southwesterly gales that would carry all of the material to the east and the less strong waves from other directions may carry the smaller pebbles back to the west. Another school of ... Read more...
12 Feb 2018
Jurassic Coast Covering 95 miles, from Orcombe Point in east Devon to Old Harry Rocks in Dorset, the Jurassic Coast is an unprecedented place where the history from millions of years is lying beneath your feet. In 2001, the coastline was listed as one of the UNESCO’s natural World Heritage sites due to it being one of the most significant Earth Science locations in the world. This is the only place in the world where the geology, exposed in cliffs for all to see, is a near-continuous ... Read more...
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More articles available in the features section.