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Looking to visit a part of Dorset that’s a bit wild yet wonderful? Then make sure you visit Portland. Portland is a part of Dorset like no other, in fact it’s a complete contrast; wild, rugged and harsh but in its own way absolutely beautiful.
Portland is thought of as an island although this isn’t wholly correct in the true sense of the word as it’s reached over a causeway from Chesil Beach. Just 4 miles long by a mile and a half wide at its broadest point, this plate of Jurassic limestone is tilted from north to south. This means that if you are on the elevated northern side of the island you are rewarded with stunning views across the Chesil, Portland Harbour & Weymouth.
Portland is an explorer’s island; rock climbing, abseiling, diving, kayaking and walking for the sporty and museums, castles, lighthouses and sculptures for those looking to discover a bit of history and heritage…and all on a tiny island!
Portland is well known world-wide for its sailing waters, the National Sailing Academy is based here and has a reputation for running major championship events. The academy was the host venue for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sailing events. So why not give it a go yourself and skim across the waters that saw Ben Ainslie win his Olympic Gold medal!
Head to the north of the island where you will find the Olympic rings, from here you will enjoy unrivalled views over the sailing waters. Wait until the sun is setting and the rings become the foreground to the most spectacular view of Chesil Beach. Don’t forget your camera!
Portland stone has been quarried on the island for many years and is used in prestigious buildings all around the world including London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, the United Nations HQ in New York and of course the Olympic rings located on the island. Quarrying still continues on the island although Tout Quarry is now disused but has become a sculpture park. Take a walk around the site and discover more than 70 sculptures that have been skilfully carved into the rock face and Portland Stone boulders whilst enjoying some wonderful views.
Portland boasts 3 lighthouses, one of which is still working. After climbing up Portland Bill you can marvel at the views, however, if you decide against going up the lighthouse, there’s still plenty to see from Portland’s craggy rocks. The views of the channel are great…peer out to sea and a real sense of watery wilderness.
With so much to explore, you’ll have a fantastic break in Portland!