Portland

museum_iconPortland Museum, 217 Wakeham, Portland
Tel: 01305 821804
Find out more about Portland Museum

 

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Close to Portland Bill Visitor Centre, Portland Bill. Tel: 01305 861233.

 

Gateway Town road sign

 

Portland is a Gateway Town to the Jurassic Coast.

Portland is an explorer's island with beautiful scenery and a mysterious quality of isolation, joined only to the mainland by Chesil Beach.

 

The only way to explore this fascinating island is on foot. An excellent network of coastal and cross-island pathways gives superb access to a rich variety of features. Fascinating buildings range from the historic and grand, like Portland's three castles and unique churches, to simple stone cottages of quarrymen and fishermen, all full of charm. Portland Harbour and its monumental breakwaters, the great Verne Citadel and historic gun batteries, contrast with the ancient windmill towers and the three lighthouses at the Bill. Around the coves and rocks you can see the sites of numerous shipwrecks.

Many parts of the island, including the whole of the coastline, are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Chesil Beach and the Fleet Lagoon are of international conservation importance and home to a unique variety of flora and fauna, including nearly 300 species of bird, over 30 species of butterfly and 720 species of moth.

Chesil Beach itself has intrigued geologists for centuries; the stones gradually decrease in size from Portland to West Bay and the size-profile is so perfect that experienced fishermen who beach at night can tell their position just by the size of the stones. The Chesil Beach visitor centre tells the story of the region's unique geology through a series of interactive displays. Visitors can also take a trip on the glass-bottomed Fleet Observer boat to examine the marine world of the Fleet more closely.

Getting There

By Foot: Accessible via the South West Coast Path which runs along the entire length of the Jurassic Coast.

By Coach: A number of independent companies operate coach services to Weymouth especially during the summer season. National Express operates direct coach services to Weymouth throughout the year. Contact them on Tel: 08705 808080 or visit National Express .

By Bus: There are regular bus services from Weymouth to Portland.
Find out more about the Jurassic Coast Bus Service or contact Traveline on tel: 0870 6082608 or visit Traveline for further information.

By Train: South West Trains operate a fast and frequent service from London Waterloo to Weymouth daily throughout the year. Virgin Trains offer fast and frequent services from all major UK destinations to Southampton Central daily throughout the year. Connections are then available from Southampton Central to Weymouth. Virgin Trains also operate direct services to Weymouth on Saturdays during the summer. Contact National Rail Enquiries on tel: 08457 484950 or visit National Rail Enquiries

By Road: If you are driving to Dorset from the north, leave the M5 at junction 25 and follow the signs for Yeovil, then Weymouth. Then take the A354 over to Portland.

From the east, follow the M3 and M27 to Ringwood, then the A31 to Dorchester. Follow the A354 from Dorchester to Weymouth and onto Portland.

Find out about local youth hostels 

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Map Key

  • Gateway Town

  • Abbotsbury

    This very old village, settled amongst the hills behind the great Chesil Bank, is world famous for its swannery.

  • Axminster

    Axminster, is a pleasant market town with charm and character. Its famous carpet industry was started in 1755, by Thomas Whitty whose factory produced high quality, custom made carpets for stately homes and mansions.

  • Axmouth

    A ten minute walk along the coast from Seaton is the ancient harbour of Axmouth, home to the Sea Discovery Centre.

  • Beer

    Gateway Town road sign

    Nestling in a small valley, lies the delightful, 'picture postcard', fishing village of Beer.

  • Bournemouth

    Bournemouth is a superb resort and offers something for everyone.

  • Branscombe

    The picturesque village of Branscombe is said to be the longest in the country, sweeping down a spectacular valley, past colourful thatched cottages with hanging baskets and climbing roses, down to the sea and a shingle beach.

  • Bridport

    Bridport is a small market town with a warm welcome and a world renowned rope and net making industry.

  • Budleigh Salterton

    Gateway Town road sign

    This tranquil and historic seaside town nestles on the edge of a pebble beach beneath spectacular red cliffs, made famous by literary giants such as Noel Coward, P.G. Woodhouse and Anthony Trollope.

  • Charmouth

    Gateway Town road sign

    Charmouth is a quiet seaside hamlet where time has stood still - the perfect location for a relaxing holiday. It is the best place along the Jurassic Coast to look for fossils.

  • Corfe Castle

    This section is being developed.

  • Dorchester

    Dorchester is a historic market town with its roots in Roman times; however it is most famously associated with Thomas Hardy. With its elegant 18th century houses, broad Walks and bustling shopping streets, Dorchester has much to offer the visitor.

  • Exeter

    Old and new lie side by side to make Exeter a rich and vibrant city.

  • Exmouth

    Gateway Town road sign

    Exmouth, at the estuary's mouth, marks the World Heritage Coastline's western gateway and despite being one of England's oldest resorts, remains untouched by commercialism.

  • Honiton

    Honiton is famous for lace making and is also a major centre for antiques, with shops devoted to furniture, art and second-hand books.

  • Kimmeridge

    Long rock ledges, a pebbled beach line and rocky outcrops all make this bay stunning.

  • Langton Matravers

    This section is being developed.

  • Lyme Regis

    Gateway Town road sign

    The seaside town of Lyme Regis nestles in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at the point where the rugged West Dorset and East Devon coastlines meet - the heart of the Jurassic Coast.

  • Ottery St Mary

    Ottery St Mary is a little town with a long history. Ottery's roots run deeper than Doomsday Book. In 1061, Edward the Confessor ceded the already established wealthy manor of Oterie to the Cathedral Chapter of Rouen.

     

  • Poole

    Poole Harbour is the second largest harbour in the world after Sydney, Australia. The Quay is a hive of activity all year round with a huge array of fishing boats, yachts, powerboats and pleasure cruisers.

  • Portland

    Gateway Town road sign

    Portland is an explorer's island with beautiful scenery and a mysterious quality of isolation, joined only to the mainland by Chesil Beach.

  • Seaton

    Gateway Town road sign

    Tucked away in the south eastern corner of Devon, is the beautiful, unspoilt Axe Valley. At the mouth of the River Axe is the friendly, coastal resort of Seaton.

  • Sidmouth

    Gateway Town road sign

    Sidmouth still has a unique charm, which has captivated thousands. Beautiful gardens, leisurely walks, Regency history, fine hotels, clean beaches and friendly shops - it's all here in this lovely seaside town.

  • Studland

    The lovely village of Studland is famous for its National Nature Reserve and beautiful natural bay. The village has an interesting Norman church with breathtaking views across the bay.

  • Swanage

    Gateway Town road sign

    The gentle shelving beach at Swanage, with its Victorian pier and fabulous views across to the Needles on the Isle of Wight, is hugely popular with families.

  • Wareham

    Gateway Town road sign

    Wareham is a fascinating and picturesque market town which dates back over 2000 years.

  • West Bay

    Gateway Town road sign

    Just south of Bridport is the pretty harbour village of West Bay, once known as Bridport Harbour. 

  • West Lulworth

    Lulworth Cove is a stunning, textbook perfect, cove and the landscape surrounding it is some of the most outstanding in Britain.

  • Weymouth


    Gateway Town road signWeymouth has so much to offer every visitor. Its fame as a seaside resort dates back over 200 years when King George III holidayed here.