Portland, Weymouth and surrounds

Although best known for its stone and the Portland Bill lighthouse, the Isle of Portland has much more to discover. Portland has stunning scenery, a wealth of wildlife, dramatic coastline plus superb water sports facilities including the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy which is the official venue for the Olympic sailing events

Portland view


Portland is not really an island but is reached over the narrow causeway from Chesil Beach. It is a huge block of limestone, measuring 4.5 miles by 1.75 miles and rising to a height of 400 feet above sea level in the north.

Many parts of the island are designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest.


In the summer of 1789, King George III went for a bathe in Weymouth Bay, hoping to cure a nervous disorder. This royal patronage set the beautiful coastal resort of Weymouth on its way as one of the UK's most picturesque and popular seaside towns. Weymouth's Georgian popularity is still very much apparent in the wonderful terrace which lines its award winning, sandy and child friendly beach.

World Heritage Coast

The 95 mile stretch of coast from Studland in Dorset to Exmouth in Devon was awarded National World Heritage Status by UNESCO in 2001, the only natural site in the UK to have been awarded this accolade.

This staggeringly beautiful stretch of countryside is rich in wildlife and geological importance. You can walk (the South West Coast path covers the whole 95 miles), birdwatch (there are 355 recorded varieties on Portland alone), hunt for fossils along the famous Jurassic Coast, or just simply spend relaxing days around the beaches.

Beaches & Activities

Along this coast are some of Britain's best and cleanest beaches including the fossil hunting beaches at Charmouth, Seaton and Lyme Regis, West Bay and the stunning Lulworth Cove. Weymouth beach has golden sands and clean, shallow waters ideal for families.

Portland has an excellent coast to coast network of public footpaths, which gives superb access to lovely walks and places of amazing contrasts

Watersports & Other Activities

Weymouth and Portland Harbour is a very large, protected, bay for windsurfing, sailing and kitesurfing.

Other activities in the area include paragliding, hiking, cycling or pony trekking and Climbing

Some Further Attractions

Overlooking Portland Harbour is Portland Castle, one of Henry VIII's finest coastal forts, built in the early 1540s to protect against French and Spanish invasion. Today it provides a great day out for visitors and its audio tour, included in the admission price tells of the castle's 450 year history and the part it played in WW1 & WWII.

Gallery and Café

Relax at White Stones Café Gallery. Enjoy good food and high quality art in beautiful contemporary surroundings.

Weymouth Harbour

Weymouth's old harbour with its listed cottages, lifting bridge and the award winning Brewers' Quay - an old Victorian brewery, redeveloped as a harbourside tourist attraction including the Timewalk, a trip through 600 years of local history, and home to a regular French Market. Nothe Fort A restored Victorian fort, now a military museum, with fascinating displays and spectacular views of both Weymouth and Portland harbours.


Britain's famous swannery, a lovely trip all year round, but with a seasonal programme the highlight of which is baby swan hatching in Spring. 'Next door' are the beautiful sub-tropical gardens.


The 'ghost village' at Tyneham. Requisitioned by the army during World War II and never returned, this is now a fascinating ruin; the church and school have been restored to display the village's unusual history.

Useful links

Map and directions

How to get to Portland, Dorset

Tourist information


Sailing & Windsurfing


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