Isle of Portland
Portland is a town in Dorset, a county on the south coast of the West Country, in England. Portland is actually an island, even though it is linked to the mainland by Chesil Beach, as Chesil Beach is actually a tombolo.
Many attractions and facilities are available in the nearby town of Weymouth, only a short bus ride away. The area is rapidly improving after the closure of the Naval Base in 1995. The London 2012 Olympic sailing events were staged in Portland Harbour.
From the South and London: Follow the A35 towards Dorchester, but turn off on the junction for the A354 (that has signs for Weymouth). Then simply follow the signs into the town. Once in Weymouth there are many signs for Portland. From the Westcountry: Follow the signs for Bridport, then at the roundabout near Morrisons take the coast road towards Weymouth, or the main road towards Dorchester. Once in Weymouth there are many signs for Portland.
The nearest train station is in Weymouth. Trains to Weymouth come direct from London Waterloo and Bristol. Connections can be made from the north by changing trains at London, Bristol or at Southampton. There is a bus stop two minutes from the train station with direct busses to Portland. There is also a taxi rank outside the station.
National Express operates a coach service to and from Weymouth's Seafront. Services run to London Victoria, Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Brighton, Bristol with connections to other locations from those towns. Once in Weymouth, there is a five minute walk to a bus stop further along the seafront, where buses to Portland depart up to every 7 minutes .
Bus services are provided by both First and South West Coaches on Portland. The main service is route 1, provided by First, which operates every 7/8 minutes on weekdays during the day. The FirstDay ticket, which allows unlimited travel around Portland, Weymouth and Dorchester on the day of purchase on First services, costs £4.10 and can be bought from a driver.
Taxis are relatively inexpensive, the major operator in the area is Portline (+44 1305 821600)
- Portland Castle, Liberty Road, Castletown, DT5 1AZ (Follow road signs upon arrival on Portland towards Castletown and Portland Castle. Bus services 1, 1X, 7 and X7 serve Victoria Square, approximately ten minutes walk away), ☎ . Every day, 10.00AM to 5PM (Closed during winter, open late nights in summer). Built by Henry VIII in the early 1540s, this castle has played a part in history ever since. This history is portrayed through exhibitions and the building its self. adults £4.80, children £2.90, concessions £4.30.
- Tout Quarry, Hope Square (Follow the main road up until the Portland Heights Hotel, when you will turn right at a roundabout following signs for Tout Quarry. Bus services 1 and 1X serve the nearby Portland Heights Hotel, which is approximately three minutes walk away). Every day, All Day (For walking around the quarry) Contact venue for workshop times. This beautiful quarry is full of sculptures that local people have created. It is set on the top of Portland with fantastic views of the Jurassic Coastline. Free Entry (Workshops have additional fee).
- Portland Bill Lighthouse, Most Southerly Tip of Portland (Follow brown tourist signs towards Portland Bill from arrival on Portland. Bus service 1X serves this venue), ☎ . Opening to be announced. Situated at the tip of Portland, this famous lighthouse has a visitor centre and tours around the lighthouse. Contact venue for pricing (Family tickets available).
- Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, Osprey Quay (Follow brown tourist signs to Osprey Quay on arrival to Portland. Bus services 1, 1X, 7 and X7 serve Victoria Square, approximately ten minutes walk away.), ☎ . Check with venue for opening times. Located within the Osprey Quay development is the new National Sailing Academy. This venue will host the London 2012 Olympic sailing events. This venue hosts events throughout the year as well as sailing courses. Cost of courses varies.
- Rock Climbing
- Cycling/Hiking around the island on the clifftop-coastal path
- YHA Youth Hostel, Hardy House, Castle Road (Castle Town), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. An impressive Edwardian building (that previously housed the Royal Navy's First Admiral). Close to Chesil Beach and the fast bus link to Weymouth. From £13 per bed, £25 per room.
There are numerous guest houses located on the island. Portland Heights Hotel has spectacular views and has the highest amount of tourist guide stars in the area. Portland Lodge next door is also very good and caters to many of the divers and sailors in the area.
The majority of pubs on the island are locally run establishments, aimed at older generations. There are no nightclubs on Portland. Most of local residents travel to nearby Weymouth to go out. Cinema and Bowling facilities can also be found in Weymouth.