Escape to the tiny Isle of Portland and discover a wild and rugged side to Dorset. The island juts into the English Channel and is connected to the mainland by a pebble-strewn barrier beach. Castles, museums and lighthouses recall the island’s fascinating maritime heritage.
Things to do in Portland
At just six kilometres long and less than three kilometres wide, Isle of Portland is small to say the least. Despite its size, the island is big on adventure. Strong winds make Isle of Portland one of the top sailing and kitesurfing destinations in England. The soaring limestone cliffs are a playground for rock climbers and abseilers. Walk and cycle along one of the most beautiful sections of the South West Coast Path. It loops around the island and treats you to stunning coastal views.
Chesil Beach connects Isle of Portland with the Dorset mainland. The barrier beach stretches for 28 kilometres along the Jurassic Coast and is fringed by glossy quartz, flint and chalcedony pebbles. Stroll along the famous beach and conjure up images of the pirates and smugglers that once landed on the pebble sand. You can find out more about the unique ecosystem at the Chesil Beach Centre, where exhibits spotlight local flora and fauna, including oystercatchers, ringed plovers and sea campion wildflowers.
Red-and-white striped Portland Lighthouse towers over the southern tip of the island. Climb the spiral staircase up the lighthouse for sweeping views over the surrounding cliffs and the windswept English Channel. The original cottage is reimagined as an interactive museum where you can learn about the perils of sailing the English Channel and life as a lighthouse keeper.
Getting around Portland
Get around the Isle of Portland by car or take advantage of local bus services. Bicycles are a scenic and eco-friendly way to explore the island. The Isle of Portland is a 15-minute drive from Weymouth and 1.5 hours from Southampton. Passenger ferries run between the Isle of Portland and Weymouth in the summer.