Portland Bill in Dorset

A local’s Guide to the Isle of Portland

24 September 2019Holiday Park News

No trip to Dorset is complete without spending a day on the Isle of Portland, a unique island famed for its heritage, rugged landscape and spectacular views. Just a short drive from our Dorset holiday parks, this tied peninsula is steeped in maritime history and offers a wealth of unique and interesting places for intrepid visitors to explore.

 

As you drive onto the island you will be greeted by the world’s largest man-made harbour and the home of the 2012 Olympic sailing events. Here you can walk around the marina and look at the impressive yachts, or, if you’re feeling adventurous, participate in a range of water-based activities, including sailing, kayaking, windsurfing and stand up paddle boarding.

History and heritage

Continuing your walk around Portland Harbour, you will find Portland Castle, one of Henry VIII’s coastal forts. Experience unrivalled sea views from the gun platform and take an audio tour of this important piece of history, where you can learn about the strategic role it played during the Tudor period and the First and Second World War.

History lovers will also enjoy Castle Town D Day Centre, the Portland Museum and the Grove Prison Museum.

Magnificent beaches

If history is not really ‘your thing’, perhaps a visit to one of the islands magnificent beaches is in order. World renowned Chesil beach stretches 18 miles from Portland to West Bay and is an impressive spectacle, regardless of the time of year. On a calm day enjoy a leisurely walk along the expanse of shingle bank or watch the waves crash onto the shoreline on a blustery day. To appreciate the sheer scale of this beautiful beach a trip to the viewing platform is the order of the day. From the Olympic rings statue, you can see the beach stretch into the distance and enjoy breath taking views over Weymouth Bay and the Fleet Lagoon.

Chesil Beach in Dorset

 

Church Ope Cove is Portland’s hidden gem and a favourite spot for local artists looking for a peaceful place to create. The sheltered and secluded cove is a situated at the bottom of a large flight of stairs, but the peace and tranquil setting is worth the added walk. Simply sit back, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the sound of the waves as you while away an afternoon beside the pretty beach huts. On your ascent be sure to take a moment to explore the abandoned church and the pirate’s graves stones. There’s also an old smugglers tunnel to investigate!

Wildlife

One of our favourite places to visit on the island is the Tout Quarry Sculpture Park and nature reserve. Here you can seek out incredible sculptures and carvings hidden amongst the rocks, including the early work of renowned sculpture Anthony Gormley. There’s also an abundance of wildlife thanks to the unique limestone and grassland habitat. In the summer months butterflies, slow worms and lizards can all be found.

 

Fancy’s Farm is another popular attraction for families with little ones in tow. This working farm is completely free to enter and houses a number of animals, including wallabies, donkeys, alpacas and sheep.

Portland Bill

‘The Bill’ is the jewel in Portland’s crown and an absolute must during any visit to the island. Located at Portland’s southernmost tip, the striking cliffs and unique rock formations are not to be missed. If you’ve got a head for heights, we highly recommend climbing the stairs to the top of Portland Bill lighthouse to enjoy far reaching views across the bay.

portland bill lighthouse

Eat and drink

Despite being just over 4 miles long and only a mile and a half wide, Portland has an abundance of pubs and cafés to sample during your visit. If you’re hoping to enjoy a bite to eat whilst gazing out to sea, the Lobster Pot at Portland Bill is undoubtedly the place to go. Watch the ships and fishing boats pass by the clifftop from the comfort of this longstanding café. It has a reputation for excellent waitress service and boasts some of the best crab sandwiches around!

Perched on the edge of Chesil Beach, you’ll find the Cove House Inn, a favourite haunt for locals and visitors alike. This special spot is an idyllic place to mark the end of a fun filled day and enjoy a drink as the sun dips below the horizon.

Stay with us in Dorset

West Dorset Leisure Holidays comprises of 5 holiday parks situated at prime locations along the Dorset coast. All of the parks are dog friendly and there are a range of accommodation options available including luxury lodges, caravan holiday homes, glamping and pitches for touring and camping. There are also a variety of facilities to keep the whole family entertained, including Martin’s Bar & Restaurant and Highlands End Leisure Club. Check availability for your holiday and make a booking here.

What our guests say

  • Very peaceful Park

    The wildlife is stunning, we were visited by the ducks on a regular basis which was lovely. Our visit was very enjoyable and we will definitely be back in the future!

    Sarah W - Pitch Up
    Sandyholme

  • 5 out of 5 isn't enough!

    This is simply our favorite touring park along the south coast. The location couldn't be better with views to die for and an abundance of fresh sea air. The park is spic and span and extremely well kept with very friendly staff.

    Big Caravan Adventures - Tripadvisor
    Highlands End

  • Best holiday ever!

    This is by far the best Holiday Park I have been to. The views are breath taking with easy access to the beach and nice coastal walks to West Bay. If you're looking for a relaxing holiday in a stunning location, then this is the place to come.

    Alison D - TripAdvisor
    Highlands End

  • Fantastic holiday once again

    We have been coming here now every year for about 10 years. Its our favourite place and the Park has everything we need.

    Andy M - TripAdvisor
    Highlands End

  • A little bit of heaven!

    Golden Cap is a little bit of heaven. The views are awesome, right next to the sea. It's all relaxed and low key just how we like it.

    Esther Woodhouse - Facebook
    Golden Cap

  • Idyllic setting

    Quiet site in a beautiful setting with exceptionally clean toilets and showers

    Anthony M - Pitch Up
    Graston Copse

  • Would definitely recommend

    Close to beach, a nice local pub, dog friendly and a very relaxed atmosphere.

    Dan M - Pitch Up
    Golden Cap

  • A tour of Dorset!

    An excellent Park as a base to visit the Dorset coast, Jurassic Coast, Chesil Beach, Lyme Regis, Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, to name a few.

    Arthur D - Tripadvisor
    Graston Copse

  • Fantastic Park

    10 out of 10 is not enough for this Holiday Park. We have been here 3 times and we love it more and more every time. The park has all you need, with some pitches overlooking the sea and a great restaurant.

    Shirley Thompson - Tripadvisor
    Highlands End

  • A hidden gem

    The location is amazing, right on the beach and all the facilities are good. It's a hidden gem this one, one of the best parks in the country

    Mark Tee - Tripadvisor
    Golden Cap

  • Lovely tranquil campsite

    The location was great as we could easily walk to the village or local beaches through the beautiful countryside. I would recommend this campsite to families for a peaceful and safe stay.

    Sarah - Tripadvisor
    Graston Copse