Portland Bill in Dorset

A local’s Guide to the Isle of Portland

24 September 2019Helpful Information

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. Occasionally beach huts are available to buy – keep an eye out for these in the windows of Portland property agents. 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!


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.


West Dorset Leisure Holidays

West Dorset Leisure Holidays are a family run group of 5 holiday parks on or near the Jurassic Coast in Dorset. The parks offer excellent accommodation and facilities and each of them is unique, so you are bound to find one to suit you. Accommodation includes lodges, caravans, glamping and pitches for touring & camping.

Facilities include Martin’s Bar & Restaurant, Highlands End Leisure Club, the Little Fire Station Soft Play and park nature trails. The parks are family friendly, dog friendly and are situated in beautiful coastal and countryside locations with a great range of places to visit and things to do nearby. We have caravan and lodge holiday homes for sale across all 5 parks. Find out more here, or check availability and make a booking.

What our guests say

  • The Most Magical Campsite

    We have just come back from the most magical few days staying at Highlands End. In fact, it was so good we extended our stay by a few days whilst on park. We are new to campsites and this was beyond my expectations

    Mr Scott - Tripadvisor
    Highlands End

  • Happy second visit

    Perfectly clean, ample space, lovely views, close to everything, what more could be asked for?

    Dan Pipper - Tripadvisor
    Golden Cap

  • Well maintained and quiet

    Lovely clean and tidy site. well maintained and quiet in walking distance to Hive Beach and West Bay only a couple of miles away over the coastal walk.

    Linda S - Google Reviews
    Graston Copse

  • Friendliest park on the Dorset coast

    Possibly the friendliest park on the Dorset coast. Staff are exceptional, very helpful and keep the place spotless. The views are fantastic. Showers and toilets are very modern and extremely clean.

    Mr Leck - Tripadvisor
    Highlands End

  • Fantastic

    This is a lovely quiet, friendly, well maintained site with very friendly, helpful staff who are knowledgeable about the local area and more than happy to pass on useful information to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

    Nigel White - Tripadvisor

  • Wonderful three night stay

    Our pitch was spacious and quiet. The facilities were clean and a generous number of showers etc whatever time we needed them. A very picturesque site and plenty to do straight from the van without the need to drive

    Rachel L - Pitch Up
    Golden Cap

  • Beautiful weekend away

    This park is in a wonderful location. The local village is beautiful and only a 15 min walk along the river. The beach is then another 15 minutes along - again a beautiful walk. We were blessed with amazing weather so we spent the afternoon on Hive Beach.

    Clairey16 - Tripadvisor
    Graston Copse

  • Ideal base for exploring

    Ideal base for exploring Dorset , everywhere we wanted to visit was within easy reach . Site itself was very good, nice and quite and clean and staff very friendly.

    James S - Tripadvisor

  • Perfect Site, A Complete Gem!

    It's always a bit of gamble going somewhere new, but Eype House Caravan park did not disappoint. Quite the opposite, it exceed all our expectations and we completely fell in love with the place.

    Kat G - Tripadvisor
    Eype House