Portland has been inhabited since the middle stone age and holds the distinction of being both occupied by the Romans and the first place in England to be raided by Vikings! The Isle of Portland is connected to the mainland by the world famous Chesil Beach. Stretching for 18 miles to West Bay, the beach is a must see and is spectacular when viewed from the Olympic rings sculpture.
Portland is the epicentre of British sailing and the harbour is home to the National Sailing Academy where the sailing events of the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games were held. The waters here are credited by the Royal Yachting Association as among the best in Northern Europe for sailing. Local, national and international sailing events are regularly held in the bay; these include the Olympics and World and national championships. The harbour is also the perfect place to try a huge range of watersports such as paddle boarding, canoeing, jet skiing, kite surfing, water skiing, and swimming.
History is everywhere on the island. From the beautifully preserved castle, built during the reign of Henry VIII to protect the area from invasion to the stone quarries that litter the island. The architect Sir Christopher Wren was the Member of Parliament for Weymouth in 1702, and controlled nearby Portland’s quarries from 1675 to 1717. When he designed St Paul’s Cathedral, Wren had it built out of Portland Stone. The buildings made from this stone also include Buckingham Palace, the United Nations headquarters in New York, The British Museum and the Bank of England to name but a few!
Travel the 4 miles to the southern tip of the island to see the towering Portland Bill Lighthouse and explore the rugged coastline. While you’re there, make sure you see the stunning Pulpit Rock. Portland should definitely be on your itinerary when you are visiting Poundbury and the surrounding area.