Posted November 11th, 2010 | No Comments
Though most focus mainly on the Guy Fawkes night and bringing in November with a very literal bang, there are many other events which take place throughout the month on Portland. Known as the downtime leading up to the Christmas season, mid-November is a time to pause and reflect with some quiet and peaceful functions.
On Sunday, the 14th of November, also known as Remembrance Sunday in honour of those that gave their lives in the two world wars, they will be holding a special service at the Portland Cenotaph, New Ground. The cenotaph, which literally means ‘empty tomb’ in Greek, is inscribed with the names of all those from the island that did not return from the wars.
Also on that Sunday, at the RSPB Radipole Lake Nature Reserve there will be a special ‘Heron Roost Watch’ from 15:00-17:00. Join in at the North Hide as they keep the lookout for Grey Herons, Little Egrets, and the rare and elusive Bittern. Other possible guests include the odd otter or two! There is a charge of £3 for adults and £1.50 for children; this fee includes a free binocular hire. Booking is essential, so call ahead on 01305 778313.
For those more interested in culture than nature, the Portland Museum will be having a ‘Hardy Poetry Readings’ gathering on the 20th of November. Thomas Hardy, one of the most famous English authors of all time, was known equally for his novels and his poems. He was one of the best known contributors to the naturalist movement. He was a lifelong resident of Dorset, and even used the original cottage that the museum is housed in as the home of Avice in his novel “The Wellbeloved”.
Posted October 30th, 2010 | No Comments
If you happen to be visiting the isle of Portland with your children this autumn, be sure to make your way over to the Portland Museum for a couple of their highly anticipated events. Though the museum is typically closed after the 1st November, it is still open some weekends during the winter.
There will be a local art exhibit featured within the museum between the dates of Thursday the 28th October- Sunday the 31st October. The hours of operation will be from 11am-4:30pm. Normal admission charges will apply.
On Saturday, the 20th November, the children are welcome to take part in a Christmas Cracker make and take. Learn how to make your very own cracker, stuffed with your favourite little prize and you will be able to decorate your dinner table this holiday season.
The museum, which was founded by well-known birth control pioneer Dr. Marie Stopes, is the area’s homage to the rich historic life that Portland has to offer. It is housed in two thatched Portland stone cottages located just above Church Ope Cove. Recently renovated, it now features four displays which centralise around the themes of Stone, Sea, Famous People and Local Archaeology.
Posted September 15th, 2010 | No Comments
Most of the people who have decided to holiday closer to home this year have done so not only because they want to see more of their homeland, but also to save money. And, nothing is more of a drain on your finances than having children! So, if you are heading to Portland for a family vacation and are looking for something that is cheap and will entertain the little ones, then check out these family friendly activities that are right on your doorstep.
Fancy’s Family Farm , located on the west side between Reap Lane and West Cliff, is definitely worth a visit! Set amid the natural limestone grasslands, this farm is home to some of the few remaining Portland sheep that can still be found on the isle. In addition to these rare animals, they also have on their farm horses, alpacas, chickens, pigs, goats and geese. This is truly a family farm, so there isn’t much else to do but see and pet the animals, but it is a great opportunity to introduce your children to the agricultural life. Plus, if you visit soon, you will be able to see twin foals born to one of their horses this summer!! This is such a rare event; it is rare to happen again in your lifetime.
If being out in a more wild natural setting is more your style, then the Radipole Lake Nature Reserve in the centre of Weymouth is a great place to visit! It features many rare bird species, pushchair accessible footpaths and beautiful views from almost every angle. They also feature a few great family oriented activities in the summer, such as bug hunts and pond dipping.
Though the first two are wonderful, nothing gets a little girl’s heart aflutter more than the chance to actually ride a horse. No matter what your skill level, Windmill Stables on Weston St can outfit your next adventure. They are a full service equestrian centre and can arrange riding excursions for a range of ages.
Posted July 7th, 2010 | No Comments
On your first visit to Portland, you may be wondering what exactly the coast line has to offer. On this lovely peninsula there are many tucked away coves and beaches for you and your family to explore. From fine sands to gently sloping pebbles, you are sure to find an adventure for every day of your stay.
Chesil Beach is definitely the first beach you will see as you make your way onto the isle. It runs for seventeen miles, stretching from Weymouth’s West Bay all the way down to Portland. With stunning views of the harbour on the horizon, this beach is a must-see. The beach is made up of pebbles which grade in size from east to west, the largest of which are on the Portland side. Though well known for the variety of water sports to be had, the beach is not great for young swimmers as there is steeply shelving shingle, strong currents and rough waters. Dogs are welcomed on all parts of this beach. You can access Chesil beach at numerous points along the coast road, where you can find bus stops, parking and toilet facilities.
For an old-world experience, stop by Church Ope Cove. This pebble beach is a perfect place for inexperienced swimmers, as the steep cliffs surrounding the cove provides a break from the prevailing winds. Set atop the cliffs is the 12th century ruins of St. Andrew’s Church, which you can access via steps from the cove. Here you can still walk under the sweeping archway of the church door, which is nestled in among climbing vines and verdant green shrubbery. If you look up above the grounds of the church, you can spot Rufus Castle, an old Norman relic from the fifteenth century. You can find Church Ope Cove by driving the A354 to Portland Bill; it is near the museum. Parking is limited here; there is space for about twenty cars opposite Pennsylvania Castle, which is a quarter of a mile away. Bus service is available to both Weymouth and Portland. To reach the beach you will need to descend around 180 steps from the cliff top to the shore. Toilets are available on the beach.
If sandy beaches are what you are looking for, Sandsfoot Beach is the answer. Though technically classified as private, it is open to the public so long as you leave nothing behind. This small stretch of sand is the epitome of tranquillity. Located within the harbour walls of Weymouth and Portland, it is well connected with local bus routes, the closet stop being on Rodwell Road Wyke Regis. The gentle waters make it a great place for all ages to swim, though there are no lifeguards or facilities to be found here. The nearest cafe can be found at Sandsfoot Castle, a stronghold of King Henry VIII which finally fell into ruins in the 1700s.
Posted July 2nd, 2010 | No Comments
The Isle of Portland in Dorset is one of the main gateways to the legendary Jurassic Coast of southern England. This gorgeous stretch of land is known for its abundance of highly prized limestone which is quarried and used to construct many well known buildings, like St. Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace, throughout the UK. Limestone might be the most profitable of Portland’s exports, but it is really the natural jewels that you can find on this peninsula which attracts so many of the tourists that visit here year after year.
The first glimpse of Portland can be seen as you drive onto the island bypassing the long stretch of Chesil beach. Along this beach you can find every kind of water sport you can think of to fill your days. Windsurfing, diving and sailing are well established pastimes in this region, and it is here that will be the venue for the 2012 Olympic sailing event. If diving is more your fancy, you can hire guides and instructors to aide your venture into Portland Harbour, the deepest man-made harbour in the United Kingdom. There are many old wrecks to explore underneath the water’s surface, including some fascinating relics from WWII.
On land, you can make your way to Portland Bill, the southern-most point in Dorset, which is the location for the red and white striped lighthouse that is still in use today. Two other lighthouses are also on the Bill; the Old Lower Lighthouse, home of the Portland Bill Bird Observatory, and the Old Higher Lighthouse, which is privately owned. A former owner of the Higher Lighthouse was Dr. Marie Stopes, the pioneer of birth control who opened the first family planning clinic in London in 1921. She also founded the Portland Museum which features maritime artefacts and history.
Also of interest is the sheer amount of pure, unadulterated land to be found here! You can walk or cycle around the cliffs or even take this opportunity to explore more of southern Dorset. Don’t forget to visit the two castles that are on the peninsula, Portland Castle and Rufus Castle. Portland Castle was built under King Charles in the sixteenth century to defend this run of coast from the French and the Spanish. It is one of the best preserved castles from this era and is not to be missed. Rufus Castle, named after William II with his red hair, is the ancient Norman castle that was originally built in the twelfth century, though what remains today was mainly rebuilt around the 1400s. It stands on a rock overlooking the Church Ope Cove.
There is a wide selection of holiday accommodations available to suit all budgets, ranging from hostels to B&Bs, self-catering cottages to hotels. Wherever you choose to stay, make sure to ask the owner’s recommendations on their favourite places to visit in Portland, as this little jewel of the south has tonnes to offer.
Posted January 15th, 2010 | 1 Comment
It’s a 3.5 mile moderate rated walk.
Any visitor to Portland is likely to want to visit the lightouse at Portland Bill, and this walk is an excellent way to take in the lighthouses, and the southern coast of Portland.
The website has a printable photo guide to ensure you can easily find your way, as well as informatoin about ameities, and some good photos of what you have in store.
There are also many other excellent walks listed local to Portland - all along the Jurassic Coast and within the Dorset region. You can view local walks offered by site by clicking here.
To view the 3 Lighthouses Walk - click here.
Posted January 8th, 2010 | No Comments
Click on the Icon to open the page with the webcam on it, or click here
(Note - you may need to download a browser plugin in order to view the video)
You can also keep up with the latest olympic sailing news from Weymouth and Portland Borough Council here: