Chesil Beach is 18 miles long and stretches from Portland to West Bay. It averages 160 metres wide and and its highest point rises to 15 metres. Chesil Beach and The Fleet are part of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
One of the best natural harbours in the world sporting excellent conditions for all watersports – the venue for the 2012 Olympics with many centres around the coast, the main one being the WPNSA – Sailing Academy now famous all over the world.
Portland Bill is the most southerly part of the island where you often see passing ships, there have been 3 lighthouses built to protect the shipping, the newest one still works and tours can be arranged. The coastline is stunning and there are great walks and areas to explore.
Pulpit Rock at Portland Bill
Standing in Portland Harbour, Portland Castle was built in the early 1540s during the reign of Henry VIII to protect against invasion from the French and the Spanish. It is a major tourist attraction and a great day out for visitors to learn about it's 450 years of history and the part it has played in the First and Second World Wars.
The Portland Museum is housed in two, 17th century, thatched cottages situated just above Church Ope Cove. The museum has displays based on specialist themes; Stone, Sea and Shipwrecks, Local Archaeology and Famous People as well as a varied collection of interesting things that represent the islands' history, well worth a visit.
Many species make their home on Portland
Church Ope Cove is a sheltered beach on the eastern side of Portland. The beach used to be all sand but now stone debris from quarrying covers the sand and over the years the stones have been rounded into pebbles. These pebbles also cover a small stream which is one of the few streams in all of Portland.
Tout Quarry is an old, abandoned stone quarry at the top of the island close to the Heights Hotel. It was worked for the famous Portland stone from 1780 through to 1982 giving important buildings in London and around the world its great look, from St Pauls and Buckingham Palace to the United Nations Building in New York. It is now a sculpture park full of varied stone carvings both free standing as well as worked into the rock faces left over from the days of quarrying allowing sculpture to meet the environment, its geology, ecology and working histories.
There are two on the island, Perryfields and Broadcroft.