Portland bill lighthouse

A Day Trip to the Isle of Portland

Posted on: 27th May 2021

Days Out

Our pick of the best attractions and things to on the Isle of Portland

Guests often ask us for suggestions of places to visit in the local area and we’re more than happy to oblige. We’re huge advocates of Dorset and love nothing more than helping our camping and caravan park guests explore our beautiful county and all the things that make it special.

One of our favourite places to recommend guests looking for a day of sightseeing is the Isle of Portland. This rugged section of the Jurassic Coast has so much to offer and is a must visit during your stay at our holiday park near Poole. Spend the day taking in the stunning scenery or participating in and outdoor activity, if you’re feeling brave. Round the day off with a delicious meal whilst watching the sun set over the sea.

Getting to Portland

You’ll be treated to magnificent views for much of the drive to Portland. There is only one road on and off the ‘island’ which is flanked by water on both sides. To the left the views extend over Portland Harbour – one of the largest man-made harbours in the world. On the right, you’ll catch a glimpse of the Fleet Lagoon – a saltwater inlet that attracts countless species of native and migrating birds.

Portland Marina
Picture credit: Andrew Bone, Flickr

Portland Harbour

Head to Portland Marina for your first stop of the day. The sailing academy hosted the 2012 Olympic Games and the waters continues to attract athletes from all over the world. Take a walk along waterfront to admire the colourful yachts and fishing boats moored on the pontoons. Stop for a refreshing drink in the Boat That Rocks or the Mess Deck Café before making the short walk to Portland Castle, less than 10 minutes away.

If you plan on trying your hand at sailing or any other watersports activities during your holiday in Dorset, you’ll want to book a lesson with one of the providers operating out of the marina. OTC offer windsurfing, kitesurfing and fliteboard taster sessions. Adventure 4 All run coasteering, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding tours and equipment hire.

Chesil Beach

If you’d prefer to keep your feet on solid ground and explore Portland at a leisurely pace, we recommend making your way to Chesil Cove. In our opinion, this is one of the best places to see Chesil and appreciate the beauty of this stunning shingle beach.

Chesill beach from portland

On a hot summer’s day the water is a beautiful turquoise colour, making it popular with scuba divers. It’s the perfect setting for a picnic or simply taking some time to sit back, relax and enjoy the views. The shingle bank is flanked by a promenade lined with benches.  Here you will find Quiddles Café and the Cove House Inn – two of the best places to get a bite to eat or drink.

Next head up to ‘top hill’ as it’s known by locals to enjoy the views from an elevated position. We think the best place is the the viewing point at the Olympic rings statue, especially if you visit at sunset.

Olympic rings statue portland chesil beach

Portland Bill

You must make some time to visit Portland Bill during your day trip. Wind you way through the Portland properties and you’ll be greeted by the iconic red and white striped lighthouse which sits at the southernmost tip of the island. It offers magnificent views out to the sea and along the Jurassic Coast. Climb to the top with a knowledgeable guide and find out more about the landmark’s impressive maritime history.

Fishing off of Pulpit rock on Portland

After your tour, take a walk along the coastline to Pulpit Rock or the cranes that once lowered fishing boats down into the water. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as it’s often possible to see seals and even dolphins from the shore.

Even on a cold, blustery, winters day there’s something special about this place. Please be mindful not to get too close to the edge of the cliffs when the weather is bad.

Crane portland bill

Be sure to stop in the Lobster Pot Café if you haven’t eaten at any of the other café’s and restaurants mentioned so far on your trip. Over the years this award-winning café has earned an excellent reputation for their delicious scones and fresh crab sandwiches.

Tout Quarry

Try and visit Tout Quarry before making your way back to South Lytchett Manor. This beautiful sculpture park is off the beaten track, but well worth a look. Hidden among the nature reserve you’ll hand carved sculptures from acclaimed artists. Take a walk around and see how many you can find!

octopus sculpture at tout quarry
Photo credit: Mike Finn, Flickr

South Lytchett Manor

South Lytchett Manor was recently voted the South West Campsite of the Year. It is situated in a pretty parkland setting on the outskirts of Poole, approximately 55 minutes’ drive from Portland via scenic countryside.

There is a range of accommodation available for families and couples, including camping and touring pitches, glamping pods, shepherd’s huts and Romany caravans. Facilities include a children’s play park, cycle hire, café and shop.

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