- Outdoor adventure
- Pennsylvania Castle Estate
- Things to do
- Food and drink
- Villages on Portland
- Essential info
- Portland trivia
The Isle of Portland is a hub for outdoor adventure activities, and set against the backdrop of a UNESCO World Heritage site, the stunning Jurassic Coast, there is no other place quite like it.
The sailing waters of Portland are some of the best in the world, and were showcased on the world stage during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sailing events.
Alongside world class sailing, The Isle of Portland offers a whole host of water sports including: diving, fishing, windsurfing, kayaking, kite surfing and coasteering so whichever way the water interests you Portland is sure to satisfy. If land based activities are more to your interest Portland boasts many impressive walking routes, rock climbing spots, cycle paths, bird watching areas and horse riding facilities.
Portland has a rich history and many areas of interest so why not soak up some of the local culture during your stay at Cove Holiday Park and visit one of the following key attractions;
- Church Ope Cove
- Portland Castle
- Portland Museum
- Tout Quarry
- Portland Bill
- Rufus Castle
- Chesil Beach
- Verne High Angle Battery
- D-day museum
Church Ope Cove is a little pebble beach on the sheltered eastern side of the Isle of Portland. Some say it is likely to have been the landing place of the first recorded Viking attack on the British Isles in 789 AD. It was a famous smuggling beach and a natural target for landing goods and sinking contraband alcohol for pickup under the cover of night.
Now Church Ope Cove is popular for fishing, snorkelling, swimming, and even diving, as it provides access to numerous wrecks in the surrounding waters.
Portland Castle is a coastal fort built by Henry VIII in the 1540’s. It is a historic site and has an educational audio tour whereby visitors can discover the Castle’s long history and involvement in WWI and WWII. Portland Castle offers great sea views from the gun platform, gardens and the Captain’s Tearooms.
Open daily from 10:00am -6:00pm between the 28th March and 30th September.
Portland Museum is the place to learn about the area’s history – local industry, the sea, the prisons, the people and the fossils of the Jurassic Coast – a World Heritage site. The museum was founded in 1930 and is housed in two early 17th century stone cottages.
Open Sunday through Thursday, 10:30am – 4:00 pm, after the 28th March
Tel: 01305 821804 | View on Google maps
Craftsmen and artisans have worked with Portland’s Stone since Roman times. The Tout Quarry Sculpture Park keeps this part of Portland life alive with a fantastic park for visitors and the local community. Artists, both well-known and emerging create works for the park – often on site, with the disused quarries being used as outdoor studio workshops. This is an imaginative use of the environment indeed.
Tel: 01305 826736 | View on Google maps
Portland Bill is on the Southerly tip of the Isle of Portland, 1.2 miles south of the village of Easton. It is home to the Portland Bill Lighthouse. A new Visitor Centre (opened 2015) houses an impressive exhibit where visitors can learn about the lighthouse, its keepers and its 500 plus year history. Climb the lighthouse to have a view for miles along the Dorset Coastline, Jurassic Coast and the Portland Race.
Visitor Centre opening times vary.
Tel: 0130 5821050 | Location
A Norman Castle built on a rocky promontory, Rufus Castle (or what remains of it) overlooks Church Ope Cove. The ruins of the structure dates from the late 15th Century, though the origins an earlier castle date from 1142, maiking it Portland’s oldest castle. It also goes by the alternative name of Bow and Arrow Castle, due to its construction in the form of a pentagon with loop-holes built into the thick walls allowing archers to fire upon attackers.
Walking access is via Church Ope Road, off Wakeham Street, Portland, and parking is available free just south of Church Ope Road.
An 18 mile long pebble beach stretching northwest from Portland to West Bay, separated from th emainload for much of its length by the Fleet Lagoon, a shallow (less than 2 metres deep in most parts) salt water body of water. It is an mportant area for wildlife an dlies at the centre of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO designated world heritage site.
The Chesil Beach Visitors Centre is a great place to start your exploration of the area, and find out about access to different parts of the beach and sensitive periods for wildlife.
The Visitor’s Centre is run by Dorset Wildlife Trust, and located at the southern tip of the Fleet Lagoon on the Ferrybridge carpark between Weymouth and Portland.
Open 7 days a week, from 10 am until 5 pm (Easter until end of September) and 10 am until 4 pm (Winter).
Tel: 01305 206191
The Vern High Angle Battery is the best reserved Battery of its type in the united Kingdom. A derelict Victorian gun battery built in 1892as part of Britain’s Coastal Defences. It is located in a disused Portland Stone Quarry at the northern end of the island, in the Verne area, and close to the Verne Citadel.It’s spooky tunnels have gained the name ‘The Ghost Tunnels’ to locals of Portland. It is a scheduled monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archeological Areas Act 1979 and considered a site of national importance. Free to visit.
D-day museum- Castletown D-Day Centre is an authentic recreation of the busy wartime dockyard on the Isle of Portland, from which in 1944, thousands of American troops of the 5th US Corps and the US 1st infantry, embarked, bound for the heavily defended beaches of Nazi occupied France.
Opening times 10.30am- 3.30pm weekends
The Hayloft Café is part of the wonderful Pennsylvania Castle Estate, nestled in the cliffs on the Isle of Portland. We have a gorgeous menu with fresh salad and vegetables from our own Estate kitchen garden combined with locally sourced produce to create a menu of healthy snacks. Also our famous smoothies use fresh fruit along with seasonal fruits from the Estate.
More Info: 01305 820918 | Website
Situated at the top of Reforne opposite the cricket field and a stone’s throw from the historic St George’s Church, The George Inn is one of the oldest inhabited buildings on the island. Once home to The Court Leet The George is now a family run community local, serving an ever changing selection of real ales and good value for money pub grub.
Relax in the fully enclosed beer garden where you cannot fail to catch the sun or find one of the four cosy rooms, comfortable to enjoy a drink or a meal.
Lunch and dinner served Wednesday through Sunday. Kitchen closed Monday and Tuesday with the exception on bank holidays.
More info: T: 01305 820011 | Facebook
Taste* is an independent café with fresh tasty food, friendly service and good reviews on the coffee! Taste* caters to all clientele. They serve breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, coffee & West Country ice creams.
Using the finest produce from local suppliers, menus are thoughtfully produced to cater for yours & your children’s needs, with exciting daily specials,& delicious, fresh, hand-picked, Portland Crab sandwiches.
You can enjoy a local beer from The Dorset Brewing Company or a carefully selected glass of wine with your lunch.
Open daily from 10am, and for occasional special evening dinner events with live entertainment, private hire and high season extended opening hours.
More info: T: 01305 206196 | Website
White Stones, located in Easton, is just a short walk away from Cove Park and is an ideal place to relax with a broad selection of refreshments and home cooked hot and cold food. Using only quality local and British produce including a deli area with an excellent range of products to take away. There is also a range of gifts, books, art prints and cards available.
The main gallery area showcases, paintings, sculpture, ceramics and jewellery by leading artists from around the South West and there is a delightful covered courtyard leading to a magical sculpture garden and art studio. The studio is home to artist and owner David Nicholls and he will be holding half and one day Mosaic workshops throughout the summer. If you fancy getting creative please see the website or telephone for details.
Whether you pop in for breakfast in the morning, lunch with a glass of wine on the sunny courtyard or just relax with a fresh brewed coffee and a slice of locally made cake, you will be sure of a warm and friendly welcome and an enjoyable visit!
Open 9am – 5pm Monday – Saturday & 9am – 4pm Sundays & bankholidays.
More info: T: 01305 561597 | Website
The Isle of Portland is split between two main areas, Tophill and Underhill. Between these two districts the eight villages of Portland are situated.
Cove Holiday Park is located in Tophill. Easton (Tophill) and Fortuneswell (Underhill) are the largest villages on the Island with Easton being the nearest village to Cove Holiday Park (0.7 miles).
Easton has a small square with a shopping arcade, a secondary school, four churches, a small park and a few pubs, and is one of the main hubs (along with Fortuneswell) of the Isle of Portland’s activities.
Fortuneswell is an old fishing community and the ‘gateway’ to the island of Portland. This small village is set on sloping land on the northern edge of the island with a shopping street,
Also in Tophill is Weston, Southwell and Wakeham, which is a hamlet with a distinctively wide street and a small woodland area, and the Grove – which is most notable for its boundary road and it’s prison – the Young Offender’s Institution.
In Underhill, there is Castletown – a small village on the shores of Portland Harbour. It includes a sandy beach and Portland Castle and was developed from a fishing village into a hub of activity in the mid 19th century with the establishment of a naval base. It is also the site that much of the world famous Portland stone was shipped to London from, and is now a popular diving spot. And finally, also in Underhill is Chiswell – the oldest settlement on the island, at the southern end of Chesil beach and it’s prominent feature is the promenade and seawall which forms Chiswell’s coastal defences.
The nearby village of Easton has all the essentials you will need for your stay at Cove Holiday Park; the local greengrocers, bakery, Post Office, convenience store and superstore can all be found less than a mile away. The nearest retail shopping area can be found in Weymouth, with a frequent bus service operating from Easton Square every 10 minutes.
- Portland Harbour is one of the largest man-made harbours in the world.
- Portland Stone is world famous, and has been used extensively in many major public buildings such as St Paul’s Cathedral in London and the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
- Rabbits have long been associated with bad luck on Portland, and using the word ‘rabbit’ is still taboo. The creatures are often referred to as ‘underground mutton’, ‘long-eared furry things’ or just ‘bunnies’.