To call Portland in Dorset an island is not strictly true. Although it is known as the Isle of Portland, it is joined to the mainland by the Chesil Bank.
My first memory of Portland is when my husband and I were house-hunting, many years ago, and we looked at a couple of properties there. We were not impressed either by the homes we could afford, or Portland itself. It had the appearance to us then of a drab place, dominated by a drab prison. Recently we had another look at the place, and found much to be admired.
Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy hosted the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games Sailing events. This brought many people to the area, and many assets were added. It is a very popular location for many water sports.
Nature-lovers will find many sites of interest to them, with unusual flora and fauna to find. Walkers love the place, and there are lots of viewpoints for them to admire the panoramic views.
One of the most famous of Portland’s products is the limestone which has been used over the years for many well-known buildings, including St Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace. The stone is still quarried here. Many quarries have been turned into tourist attractions. We visited Tout Quarry Sculpture Park, where over 50 examples of sculpture are on display. Sadly there has been some vandalism this year, and some of the pieces on show have been damaged. Hopefully they will be repaired to their former glory.
St George’s Church at Weston on the Isle is a magnificent Georgian building, no longer used as a consecrated building but still open to the public and helped by volunteers.
Also on Portland there is a castle built by Henry VIII which overlooks the harbour, one of the deepest man-made harbours in the world. It is a civilian port, but also there is a harbour on the northern shore which was a Royal Navy base during both World Wars.
A museum and a lighthouse are other visitor attractions. Whatever your interests, it seems Portland has something to offer. Now that we have rediscovered it, and found that it offers many photographic opportunities, we will be back.