Portland, England

Situated along the southernmost part of the Dorset Coast site lies the fabled island of Portland. This natural harbor was used for over 500 years by the British Royal Navy, and when breakwater construction was performed between 1848 and 1905, it created one of the largest man-made harbors in the world. An important launch site during both World Wars, the harbor was used for naval exercises until 1995, after which the waters became popular for tourism and were used for the sailing events during the 2012 Olympic Games. The tiny limestone island is home to the Abbotsbury Swannery, the only place in the world where you can walk freely through colonies of nesting mute swans, and is a perfect jumping-off point to visit the stone ruins of Corfe Castle, built by William the Conqueror. Take in the nearby magnificent Salisbury Cathedral, and experience the ancient mystery of the somber plinths of Stonehenge. Just four miles long by a mile and a half wide, Portland is ruggedly beautiful, with endless vistas and wild, natural landscapes.

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Points of Interest

  • Stonehenge
  • Salisbury
  • Abbotsbury Swannery
  • Corfe Castle
  • Athelhampton House
  • Bovington Tank Museum
  • Langham Wine Estate
  • Forde Abbey

More about Portland, England Points of Interest

  • Stonehenge

    The mythical stones, about 24 feet tall, have captivated the imagination through the ages. A pathway around the 5,000-year-old monoliths offers up-close views, and an audio guide details the genesis of the site.

  • Salisbury

    'The city in the countryside,' this cathedral city is built around its 13th-century Gothic-style cathedral. A walk around the cathedral close is an opportunity to observe the black-and-white, half-timbered houses that add charm to this quaint enclave.

  • Abbotsbury Swannery

    This 600-year-old swannery is home to the only managed colony of free-flying mute swans in the world. Walk through the heart of the colony and, from mid-May to late June, marvel at the hundreds of tiny cygnets born on the pretty grounds.

  • Corfe Castle

    Follow in the footsteps of kings, queens and knights at the 1,000-year-old ruins of Corfe Castle. With its medieval architecture, its importance as a stronghold since before the days of William the Conqueror is only a small part of its ancient history.

  • Athelhampton House

    This stunning example of Tudor architecture, built in 1485, consists of an antique-filled manor house and a parish church. Award-winning gardens, designed in 1891, are resplendent with fountains and statuary.

  • Bovington Tank Museum

    The former site of a tank crew training area during World War I, today this world-famous armored vehicle museum showcases almost 300 vehicles, amassed from 26 countries, ranging from the WWI era to the present.

  • Langham Wine Estate

    This picturesque 30-acre vineyard, planted solely with the classical Champagne varieties Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier, welcomes visitors for tastings and an insider's look at the grape-to-glass process.

  • Forde Abbey

    Set within 30 acres of formal gardens lies the remarkable Forde Abbey. Founded over 800 years ago by Cistercian monks, the abbey is home to the ornate Mortlake Tapestries, which were woven around 1520.

9 EXCURSIONS

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Athelhampton and The Stone Giant of Cerne Abbas

4.5 hours | Portland | P O 2 - 1 0 0
  • Athelhampton House

Travel through the Dorset countryside, admiring views of the Cerne Abbas Giant hillside carving, or Stone Giant, measuring over 180 feet tall. Visit the stunning Tudor architecture on full display at Athelhampton House where you'll explore the Great Hall and its richly appointed rooms and stroll the manicured gardens.

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Scenic Countryside & Corfe Castle

4.5 hours | Portland | P O 2 - 1 0 5
  • Corfe Castle

Marvel at the picturesque countryside of Dorset en route to the village of Corfe and its fascinating castle ruins. Explore the remains of this fairytale stone kingdom, royal palace and fortress that dates as far back as the 11th century and enjoy some free time in this quaint village.

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Relics from the Great War: the Bovington Tank Museum

3.75 hours | Portland | P O 2 - 1 1 5
  • Bovington Tank Museum

Military buffs will relish a day delving into the past at Bovington, once the site of tank crew training during World War I and now the home of a world-famous tank museum. On display is an exceptional collection of fighting vehicles bringing to life over 100 years of military history.

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Abbotsbury Swannery & Gardens

3.75 hours | Portland | P O 2 - 1 2 0
  • Abbotsbury Swannery

The charming historic village of Abbotsbury lies on Dorset's Jurassic Coast. A secluded haven, it is home to two tranquil attractions sure to please nature lovers. The Abbotsbury Swannery gives shelter to over 1,000 of these graceful birds, and the Sub-tropical Gardens bloom with plant life and colorful florals.

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Local Connections: Sculptures by the Lake with the Artists

4.5 hours | Portland | P O 2 - 1 4 0

The 26-acre Sculpture by the Lakes showcases works by sculptor Simon Gudgeon presented in an outdoor environment of true natural beauty. Free from the constraints of a typical gallery, the collection is set against the backdrop of manicured grounds designed by Monique Gudgeon. This tour introduced by the artist and/or his wife is a truly bespoke experience.

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English Countryside & Forde Abbey

6 hours | Portland | P O 2 - 1 3 5
  • Forde Abbey

Walk in the footsteps of the monks of Forde Abbey when you visit the grounds of this magnificent monastery founded by Cistercian monks over 800 years ago. Step back in time as you make your way through both public and private rooms, then step outside to enjoy the 30 acres of award-winning gardens.

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Stonehenge

6 hours | Portland | P O 2 - 1 1 0
  • Stonehenge

Behold Europe's oldest prehistoric monument, Stonehenge. Built in several stages beginning in about 3000 BC, this prehistoric monument, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is as old as the great temples and pyramids of Egypt. This everlasting symbol of pre-history draws thousands of visitors each year to witness its awesome magnificence.

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Best of Stonehenge & Salisbury

8.5 hours | Portland | P O 2 - 1 2 5
  • Stonehenge
  • Salisbury

Discover mythical Stonehenge, set in the English countryside, Britain's most remarkable and intriguing prehistoric monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then tour the ancient city of Salisbury, view its 13th-century cathedral and admire the half-timbered medieval houses in Cathedral Close before enjoying free time to shop and have a snack.

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Local Connections: Visit to an English Countryside Vineyard with Justin Langham

5 hours | Portland | P O 2 - 1 3 0
  • Langham Wine Estate

Langham Wine Estate welcomes you to its 30-acre vineyard for an immersive experience that introduces you to the production of world-class, traditional-method sparkling wines. Your day involves an exclusive tour of the vineyard and winery followed by a tutored tasting of its award-winning wines and a locally produced winemakers lunch

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