A Trip to Portland Bill

Sunday 08 January 2017

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We took the opportunity on a gorgeous winter day to visit Portland Bill, a lovely place right in the middle of the Jurassic Coast.

Just getting to the Bill from Aquila Heights is beautiful in its own right. The first glimpse of Portland comes as you go over the brow of the Ridgeway, rising majestically out of the sea behind Weymouth. Then comes the spectacular journey across the causeway to the “island”, with the harbour on one side of the road and the natural wonder of Chesil Beach on the other. (Of course, it’s not quite an island, attached to the mainland by this narrow causeway, but it certainly has the look and feel of one.)

Fortuneswell, the first settlement on Portland, is sadly a little rundown, but the road quickly rises steeply and the first stunning glimpses back across Chesil Beach emerge as you near Portland Heights. It is worth turning into the car park on the left at the top of the hill, to soak in the spectacular panoramic views of Chesil Beach, Weymouth, and miles and miles of sumptuous Jurassic coastline in both directions. We will return here on another occasion, but for now we continue to head south to the Bill, on the very southern tip of the island.

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As you near the Bill, the built-up areas fall away and the road crosses open country which feels surprisingly desolate in a such a short distance, until the three lighthouses, including the iconic red-and-white striped tower, are reached. This feels like the end of the Earth. It has the atmosphere of Lands End although it lacks both the geographic significance and the commercialisation.

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There is, in fact, just the tea-room and the lighthouse itself. This is a scruffy, unkempt place, rough around the edges, and rapidly becomes bleak in bad weather – but the location is perfect. The English Channel is on three sides, and the far-reaching views back to Lyme Bay on one side and towards Purbeck on the other are awesome. On a fine day, you can probably see more of the Jurassic Coast (almost all of it!) from here than from anywhere else on land.

In summer, you can arrive at the Bill on an open-top bus from Weymouth, to make the very best of the views en route but, at any time of the year, this is a unique and special place to visit just half an hour or so from Aquila Heights.

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[Thanks to our son for these lovely photos]

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Visited Dorchester last weekend for a Christening and booked in to Aquila Heights without looking at reviews just on webpage description. The welcome, service, room and food were simply the best we have experienced. Thankyou Derek and Wendy - wonderful hosts. 

Steviebarley - via TripAdvisor
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