History and Heritage Carved from Stone
Tied to mainland Dorset county by a spindly strip of beach, this rocky, rugged island played a crucial role in military history and has produced some of the world’s most famous stone.
Arrive in one of the largest man-made harbors in the world. It’s from here that American Allied troops embarked on their heroic D-Day operations in 1944—which you can immerse yourself in at the Castletown D-Day Centre. The island’s most famous export is Portland stone, used to construct some of the world’s most iconic buildings, including Buckingham Palace and the United Nations headquarters. Take a tour around the island and you’ll see deep craters where this white-grey limestone has been quarried since the Roman era.
From ancient Rome, go even further back in time along the area’s prehistoric Jurassic Coast. Wild, rugged cliffs seem as if they’ve been sheared off, exposing eons of geologic activity and countless fossils. Want to get out on the water? Portland hosted the sailing events for the 2012 Olympics, so facilities for boating, windsurfing and stand-up paddleboarding are excellent.
At just four miles long, this tiny island delivers history, adventure, and sparkling seaside views at every turn.