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Exploring Dorset

If you’d like to explore Dorset, Weymouth is the ideal base. With Bridport and West Bay (where ‘Broadchurch’ was filmed) to the west, Dorchester, Sherborne and Shaftesbury, with its famous ‘Hovis’ Gold Hill to the north, Lulworth, Studland, Bournemouth and Poole to the east, and lots more in between, you may well find that one visit to this area isn’t enough!

For ideas within walking distance of the Lantana Guest House, have a look here.

portland olympic rings

Portland is thought of as an island although this isn’t wholly correct in the true sense of the word as it’s reached over a causeway from Chesil Beach.

Highlights include fantastic views over Chesil Beach to the west and Portland Harbour (host venue of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sailing events) north towards Weymouth; Portland Museum; Portland Castle; sailing, wind-surfing and kite-surfing in the harbour; walks around this stunning part of the Jurassic coast; Tout Quarry Sculpture Park; and no less than three lighthouses, one of which is still working.

Find out more at the Visit Dorset website.

portland lighthouse

The Visitor Centre's impressive main exhibit with interactive displays and historical artifacts, allows you to learn about the lighthouse and its keepers. Find out about Trinity House, the organisation that operates the lighthouse and has safeguarded mariners for over 500 years.

Visitors can also climb the lighthouse and see for miles along the beautiful Dorset Coastline, the world famous Jurassic Coast and out to the treacherous Portland Race. For more information visit the Portland Visitor Centre website.

Chesil Beach

Fleet and Chesil Reserve. Chesil Beach is a bank of 180 billion pebbles stretching for 18 miles along the Dorset Coast. Trapped behind this pebble bank is the Fleet, ­ one of the most wildlife-rich lagoons in the country. To see what activities this unique area has to offer, click here for more information.

Fine Foundation Chesil Beach Centre. On the way from Weymouth to nearby Portland you will find the Dorset Wildlife Trust's visitor centre which has an exhibition area, a gift shop and the licensed Taste* Café serves hot and cold meals, snacks and drinks. Click here for more information.

Durdle Door

The magificant Durdle Door arch and beach is part of the Lulworth Estate and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. You can access the shingle beach on foot via a path and steps over the hill from Lulworth Cove or down from the Car Park (located on the cliff top at Durdle Door Holiday Park; parking charges may apply). The beach is recommended by the Marine Conservation Society for excellent water quality. You can walk from Durdle Door along the South West Coast Path to Lulworth Cove. More information.

Lulworth Cove

Lulworth Cove was formed by the combined forces of the sea and a river swollen by melting ice at the end of the last Ice Age. It is world famous for its unique geology and landforms including the Lulworth Crumple and Stair Hole. Click here for more information.

Abbotsbury swans

Abbotsbury Swannery (closed in winter) is a popular local destination, particularly in spring when the swans are nesting and rearing their cygnets. For more information, visit their website where you can save by buying tickets in advance or buy a combined ticket for the Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens and Abbotsbury Children's Farm.

Abbotsbury Children's Farm

At Abbotsbury Children's Farm children can cuddle the guinea pigs, ride the ponies, race the tractors, play in the large undercover play area, jump around on our new bouncy castle (don’t forget your socks!) and bottle feed the lambs. You can buy combined tickets for one visit each to the farm, Abbotsbury Swannery and Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens. Click here for further information.

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens was established in 1765 by the first Countess of Ilchester as a kitchen garden for her nearby castle. Developed since then into a magnificent 30 acre garden filled with rare and exotic plants from all over the world. You can buy combined tickets for one visit each to the gardens, Abbotsbury Swannery and Abbotsbury Children's Farm. Click here for further information. If you are only visiting the gardens and you are a friend of the HHA, admission is free.

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