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Pocket Guide: Portland

Although designated part of Dorset's World Heritage Coast, Portland is an island, joined to the mainland by a beach road. It's a perfect destination for those who really want to get away from it all and lose themselves in the beauty of the great outdoors. Visit Portland and you'll be introduced to a huge variety of wildlife, including birds, over 27 species of butterfly and a number of rare plants. Despite the island's diminutive size there are plenty of hotels in Portland, ranging from quaint B&Bs and beachside guesthouses to upmarket hotels and luxury apartments.

Explore Portland: Hotels on the Island

Those that worry there might not be enough to do on a small island will be pleasantly surprised. The Portland Visitor Centre is a great place to start, offering interactive displays and footage about the island and its prehistoric past. The Portland Museum is another excellent way to learn more about the island and, in particular, its maritime history. However, for those who want to get out and about there are a number of hands-on attractions, such as the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy and even a visit to the Portland Bill Lighthouse. Most Portland hotels are within easy reach of a local landmark or two; the Hotel Aqua is just a stone's throw from Portland Castle, a coastal fort built by King Henry VIII as protection against Spanish invasion.

Shopping Locally or Across the Water

If you happen to be staying in one of the luxury apartments, such as those found at 199 Atlantic House, you'll need access to shops. The island's main shopping centre is in Easton, consisting of independent shops and superstores surrounded by Victorian gardens. However, if you want access to a greater selection of retail centres, a trip along the Beach Road will take you into the buzzing bars, restaurants and the shopping centre of Weymouth.

Food for Thought: Eating Out in Portland

There are a few places to eat in Portland, from Italian and Indian restaurants to cafés and seafood diners. However, it's worth remembering that many of the hotels on the island, such as No. 35 At The New Inn, boast their own restaurants, serving exquisite dishes cooked using locally-sourced ingredients.

Portland is a fascinating island to visit and with a wide selection of accommodation, to suit a wide range of budgets.