Introduction to Portland, England
Gateway to some of Britain’s fascinating attractions.
Situated on the natural world heritage Jurassic coast, Portland is the gateway to attractions including Stonehenge, Bath and Salisbury Cathedral. Additionally, nearby you have a number of beautiful castles, Portland, Rufus and Sandfoot, as well as Nothe fort and Max Gate.
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Explore Portland, England with Fred. Olsen
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- Explore some of the stunning locations of the hit series – Broadchurch
- Admire the beautiful Jurassic Coastline
This tour takes you on a fascinating journey to some of the main film locations of the popular British crime drama Broadchurch, broadcast on ITV.
Created and written by Chris Chibnall, the first series focused on the death of an 11-year-old boy, Danny Latimer, and the impact of grief, mutual suspicion, and media attention on the town. Broadchurch focused on the search for the boy's murderer by detectives Alec Hardy (played by David Tennant) and Ellie Miller (played by Olivia Colman). Chibnall was inspired by the Jurassic Coast of Britain to set his crime drama in a fictional, close-knit small town in Dorset.
Begin your tour with a scenic drive along the stunning Jurassic coastal road, many of these breath-taking views were used in Broadchurch. The coastal drive is also peppered with locations used in the hit series such as Cogden beach and Chesil House Beach Lodge which was DS Ellie Miller’s Safe house apartment in the second series. Drive through Burton Bradstock and view Freshwater Caravan Park where Susan Wright’s (played by Pauline Quirk) Caravan was based in the first series.
Arrive at West Bay, where the towering cliffs and beach have now become very symbolic to the hit show. The Dorset landscape was always intended to be a main character of the drama; Chris Chibnall wrote Broadchurch as a love letter to the scenery of the Jurassic Coast which used key landmarks as part of its story. Your guide will take you on a short walking tour around West Bay to see the Broadchurch Newsagents, Broadchurch Café, Broadchurch Police Station, Sea Brigade hall (Methodist Church) and Harbour. After your tour take some time to browse West Bay at leisure, perhaps have a coffee in the Bistro (at your own expense) or capture some photos of the famous cliff tops.
Continue inland to the Saxon town of Bridport and stop here for some time at leisure. Bridport is a gateway town for the World Heritage Site of the Jurassic Coast. It is also a Beacon town promoting the high quality and variety of local food. During the reign of King Alfred it became one of the four most important settlements in Dorset. One of the best known stories in English history is that of King Alfred and the burnt cakes, listen to your guide retell this humorous tale before re-boarding your coach to enjoy the stunning coastal scenery once again whilst you journey back to the pier and your awaiting ship.
Is this tour right for you?
IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves a moderate amount of optional walking (during the guided visit around West Bay which is approximately 30 minutes, all other walking is at guests own discretion.
- Visit the home former home of the Churchill family, situated in over 1300 acres of beautiful Dorset countryside.
- Admire the tranquil gardens that lie between stunning small waterfalls and flowing streams
Enjoy a journey through the Dorset countryside to Minterne House, which nestles amongst 1,300 acres of beautiful Dorset Countryside and is described by Simon Jenkins in his book ‘England’s 1,000 Best houses,’ as a Corner of Paradise.
It has been the home of the Churchill and Digby families for the last 350 years and is currently the seat of the 12th Lord Digby, who will meet, greet and guide arriving guests through his family house which is not usually open to the general public. Lord Digby or his son, will take you on a 2,000-year historical journey linking family stories and anecdotes with paintings tapestries and memorabilia relating to many defining events in America, American, Far Eastern and European History.
The first Sir Winston Churchill rented Minterne from Winchester College in 1660 and left it to his younger son General Charles Churchill, much to the fury of his eldest son, the Great Duke of Marlborough, who ‘just had to make do with Blenheim Palace.’ When General Charles’s widow died, Minterne was sold to Robert Digby, a younger son from Sherborne Castle, complete with all the contents, which is why it still contains all the Churchill Tapestries to be found in the dining room, a ceiling picture by Sir James Thornhill and other Churchill pictures and furniture.
Next, enjoy some time at leisure to explore and appreciate the stunning gardens of Minterne. The Minterne Valley, landscaped in the manner of Capability Brown is laid out in a horseshoe below Minterne House, with a chain of small lakes, waterfalls and streams. They contain an important collection of Himalayan rhododendrons and azaleas, with spring bulbs, cherries, and maples and many fine and rare trees; the garden is noted for its autumn colouring. Many flowering cherries were brought from Japan in 1920 and the Pieris Forrestii with their brilliant scarlet shoots originally came from Wakehurst. A very fine collection of Davidia Involucrata (the pocket handkerchief tree) produce striking bracts in late May and early June, when the streams are lined with primulas, astilbes and other water plants.
Over one and a half miles of walks with palm trees and towering rhododendrons framed by tall Cedar and Beech trees, provide a new vista at each turn. The garden provides easy walking on gravel and stone with slight rises. So there is an opportunity for you to do as much or as little as you wish. Wooden bench seats placed at intervals give the chance to relax and reflect.
Soon it will be time to re-board your coach and return back to Portland Port via a photo stop at the Cerne Abbas Giant or the 'Rude Man' which is one of the largest hill figures in Britain. The giant's obvious sexuality and virility was put to use in fertility folk magic. Local women who wanted to conceive would spend a night alone on the hillside, and young couples would make love on the giant to ensure conception.
Is this tour right for you?
IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves a moderate amount of walking. The guided tour of the house will last approximately 45 minutes with many flights of stairs to negotiate, therefore we do not recommend this tour to guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. The amount of walking in the gardens will be at the guests discretion.
- Admire the beautiful fauna and flora of the Sub Tropical Gardens
- Learn all about the historic Abbotsbury Swannery
Enjoy a panoramic tour of Portland Bill (weather permitting) which is the southernmost point of Dorset, famous for its quarrying of Portland stone and rugged coastline as well as its three lighthouses before reaching the Sub Tropical Gardens.
Established in 1765 by the first Countess of Ilchester as a kitchen garden for her nearby castle. The gardens have been developed since then into a magnificent 20 acres of garden filled with rare and exotic plants from all over the world. Many of these plants were first introduced to this country and discovered by the plant hunting descendants of the Countess.
Since the restoration after the great storm of 1990 many new exotic and unusual plants have also been introduced. The garden is now a mixture of formal and informal, with charming walled garden walks and spectacular woodland valley views. World famous for its camellia groves and magnolias, noted for its rhododendron and hydrangea collections.
Enjoy discovering the gardens independently and is you should you feel hungry, why not try some homemade produce from the garden café. (at your own expense).
Following your visit to the Sub Tropical Gardens you continue on to the nearby Abbotsbury Swannery.
Abbotsbury Swannery is truly unique. It is the only place in the world where you are able to walk through the heart of a colony of nesting Mute Swans.
The Swannery was established by Benedictine Monks who built a monastery at Abbotsbury during the 1040's. The monks farmed the swans to produce food for their lavish banquets. St Peter's monastery was destroyed in 1539 during the dissolution and some of the ruins are still visible around St Nicholas' Church in the village.
From mid-May to late June, hundreds of fluffy cygnets hatch from eggs in nests on or near the pathways. Feeding time is between midday and four o’clock, so if you are lucky you may be asked to take part.
After this fascinating visit, you will board your coach for a leisurely drive through the hills back to Portland and your awaiting ship.
Is this tour right for you?
IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves a moderate amount of walking at the Sub Tropical Gardens and Abbotsbury Swannery over gravel pathways. Walking is at the discretion of the individual, however, to get the most out of this tour, guests will be on their feet for the duration of the visits. Wheelchairs can be accommodated as long as they can be stored in the coach luggage compartment and guests can board and disembark the coach independently.
- Enjoy exploring the delightful city of Salisbury and it’s Cathedral
- Explore the World Heritage Site of Stonehenge
- Marvel at the magical and mysterious stones
Enjoy a guided visit around Salisbury Cathedral, before appreciating time at leisure during a visit to Stonehenge.
Superbly situated in southern England's rural heartland, few destinations can match the quintessential English city of Salisbury with its centre piece, Salisbury Cathedral, which is not to be missed! The awesome sight of the Salisbury Cathedral spire never fails to impress; soaring a breathtaking 123 metres (404 feet) into the sky, it is visible from every direction, dominating the landscape for many miles around. Salisbury is unique amongst medieval English cathedrals, built within one century with no substantial later additions. It is arguably the finest example of the Early English Gothic style of architecture in Britain.
There is much to see and do, in and around the Cathedral as you will see on your guided tour. The spacious and tranquil close with its schools, historic houses and museums makes a fine setting for the Cathedral. In the Cathedral itself you'll find the best preserved of only four original Magna Carta (AD1215) - the famous agreement made between King John and his barons at Runnymede, the basic principles of which have been incorporated into the constitution of the USA, and Europe's oldest working clock (AD1386).
After time at leisure, re-board your coach for a drive to Stonehenge. En-route you will pass through the Dorset countryside whilst your guide provides you with interesting commentary along the way.
The purpose of the world’s most famous stone circle still remains a mystery. Its origins go back as far back as the Pyramids. What today's visitor sees are the mighty remains of a sequence of monuments erected between 3000 & 1000 BC. Most well-known are the trilithons, large doorframe-shaped stone arrangements, made up of two standing stones, topped by a lintel stone, which is actually fixed by mortice-&-tenon joints. The stones are aligned so that on the midsummer & midwinter solstices the sun shines straight through the circle onto the central heel stone.
Following your visit to the mysterious ancient wonder, journey through the scenic English countryside back to Portland and your awaiting ship.
Is this tour right for you?
IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Some of the walking may be over uneven, grassy terrain. All guest must be able to get on and off the coach unaided. The walking tour of Salisbury takes approximately one hour. Please note that a shuttle bus system operates to the stones. The journey from the visitor centre to the stones takes approximately ten minutes, however guests can choose to disembark halfway and walk to the stone circle if they prefer. Please note that there may be a short wait for the shuttle bus. Time permitting there may be a chance to browse the gift shop at the visitor centre. Guests are advised to wear comfortable shoes. Lunch is not included, however, time at leisure is given in Salisbury for you to purchase your own.
- Spend time exploring Bovington Tank Museum – a unique museum which brings the history of tanks to life
- Admire the eye-catching displays, photographs and archive footage
The vast area of sheltered water that is Portland harbour has been a haven for the military for centuries. During D-Day preparations Portland was one of the main embarkation ports for American troops en route to Omaha beach; the harbour and surrounding area was filled with both American and British vessels and equipment. Aircraft Carriers, Destroyers and Motor Torpedo boats used the port in particular, transforming it into a major hub of activity.
During your tour, learn more about the strategic importance of Portland and the significant developments in military technology that were accomplished in the area, such as the Bouncing Bomb and the Torpedo.
Continue the D-Day theme as you arrive at the Bovington tank museum. Enjoy a guided tour with your group and learn about the vast machines used in the theatre of war at the home of the world’s best collection of tanks, boasting over 300 vehicles. Immerse yourself into the world of war machines on a guided tour of the museum, located not far from the home of T.E Lawrence - Lawrence of Arabia.
After your guided tour enjoy time at leisure to visit the museums’ exhibitions which range from the inception of the tank right through to modern day vehicles paying attention to the tanks’ shaping role throughout history, from the Somme to Tiananmen Square and D-Day to Desert Storm. Hear incredible true stories of the soldiers as you listen and watch live recordings via TV or phone before re-boarding your coach and making the return journey back to the pier in Portland.
Is this tour right for you?
IS THIS TOUR RIGHTF FOR YOU? Please note that this tour will involve a moderate amount of walking over mostly flat terrain; there may be some steps to negotiate throughout. We recommend you come wearing flat, comfortable shoes. You will spend approximately two hours at the Museum.
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