Posted January 2nd, 2013, 06:24 AM
Portland/Weymouth is a much more interesting stop than you are anticipating.
For a lazy day, ship's shuttle about 15-20 minutes to the victorian seaside resort of Weymouth
. Seafront promenade, riverside harbour, stax of interesting little shops, smugglers' museum, all easily-walkable. A traditional British day at the seaside.
Or train from Weymouth to the market town of Dorchester
. Or beyond to the little station at Wool for a 5-10 min taxi hop to Monkey World
or to Bovington Tank Museum
or to Lulworth Cove
, part of the Jurassic coast
. Or beyond to Wareham station & taxi or short taxi hop and preserved steam railway to craggy & mysterious Corfe Castle
Or - and this is by far the most interesting but also the most expensive option - a rented car or car+driver.
A huge range of options/combinations depending on $$$, time, & whether you prefer long stops or scenic driving.
Drive west above Chesil Beach/The Fleet
and along the Jurassic coast thro' Abbotsbury
to West Bay & Bridport
, then back over the Dorset Downs to Dorchester. Continue east to Tolpuddle & Bere Regis, then south to Corfe Castle, and back to Weymouth/Portland (ideally along Kimmeridge Ledge
if the little lane is open, its closed when the tank firing range is in operation) via Lulworth Cove & Durdle Door
. You'll see the White Horse on Osmington Hill
as you approach Weymouth (beware when googling,there are a number of white horses cut into the chalk hills across southern England) .
Because it's only a few minutes from your ship, Portland Bill
and its (unimpressive) lighthouse is an ideal last stop. If time is short you can make a drive-by or even miss it out, if you have the time you can enjoy a snack at the nearby cafe where the food is way way better than Weymouth's cafes & fast-food joints. Or you could take a taxi ride to the Bill before spending the rest of the day in Weymouth. Super views from the top of the Bill near the old prison - the driver will know the spots.
We've mentioned the White Horse. For something a little different, there's the Cerne Abbass giant
, about 8 miles north of Dorchester. If you blush easily, click on the link when you are alone - it's known locally as the Rude Man of Cerne Abbass http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerne_Abbas_Giant
is 60 miles, about 90 minutes by car. And your ship will probably offer a tour.
Unless you are an avid ancient-history buff, Stonehenge is only worth an hour so it's a long haul for the limited benefit - though if time also permits an hour or two in Salisbury
it may be worthwhile.
Not viable from Portland by train - needs a train from Weymouth to Southampton, switch to a train to Salisbury, then 30 mins on a ho-ho from Salisbury station to Stonehenge. The train journey alone is about 2 hrs e/w.
You mentioned Southampton (about 60 miles from Portland). Stonehenge is much close, cheaper & easier from Southampton if your ship berths there. Can also be incorporated into private or coach transfers between london or London's Heathrow airport & Southampton.
Your ship may also offer a tour from Portland to Bath
. That's a two-hour journey but may be worthwhile because Bath is well worth a visit of at least 3 hours.
Google these places, & come back for any further info.
ps I'll be away & unable to post again tomorrow for a week's Red Sea cruise