Days out, The Great Outdoors
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Things to do in Portland with Children


Last weekend, we travelled to Portland in Dorset for our first youth hostel experience. Arriving late on Friday afternoon and departing fairly early on Sunday morning, we were grateful to find Saturday so warm and sunny, meaning we could get out and about. We managed to fit a lot in; here are our favourite Portland attractions:

Fancy’s Family Farm
With free entry and a vast array of friendly animals on site, a visit to Fancy’s Farm is a must for any family. Miss J is obsessed with animals so was in her element, feeding the goats and sheep and petting the ponies. We saw newborn goats and even the resident owl, Oscar. There is a basic cafe for refreshments and an indoor play area where the children practised their gym moves on the padded floor. A fun way to spend an hour or two.

Portland Museum
Recommended to us by the youth hostel’s manager, we headed to Portland Museum after Fancy’s Farm. Entry costs £3.50 per adult and, honestly, there isn’t a lot to see for the price. Plus points include friendly staff and a relaxing outdoor space that is easy on the eye.

Church Ope Cove
Another recommendation, and just a short walk from the museum, Church Ope Cove is a beautiful place to be. With steep steps down and a rocky beach, it isn’t the most accessible of places but it is very much worth the effort if you are able to make it down. There are ancient church ruins to explore partway down the steps and plenty of opportunities for good outdoor family fun at this gorgeous place.

Portland Bill lighthouse
Our final stop on Saturday was Portland Bill, where the children had loads of fun clambering over rocks and chasing one another around the edge of the old quarry. We made a snap decision to scale the lighthouse whilst we were there, which cost £20 for a family ticket. Our guide was friendly and informative and we all managed the 153 steps to the top with relative ease. Thoug the boy did not struggle, he was at the lower limit of the height restriction so I wouldn’t recommend visiting with under 5s.

Chesil Beach Centre

Before heading home on Sunday morning, we stopped briefly at the Chesil Beach Centre as two people had said it was worth a visit. There is a fee for parking and the actual centre is very small – we were inside for all of 15 minutes. The cafe looked nice but expensive so we didn’t buy anything and probably spent more time running around just outside the centre than we did indoors.

Having never visited Portland before, we were pleasantly surprised at how much there was to do. There is a firm emphasis on outdoor activities with horse riding, rock climbing, cycling, walking, and a huge variety of water sports all on offer. A beautiful place to spend a weekend and well worth a visit if you enjoy being active.

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