Portland, UK

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#1
717 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Hi,
Anyone know of a reputable travel agency in Portland, UK? Want to see Stonehenge & Bath while we are in port, and am having trouble finding excursions.

Thanks!
#2
Vancouver BC
7,240 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Originally posted by syesmar
Hi,
Anyone know of a reputable travel agency in Portland, UK? Want to see Stonehenge & Bath while we are in port, and am having trouble finding excursions.
Where are you docking? Portland (Dorset) is tiny, you'd be better off looking in Weymouth or Bournemouth.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...,1.455688&z=10
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#4
West Country, UK
4,155 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Perhaps you mean Portsmouth?
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#5
717 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Yes, my itinerary really says Portland! There are no parentheses to indicate Weymouth, but I'm glad it wasn't just me in thinking this odd, though! I appreciate the feedback, and will continue looking for options from Weymouth. Anyone know the best way to get between the 2 towns?
#6
Isle of Purbeck, Dorset, UK
133 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Which line and cruise are you on and which other ports will you be visiting? I live near Portland and am not aware of any cruise lines visiting.
#8
Isle of Purbeck, Dorset, UK
133 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Thanks Ray66. You're extending my education, living so near and yet not knowing about those cruises. At least there will be more in the harbour than the 2012 Olympic sailing event facilities, which have just been completed.

http://www.westdorset.com/site/things-to-do gives some attractions local to Portland and Weymouth (Weymouth is only about 3 miles from Portland harbour). It's a short taxi ride or there are frequent buses between the two places.

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attract...t_England.html has some information for attractions in Dorset.

If you google "weymouth taxi" it will give local taxi and limo operators.

Please ask if you need more information.
#9
717 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Thanks, BlueVinny! We would really like to visit Stonehenge & Salisbury. I have a number of transport options from Salisbury, but GETTING to Salisbury is proving quite the challenge. I don't want to waste 3 hours by rail going all the way to Southhampton just to get there. I believe it should only take 1 1/2 hours from Portland, correct?

I thought perhaps there were tour operators that offered one day excursions from Weymouth or Portland. If so or if you have advice, I sincerely appreciate it!
#10
Isle of Purbeck, Dorset, UK
133 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Sorry for the delay in replying to your query.

Dorset is a rural county with a very relaxed pace of life. There is a marked lack of fast roads and high speed trains but lots of stone built cottages with thatched roofs in beautiful countryside and coastline.

Tourism in Weymouth is mostly aimed at British families interested in seaside holidays in the locality. The combination of these factors means that there is a lack of regular organised visits to such as Salisbury or Stonehenge. A long established local coach operator has the website www.bluebird.co.uk and the 'day excursions' button gives some ideas on day trips they run, although nothing to Stonehenge.

As you have discovered, Salisbury is not easy to reach by public transport from Weymouth. Ironically, it is only a 30 minute train ride from Southampton if you had docked there.

To visit Stonehenge and Salisbury your best option is to google Weymouth taxi companies and contact them for quotations. Two examples can be found at www.unicorncourtesycars.co.uk and www.weyline.com but I've not used either and can't recommend any operator. Stonehenge is approximately 70 miles from Portland. The AA (equivalent to AAA) suggest a driving time of just over 90 minutes, although I think that is very optimistic as you can be delayed by both slow agricultural vehicles and heavy holiday traffic.

As a personal preference I have returned to Salisbury many times but have no desire to return to Stonehenge after one visit. There were too many visitors and you aren't allowed to freely wander amongst the stones but must follow a specific pathway (other than on special tours). I find the pretty village and smaller standing stones and henge at Avebury (15 miles north of Stonehenge) much more interesting and another world heritage site. If you are interested then check out the background at www.nationaltrust.org.uk and search for Avebury.

If you would like to organise a long do-it-yourself trip using public transport I would suggest a visit to Bath by train. Bath is Georgian city with Roman baths and (slow) trains run there directly from Weymouth. For instance a train departs at 08:50 with a travel time of just over 2 hours and return trains depart from Bath at 15:07 and 17:07. The cost per person is currently 14.70 GBP or about 23.00 USD for a return (round trip) ticket. Obviously you would need to return in good time for departure.

The author Thomas Hardy based his novels of 19th century Wessex around the Dorset county town of Dorchester, about 10 miles inland from Weymouth and easily reached by train (2 an hour, 10-13 minutes) or bus (3 an hour, 40 minutes). All the train and bus times I've given are for weekdays, Sunday times will be different.

You can find out more facts and figures about Weymouth, its weather (we've had blue skies and high 70s for the past week) and surroundings from its Wikipedia entry. It even shows a photograph from Portland across the harbour with Weymouth in the distance.

Sorry I can't be more helpful about getting to Stonehenge but if you want any suggestions for other places to visit with less travelling then please post again.

Whatever you decide, have a lovely trip.
#12
Sheffield, UK
4,316 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
I see (from another thread) that Prinsendam is also visiting Newport in South Wales - another unusual cruise port. Kudos to HAL for trying different ports.
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#13
GTA, Ontario, Canada
32,739 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by syesmar
Yes, my itinerary really says Portland!
When are you going?
We will also be docking there July 2010.
If you go before then would you come back and post what you did there.

Thanks
Lyn
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#14
Lancashire ,England
45 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
I have to agree with Blue Vinney, Avebury is a much nicer place to visit than Stonehenge.At Avebury you can wander freely round the stones,which encircle the village. It also has the added advantage of being free!
Weymouth itself is pleasant seaside resort.There used to be sand sculptures on the beach in summer,but I haven't been for a few years now.
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#15
Apple Valley, CA
2,471 Posts
Joined May 2009
We will be docking in Portland in August of this year. Friends from London are meeting us there, to be our drivers and guides for the day. Can anyone tell me about access to the port? That is, where would be a good place to arrange to meet our friends? Can they get to where the ship ties up? Thanks for any help.
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#17
Isle of Purbeck, Dorset, UK
133 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Vaitape

I've checked with the staff at Portland Harbour and, unfortunately there is no ATM (or 'cash point' as it is often called over here) in the port. They don't have many cruise ships calling so their facilities are very limited.

The nearest ATMs are in the local towns, both on Portland and in Weymouth across the bay. Certainly you'll have no problem finding one within any town or city. ATMs at Banks and major supermarkets will make no charge for withdrawing cash, certainly for Visa or Master Charge Bank cards (called 'Debit' cards over here), although any located in convenience stores, nightclubs, etc. will do. Credit Card providers normally add a surcharge for cash withdrawals.

I guess you are visiting on Westerdam at the beginning of August? Hope you have a lovely voyage.

Please let me know if you need any more information or advice.
#18
1,187 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Thanks again BlueVinney! No, we'll be on Insignia in July. Portland is the first of 2 stops in England and we'll need local currency to get around and pay for our tour. Do you know if there is a cash point at the Swannery? I checked their website but no mention of a chash point.
#19
9 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
Hello all, my husband and I just booked on the Westerdam for August 2. We are requesting permission from Holland America to board at Portland/Weymouth instead of Rotterdam. Because we have an August 1 engagement in Southeast Asia, we cannot find a flight that would get us to Rotterdam to board the ship on August 2. We are instead going to fly to London Heathrow (5:30am arrival on August 3) and then take the train to Weymouth to join the Westerdam on Day #2. To anyone familiar with the area, when do you think we can realistically get the Portland? Is there easy transportation between Weymouth's rail station and the ship's docking area?
#20
Romsey England
10,991 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by wyualice
Hello all, my husband and I just booked on the Westerdam for August 2. We are requesting permission from Holland America to board at Portland/Weymouth instead of Rotterdam. Because we have an August 1 engagement in Southeast Asia, we cannot find a flight that would get us to Rotterdam to board the ship on August 2. We are instead going to fly to London Heathrow (5:30am arrival on August 3) and then take the train to Weymouth to join the Westerdam on Day #2. To anyone familiar with the area, when do you think we can realistically get the Portland? Is there easy transportation between Weymouth's rail station and the ship's docking area?
Its 5 or 6 miles, about 15mins by taxi, availabe from the rail station. At a guess, £7 to £10.
JB