T & # 39;He carved a peninsula carved by Time on the Korean peninsula, ”said Thomas Hardy. He stretches his channel as "like a bird's head" in the original 1890s novel Dorset & # 39; s Isle of Portland. Connected to the mainland with causeways and long, gravel Chesil beaches, the “Island” is famous for the pale limestone that built St. Paul's Cathedral. There is still a quarry and there are churches, castles, harbors and prisons-impressive stone structures.
The three of us arrive in different directions to Weymouth, two miles north of Portland. My mom along the coast (using a bus pass), brother by rail from Somerset, and brother from Essex (via London). It takes 3 hours from Waterloo to Weymouth. Southwestern Railway has a quaint record, but today's travel with air conditioning, window seats, tables and power sockets is a model of civilized travel. Onboard Wi-Fi features free entertainment from Love Island to Darkest Hour. The landscape offers swampy estuaries and miles of proud New Forest.
We meet at the statue of the king by the sea George III, dressed in blue and Ermin cloak, looks anxiously through palm trees towards the replica of the king's bath machine. Regular buses along the Jurassic Coast head from here to Poole and Axminster. We use the open type 501 The red and white lighthouse at Portland Bill at the end of the peninsula departs every hour in the summer.
After finishing plenty of crabs (10.25 pounds) at The Lobster Pot Cafe in Portland Bill, we set off along the coast road on the hottest day ever. The heat attracts lightning-fast lizards to sunlit rocks and releases the Mediterranean scent of wild marjoram and fennel into the sparkling air. Three shadeless miles in Church Ope Cove sweat us and we swim on white turquoise beaches and cool off in clear turquoise water.
The 12th-century lupus castle ruins stand on a cliff above us near the Portland Museum (£ 3.50 adults, £ 6-15 children). Pioneer of family planning, Marie Stopes founded the museum in 1930. She was a friend of Hardy, based in Avice Caro's house in The Well-Beloved, in one of the museum's thatch stone cottages. Rooms are full of local curiosity, from mummified cats, blowfish, mason tools and U-boat compasses. The shady garden has more fossilized dinosaur spines, Roman sarcophagus, wooden arms of an old windmill …
Two of Portland's most interesting churches are nearby. St Andrew & # 39; s, an overgrown tomb with pirate skulls and images, is a 5-minute walk along a wooded path. Clifftop Georgian St George & # 39; s has a box-shaped pillar and a time warp interior reminiscent of twin pulpits for 15 minutes in different directions. Nikolaus Pevsner called it Dorset's most impressive 18th-century church.
The White Stones Art Café, located in the nearby Eastern town, offers cakes and a cup of tea in a vineyard-filled courtyard filled with mosaic archways and blooming aga pantus. Every twelve o'clock, buses to and from Portland's town and Weymouth will take you to Portland Youth Hostel, where bus No. 1 is staying overnight at the doorstep.
The rugged brick hostel overlooks neat houses built for sailors competing in the 2012 Olympics. For dinner, seafood is served at Chesil Beach's Sunset Cove House Inn (mainly £ 8.50). We walk back the next morning and follow the coastal road to Quaids for breakfast. In previous public amenities painted in candy pink, this cheerful beachfront cafe serves tempura (at 5.5 pounds) or veggie friendly foam and squeak (3 pounds). This allows for a short and steep climb up to Tout Quarry (free entry), 1.6 km from the top of the cliff. This hidden maze and half-turned stone creatures pass through the banks of summer flowers. Still Falling, a piece of Antony Gormley, an unused pit, dive down the cliff first.
The bus takes us back to Portland Castle built by Henry VIII. While others are surveying the water's edge, I climb the slope of an old merchant going down to the harbor where the railroad takes the quarry. At the top is the 19th-century Verne Citadel, now walking along the majestic archway of HMP The Verne to visit the prison cafe (5 to £ 25, 6 to £ potato), which resumed earlier this year. This is one of Portland's best views, millions of miles of ocean and Osmington's Cretaceous white horse, an optimistic spot with a breakwater.
Up to 52 passengers and dogs can eat sardines on an old wooden ferry to boat up to Weymouth. In the 1930s, ships were requested to take soldiers to the breakwater fortress during World War II. You will now be a cruise ship again, relaxing while calming the sunlit face of the sea air.
After the wild cliffs and lonely quarry, Weymouth's screaming playgrounds and squeaky arcades feel crowded, but long sand beaches leave room for the last swim. Hardy swims here regularly. A closet drama of his verse from Dynasts, he tells George III younger Pete. “Bath is unmatched…
We sit next to the Victoria Kiosk near the Punch and Judy show and drink tea before heading to the station. Let's look at the view described by Hardy. Brilliant translucent green sheets ”.
• Train travel was offered by South Western Railway (from £ 14.50 one way from London to Weymouth). Bus trips were offered on the first and ferry trips by coastline cruise (£ 7 One-way). Accommodation provided by YHA Portland (dormitory bed £ 13, private 4 bedroom £ 39)
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