Portland Bill and Chesil Beach are the graveyards of many vessels that failed to reach Weymouth or Portland Roads. The Portland Race is caused by the meeting of the tides between the Bill and the Shambles sandbank about 3 miles SE. Strong currents break the sea so fiercely that from the shore a continuous disturbance can be seen. Portland Bill Lighthouse guides vessels heading for Portland and Weymouth through these hazardous waters as well as acting as a waymark for ships navigating the English Channel. The Shambles sandbank is marked by a red sector light.
The renovated the Visitor Centre at Portland Bill Lighthouse opened to the public on 29 March 2015, the impressive new main exhibit allows you to learn about the lighthouse and its keepers and find out about Trinity House, the organisation that operates the lighthouse and has safeguarded the mariner for over 500 years. The new exhibition contains a number of interactive displays and historical artefacts and offers the opportunity to encounter a stormy sea journey in the exhilarating zone ‘Into The Dark’.
Visitors can also climb the lighthouse and see for miles along the beautiful Dorset Coastline, the world famous Jurassic Coast and out to the treacherous Portland Race.