The new Portland Bill Lighthouse Visitor Centre has been completed and is now open to visitors.
Trinity House, the General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales and the Channel Islands, has taken on this project with the help of a grant from its Maritime Charity to highlight to the public the importance of the sea to Britain today and the history of its aids to navigation.
The newly-refurbished visitor attraction occupies the ground floor of the former lighthouse keepers’ cottages next to the lighthouse.
Since 1716 a number of lighthouses have exhibited a light from Portland to guide vessels through the hazardous race to Portland and Weymouth as well as along the English Channel; the present lighthouse dates from 1906 and was manned until 1996.
The new visitor centre seeks to showcase the history of the Portland Bill Lighthouses and also tell the story of the lives of the Trinity House lighthouse keepers.
The exhibition also encompasses the history and development of Trinity House, which celebrated its 500th anniversary last year, and its lighthouses in general and the future of satellite-based aids to navigation.
The exhibition includes artefacts from the Trinity House collection, plus graphic and interactive displays.
For an extra fee, a visit to the centre can be completed by ascending the Grade II Listed lighthouse to take in the panoramic views of the world famous Jurassic Coast.
Admission price for the visitor centre only is £3 for adults and £2 for children, with concessions and group offers available. Find out more at here.
Trinity House’s Executive Chairman Captain Ian McNaught said: ‘It is great to add another element to the diverse range of platforms we use to engage with the public and inform them about the work that we at Trinity House do and of the importance of the sea to an island nation where over 95% of the goods imported or exported travel by sea.
‘To be able to do that at a location as beautiful as Portland Bill is a very welcome advantage.’