Before Portland's secure harbour was created by the massive Victorian breakwaters, the waters around the Isle of Portland had a long story to tell, from the days of prehistoric seafarers to Roman galleys sheltering from south westerly gales, invading Vikings, Henry VIII's two castles and the passage of the Spanish Armada, shipwrecks without number and a base for the Royal Navy.
Now it is the home of the present thriving commercial port and a focus of marine leisure that includes one of the leading sport diving centres in the UK and the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy.
Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour, widely recognised as the finest sail racing waters in the country, hosted the Olympic Sailing events in 2012.
Arguably Portland's greatest claim to fame is its stone, used by Sir Christopher Wren to build St Paul's Cathedral and many other churches and great buildings in London and around the world. In 1763, 92 stone markers were sent to the USA to define the Mason-Dixon Line. The Portland quarries, still working today, are part of the Jurassic Coast, World Heritage Site, which in 2005 won the Tourism for Tomorrow award against global competition.
Portland was in the front line in the Second World War and it was from there in 1944 that thousands of Americans of the US 1st Division embarked for the Normandy landings and Omaha Beach - D-Day's "Bloody Omaha”.