Wessex Attractions: Portland House

Portland House is a National Trust-owned hotel in Dorset. Built in the 1930s in California Mission Revival style. Its original decor has been preserved where possible.

Overlooking Portland harbour, it makes a great base for exploring the Jurassic Coast, and nearby attractions such as Hardy's Cottage.

The full address is: 24 Belle Vue Rd, Weymouth DT4 8RZ, Please note that booking is currently limited due to lockdown restrictions.

Wessex Attractions: Ballard Down

Ballard Down is an area of chalk downland in Purbeck, owned by the National Trust. It is part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

Visible from the downs are Old Harry's Rocks which, like The Needles, were once part of a range of chalk hills that became partially submerged as sea levels rose. Legend has it that they got their name because The Devil once took a nap on the rocks.

An obelisk on the downs commemorates the provision of a supply of drinking water to Swanage in 1883. It was taken down during World War 2 to prevent the Luftwaffe from using it to navigate, but re-erected in 1952.

The downs are home to several are butterfly species, including the Blue Adonis. The 2017 BBC adaptation of Howard's End by EM Forster was partly filmed there.

The postcode for satnav purposes is BH19 3DG, and the 50 Breezer Morebus service between Bournemouth and Swanage stops half a mile from the site.

Wessex Attractions: Figsbury Ring

Figsbury Ring is an Iron Age hill fort near Salisbury with an older, possibly Neolitihic enclosure. 18th and 19th century antiquarians misattributed it to the Romans, as was often the case with prehistoric sites, and it was previously known as Chlorus's Camp. It is not clear who Chlorus was, or whether he was the Chlorus of Greek mythology, whose son Thessalus supposedly gave his name to Thessaly. The site was the basis for Cadbury Rings, a location featured in EM Forster's novel The Longest Journey.

The postcode, for satnav purposes, is SP4 6DT. The site is served by bus numbers 87 and 88 from Salisbury.

Wessex Attractions: Newbury Racecourse

Newbury Racecourse has been located at its current site since 1905, though horse races had been taking place in Newbury for 100 years before that, initially at Enborne Heath and, from 1811, at Woodhay Heath.

The racecourse has its own dedicated railway station on GWR's Reading to Newbury line, with occasional services extending to Bedwyn. Special shuttle trains run from Reading on race days.

The Lodge is a hotel located in the grounds of the racecourse estate, two minutes' walk from the station. It is currently closed due to Covid-19.

The postcode, for satnav purposes, is RG14 7PN.

Wessex Attractions: Saltram

Saltram is a stately homes described by Pevsner as "the most impressive country house in Devon", and built on the site of a much smaller Tudor house. It came to prominence after the Civil War, when it was purchased by George Parker, whose family continue to occupy it until 1951, when it was transferred to the National Trust. It contains a prospect tower that overlooks Plympton harbour.

The estate has since been bisected by both the South Devon Railway and the A38, but remains a popular spot with walkers and cyclists.

The postcode, for satnav purposes, is PL7 1UH.