Portland Underground Hospital, Dorset

Back in 2008 my fellow explorers and I set out to report on the Portland Underground Hospital. First brought to our attention when we were only young, barely teenagers I believe.

The site of Portland Hospital, Dorset. Clearly showing the underground sections

It was the mid-nineties when the Portland Underground Hospital was uncovered and open to the public for a weekend of tours. I remember being amazed by the underground structure, and perhaps, this was the experience that would trigger my passion for exploring these forgotten places. After the tours were completed, steel gates were put on the tunnel entrances and access limited.

Fast-forward almost twenty years and history on the Underground Hospital is extremely rare. Without researching at local libraries I was at a loss searching online. As I understand, there were three tunnel entrances to the underground hospital although whether these tunnels joined to create one large underground complex is unclear.

An original photo taken by my Father on the mid-90's tour of the hospital
An original photo taken by my Father on the mid-90’s tour of the hospital

During our explore of the hospital, we found a broken hatch which dropped us down inside a service/escape tunnel near the third entrance tunnel, unfortunately there was a collapsed roof section which stopped us going any further.

We finally had a bit of luck getting in to the second tunnel. The bars on the gate had been bent and there was enough room for us to squeeze through. However, our luck was short-lived and we could only explore so far in to the tunnel as we were met by a bricked up doorway.

We didn’t let it get to us and managed to get photos of the few items which had been left behind. Sinks, air conditioning unit and a few bits of furniture. What lies beyond the bricked-up doorway will no doubt remain a mystery, but you never know! Once again, another piece of fascinating Portland history that lies in ruins and uncared for.

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Important, noteworthy & interesting comments are highlighted below

  1. I used to go to the underground hospital in Portland when I was really young but I went three miles underground. Did anyone else get that far down there and make their way back up? The inside was a normal empty place with lights on in large normal rooms. I used to walk the tunnels through Oregon before they blocked them all off.

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      Jacqueline, I think you’re mistaking this location for somewhere in America?

  2. Lizzy says:

    I’m moving to Weymouth soon (my home town) I used to hang around the quarries on Portland in the late 80’s as a kid. Never went into the tunnels as always too scared. Would love to do some exploring after all these years. If anyone is interested please let me know. Exploring abandoned buildings is also of interest but not the thing I’d want to do alone. Looking for some exploring buddies :-)

    1. Taigh says:

      Hi Lizzy I would like to explore with you.

    2. christian liles says:

      I know an abandoned house in Christchurch

    3. Archie says:

      Where about in the quarries?

    4. Paul Pontefract says:

      Definitely up for it!

      I’m at the Portland community hospital today, and am very intrigued about the history of this strategically placed pre-war hospital. If you know of any hidden secrets about this place, please share.

  3. becca says:

    Does anyone know any entrances to the tunnels/hospital on Portland? Very keen to go as soon as I can, I live in Dorchester. Happy to bring [*removed*] or whatever is needed I just need to know locations.

    *Edited by admin: please don’t cause criminal damage.

    1. Ellie may Izod says:

      Could you let me know the ways please

    2. noah says:

      You can’t get in I went and checked yesterday, all entrances are locked.

    3. Daniel Smith says:

      Hi me and my girlfriend and going to Portland in July and very interested in visiting the underground hospital, are we allowed or are we gonna get nicked for going there.

      Many thanks, Dan.

  4. Kimberley says:

    Does anyone know if you can still access this? Me and my partner have been travelling around to various places that have no confirmation of them being gone and have been disappointed each time we got to them, we don’t want anymore wasted trips, we’re in the Midlands but want to see as much as we can before they all get demolished or refurbished, any recommendations for anywhere would be great TIA

    1. steve says:

      Hi Kimberley,

      I am currently looking into accessing this site and the forbidden city. Me and my 12yr old got so close today. Stopped by a fence and lack of secateurs. We did have gloves for the vandal paint. We couldn’t proceed from then on. I have contacted a fella on this site called Giles who lives on Portland and seems to know the way. I offered to take him in WWII D-Day radio station inside Portsdown Hill and fort Gillkicker if he shows us the way. The moderator of this site has winked that there are many entrances. I’d like to try to enter via The Forbidden City. If Giles who I found here comes back, would you like to form a team?

      Regards Steve

      1. Nicola Thomas says:

        Hi Steve

        Did you manage to get access? Any maps? Is Giles prepared to show others around?

      2. Tom says:

        If caught in Forbidden City you will be arrested and most likely thrown in jail, if you have any tips to get in though please reply.

    2. Peter says:

      I’ve looked at 2 tunnels and a hatch. There is no way in. Both gates are locked and the hatch weighs a ton. The only way in is with bolt cutters and/or a crowbar

  5. Vic Pomeroy says:

    I may have missed it? As a boy in 1959 we would congregate in “Bombed Osy”
    The underground Hospital within the Verne perimeter

    Also at the entrance to the Verne Tunnel remains the iron drop gate.

  6. David says:

    We would like to know if we can go and see this looks interesting let us know thanks David and Char

  7. Ali says:

    Does anybody know the current status of this place? Is it still accessible? Thanks :)

    1. Nightvision says:

      Hey Ali, I am currently trying to view this place as well. I am not sure when I am next in Portland, but be sure to email me at exposednights@gmail.com. If I am thinking of the right place, I know where two tunnel enterances are, however I have never been in due to being alone (I never go to dark, abandoned places alone). But if you would like to drop me an email, I’ll be sure to consider exploring with you.

    2. Steve says:

      Hello Ali, did you get any further with this?

      1. Steve Fuller says:

        Happy to join you Jess, e-mail address is steve@fullersworld.co.uk

      2. ImInEre says:

        Did you go there?

    3. Steve mallon says:

      Ali I was born there the pictures are not real. There was no sinks there I use to go there when was a child.

      1. The Urban Explorer says:

        I can assure you the photos are real, Steve.

        1. Steve says:

          They might be now but back in the 80s the tunnels were empty then they got locked up.

          1. The Urban Explorer says:

            I suspect you never went in this section perhaps? It’s bricked up and wouldn’t have been accessible from the top steps or the tunnel near the main entrance. I believe the sinks are very much an original feature.

  8. Simm Henley says:

    How do you get in?

    1. Rob says:

      I grew up in Underhill and there’s another more spooky and lesser known underground hospital up at The Verne, as you go through the entrance there’s a set of steps to your left, near the top of those steps you jump over a wall on your right and there you’ll see the old stone arch doorway into the underground hospital…

      1. Ian says:

        I actually grew up in the Verne back in the late 50’s/early 60’s. Dad was a prison officer. What we as kids exploring the citadel used to call Bombed Ozie (ie. hospital) was, from recent research, actually a magazine. I’ll see if I can find the reference.

        Here it is http://www.subterraneanhistory.co.uk/2011/02/verne-citadel-portland.html

        Now 64, I have many fond memories of living in the Verne. A great playground.

      2. Charlie says:

        Where is the hospital?

      3. josh hill says:

        Hi Rob can you meet me and my friend tomoz at underhill bus stop?

      4. Bryonywills says:

        Are you still able to get to this?

      5. Kevin Irwin says:

        They filled in the entrance to bombed hospital at the Verne around 1964 it was originally built as the main magazine for the Verne Citadel and was used as a hospital during the second World War. The main entrance was a large arch with a pair of iron gates, coming out of the entrance was a small pair of rails which led into the main Citadel to carry the ammunition. A second entrance was on the tunnel side of the magazine which now has a car park alongside it. When you entered through the double doors the latrines were on the left hand side and I remember the wall next to them was covered in signatures and drawings from the soldiers over the years.

  9. Tony White says:

    Remember going in here as a kid. Was littered with crates containing really old medicine bottles.

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      Absolutely! That’s what I remember from the open day in the 90’s, loads of them!

  10. Mark says:

    Hi, I have just seen your article on the underground hospital. I can definetly put your curiosity to rest regarding what’s beyond the blocked up doorway, as I am the one who blocked it up.

    1. Marina says:

      This makes it sound like there is something hiding in there!

    2. Laura says:

      So what’s behind the wall Mark?

      1. Mark says:

        Hi Laura, hope you don’t mind me asking but I was just reading through ‘The Urban Explorer’ and came across the section regarding the underground hospital.

        Did you ever find out what was behind the bricked up wall? ?


    3. Adam says:

      Please do mark

  11. chelle says:

    I love exploring round Portland too, in fact I remember being told off by the police a few times as we had got in to the old M.O.D offices. I thought I had seen it all as well until I read about the cliff tunnel, unfortunately I don’t think I will ever get the chance to see it as I became severely disabled last year and I’m in a wheelchair. Portland is full of amazing history and I’d give anything for one last exploration. So jealous of you all.

  12. MAXINE says:

    Hello has anyone got any information on the former Royal Observer Corp in Southwoods Yeovil. I was once told it had tunnels leading from it in case there was a nuclear war.
    I do know it had underground rooms. Not sure if they are still there as a house has been built on the site.

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      The bunker you’re referring to was a regional HQ and much larger than the regular ROC posts. I would assume that everything was filled in and destroyed when the house was built.

      1. MAXINE says:

        Thank you, quite disappointed.

      2. paul osborne says:

        Hi, can you tell me where about on Portland the tunnels are and the underground hospital, I live in Weymouth and worked on Portland for 6 years and love seeing new parts of it.

        1. The Urban Explorer says:

          Hi Paul. The underground hospital is clearly mapped above. It’s located on the site of the existing Portland Hospital. Cheers.

          1. charlie says:

            Hi Urban Explorer, I was wondering can you still access the world war hospitals under Portland

            1. The Urban Explorer says:

              No idea. Technically they’ve never been accessible, it’s pot-luck whether you find them open or not.

              1. charlie says:

                Thanks urban explorer

                1. Charlie says:

                  So maybe it’s possible

  13. Annie says:

    I’ve been looking at this page and been doing some research about the abandoned places on Portland and I think it’s genuinely really interesting! It’s a shame all these places are blocked up I’d love to be able to explore some of these places but unfortunately I can’t. I was just wondering if you knew any other websites or books what could tell me more information about these places. I’m 14 and unfortunately can’t get up to physically exploring these places but I’d love to learn more about them! Thank you.

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      Are you after Portland history? Or abandonment & urban exploring in general?

      1. Annie says:

        a bit of both really

        1. The Urban Explorer says:

          Well, local historian Stuart Morris has published several books about Portland, one of my favourites is Portland, an Illustrated History. There’s also Nick McCamley’s books which are fantastic and generally involve underground locations, for example: Second World War Secret Bunkers. Both authors are worth looking in to.

          1. June Smith says:

            WW2 nuclear bunker at the Nothe Fort open to public Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th February 2023 11am-3pm pre-booking required (not so secret) local volunteer knows about the underground hospital!

    2. Adam says:

      I’m always looking to take new people out exploring sharing history and experiences.

      1. David says:

        Hi Adam, it would be great to get in touch with you and go out on an explore I’m a local lad to the island and there’s are a lot more sites than people think. There is one I’m going to soon that is I assume untouched let me know if you’re interested.

        1. Nightvision says:

          Hey, I am interested in exploring Portlands abandoned buildings and places. I am a rooftop urbex photographer, and I have visited a few sites on Portland. Email me at exposednights@gmail.com and we can discuss exploring in greater detail.

      2. Kirsty says:

        Hi Adam,

        If you’re ever exploring in the Portland/Weymouth/Dorchester area and are looking for new people to explore with, let me know. I haven’t been before, but I’ve always wanted to and it sounds like a fantastic experience.

      3. Susan says:

        Hi Adam
        I am constantly looking for new places to explore and photograph, usually with my son, so I am not alone. If you have space for another person on any of your explores then please let me know.

        1. Paul culliven says:

          Hi, my name’s Paul. I’m relatively new to this apart from my youth. But love exploring and my son has just got into it big time. I love Portland and there’s so much to explore there I want to take him. Much better with more of us so if you want an explore, email. I know my boy will love it. Many thanks, Paul.

          1. Susan Peters says:

            Hi Paul
            Thanks for your message, not sure how we can swap email addresses privately. If you have Instagram you can DM me on there though, my username is Marypoppins07. You can also have a look at some of the abandoned explores I have had! Went to the Cordite Factory at Holton Heath a couple of weeks ago! And have done the trains at Corfe. Cheers.

      4. Jamie kennedy says:

        Hi Adam I’m an urban explorer from Torquay and would love to join you for an explore. Have just done a huge mansion in Devon, all the stuff was left behind, my best explore yet. Please feel free to email me jkennedy1204@gmail.com if you would like to meet up. Jamie

  14. DAN says:

    Hi, I was just wondering whether you could tell me how to get in to the bunkers if you have been there, and whether the quarries are any good to explore? Cheers.

    1. Hi Dan,

      There’s no way in to the Underground Hospital now unfortunately.

      As for the quarries: some are quite nice to look around, but I don’t think you’ll find much to explore.

      1. sandra West says:

        Hi read your comments about the quarries on Portland and there not being much in them. Sorry to disagree but, Tout Quarry is now a huge sculpture park, with some amazing free standing and carved into the walls sculptures,including a work by Anthony Gormley called still falling but we on Portland call it the falling man as it looks like a man falling off the cliff. Bowers Quarry is going to be where the memo project will be.Kingborrow quarry is a beautiful butterfly and nature reserve. So not just quarries with nothing to see.

        1. The Urban Explorer says:

          Agreed. I did say, “some are quite nice to look around” – what I meant by ‘nothing to explore’ would be the literal “Urban Exploring” terminology. Abandoned buildings, artefacts etc.

          I’m from Portland, and just as passionate about it as you I’m sure and often enjoy walking through Tout and the surrounding quarries.

          1. Tania says:

            I managed to get to the forbidden city about six years ago and loved it. Is there anywhere else on Portland that is accessible? I am aware the FC is no longer accessible and if you do get in you are apparently quickly removed. Gutting that so much history is allowed to simply rot!

  15. Ashley Smith says:

    Hi Adam,

    Great report – not sure if you ever found much information on the Naval Hospital and this Underground Theatre but I’ve just obtained a small Artsmiths book on the hospital, written by Reg Perry who was in a guide when the site was opened to the public in the mid-1990s. I’ve yet to read through it but I’ll probably be hoping to get a Wikipedia page up in the future on it.


    1. Hi Ashley,

      That would be fantastic! Please let me know when you’ve put it up.

      1. Ashley Smith says:

        Hi Adam

        I’ve just completed the page on Wikipedia now, which is pretty much a rewrite of certain information from Reg Perry’s book. It covers the history of the hospital overall but there’s some good information on the underground operating theatre too. I was surprised how little there was in the way of information on the hospital online.

        The link is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Naval_Hospital,_Portland

        There’s no photos yet as I haven’t got any free-use ones to add to the article yet.


        1. That’s awesome. Please, feel free to use any of my photos on there if they’re any good to you.

          1. Ashley Smith says:

            Thanks for the offer of the photos. They have to be under free-use though on sites such as Wiki Commons. I’ll probably grab a shot of the hospital and the entrance in the near future to add to the page.

  16. Milo says:

    Hey there,

    I am a film production student and I was wondering if it is possible to film at this location or is that too dangerous? And is it possible to contact someone to get permissions for this location?


    1. Hi Milo,

      I think you’d have a very hard time getting anywhere with that! Good luck though!

  17. ROYCE says:

    Awesome okay, cheers, i’ll reost a comment after the weekend to let you know how i got on and if we could get in. portland is an amazing place to live i love it.

  18. ROYCE says:

    PS. very nice photography.

  19. ROYCE says:

    Hi I live on portland, me and 3 other good friends of mine were are always out walking about trying to find new stuff but actually this is one of the places weve never botherd to look , so this weekend were going to have a look just having an adventure , were almost like the goonies ;) haha, was just wondering if you would be able to give us a hand, where abouts was the entrance that you went through ? cheers, royce.

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      Hi Royce,

      You’ll see the main entrances as soon as you walk through the main hospital gate. You and your ‘Goonies’ sound a lot like me and my mates when we were growing up on Portland! I love the place!

      Happy exploring!

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