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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70 responses to “Portland Underground Hospital, Dorset”

  1. 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 :-)

  2. 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.

  3. 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

    • 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

    • 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

  4. 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.

  5. David says:

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

  6. Ali says:

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

  7. Simm Henley says:

    How do you get in?

  8. Tony White says:

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

    • The Urban Explorer says:

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

    • Adam says:

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

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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.

      • 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

  13. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

  14. 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.


  15. 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?


  16. 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.

  17. ROYCE says:

    PS. very nice photography.

  18. 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.

    • 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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