Set high on a hilltop overlooking Chesil Beach and the Isle of Portland, this barrel-vaulted 14th century chapel was built by the monks of the nearby Abbotsbury Abbey as a place of pilgrimage and retreat. Today the chapel still sits in splendid isolation.
Make your way up the hill, take in the fantastic views of the abbey ruins, and explore the nooks and crannies of this curious little chapel, including the 'wishing holes' where local women used to pray to St Catherine and ask her to find them a husband.
The local parish holds occasional services throughout the year, which are open to the public.
Read more about the history of St Catherine's Chapel.
Before You Go
Access: The chapel is accessed on foot up a steep incline of approximately 1/2 mile.
Parking: Parking is available in town centre off Rodden Row (car park postcode DT3 4JL) a short walk from Chapel Hill.
How to find it: The path to the chapel can be reached via Chapel Lane (opposite Red Lane) off Market Street in the centre of the village.
Facilities: There are no facilities at the chapel but there are shops, food and toilets available a short walk away in the village centre.
Please be aware: The path takes you through land grazed by cattle, so please keep dogs on leads.
English Heritage does not permit drone flying from or over sites in our care, except by contractors or partners undertaking flights for a specific purpose, who satisfy stringent CAA criteria, have the correct insurances and permissions, and are operating under controlled conditions.
Services: The local parish holds several informal services at St Catherine's Chapel during the year. These are open to anyone wishing to attend. The following services are taking place during 2019:
- Good Friday 19th April – following the 2.30pm service at St. Nicholas Church, a walk of witness will take place to St Catherine's Chapel
- Sunday 30th June, 4pm
- Sunday 28th July, 4pm
- Sunday 24th November, 3.30pm (celebrating St Catherine's Day)
- Monday 31st December, 4.30pm (Bring a torch)
Stout suitable footwear is recommended and warm clothing for the cooler evenings. There is no seating and people remain standing during the services.
For further information about these services, please email Reverend Margaret Preuss-Higham. All other enquiries related to the chapel should be made to our Customer Services team.
Plan a Great Day Out
Enjoy the panoramic views over Chesil Beach, perhaps with a picnic.
On the way from the car park be sure to visit the remains of Abbotsbury Abbey. This lonely wall was once part of a much bigger abbey complex.
Also within easy driving distance is the dramatic Iron Age hillfort of Maiden Castle near Dorchester. Or head to the coast and visit one Portland Castle, of Henry VIII's finest coastal fortresses. It overlooks Portland Harbour and boasts a great tearoom and stunning views out to sea.