Portsmouth has undeniably played its part throughout maritime history. Even walking within the world-renowned Historic Dockyard, you can find Nelson’s HMS Victory, the National Museum of the Royal Navy, HMS Warrior, and the incredible Mary Rose Museum. All that before you’ve taken to the city’s vibrant streets and rubbed shoulders with the locals.
Then there are the action-packed waters where you can try your hand at everything from paddleboarding to kitesurfing before trundling back towards Gunwharf Quays for some of the best cuisines in town. Fancy a trip to the Isle of White? Done. Want to step through time in one of our escape rooms? Done!
But why do we really love Portsmouth? Here are 7 reasons why:
One of a kind experiences
Let’s face it. There is only one Spinnaker Tower where you can look right across the bay, test your metal abseiling down its side, and then top it off with an exquisite high tea as you watch the world go by.
Dotted around Gunwharf Quays are a range of attractions too. Most notably, No Man’s Fort. What can only be described as a real-life Bond villain’s lair, this 19th Century remnant has become an adult’s Adventureland. Whether you fancy an overnight stay with an uninterrupted ocean view, want to test your cocktail skills or an adrenaline-fueled laser quest game, it’s all there.
If that’s not enough, our immersive escape rooms will drop you into the heart of the adventure. Whether you want to unmask a criminal enterprise running rife through the city in 1928, prevent global anarchy in the 1960s or uncover the dark secrets hidden in a 1980s medical research facility, you can don your detective cap and have the most memorable experience within our walls.
Unique maritime history
Then there is Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard. You can stand inches away from where Lord Nelson breathed his last, moments after his victory over the French on the HMS Victory’s upper decks. Then you can step back in time to the Tudors and stand face to face with the Mary Rose’s formidable hull.
What stands out the most is the plethora of artifacts pulled from the wreckage of these remarkable vessels. From 18th Century seafaring instruments and written documents to Henry VIII’s crewman’s possessions, you can get a unique insider look into what life was like for those living aboard some of the most treacherous ships.
A seaside city
Yes, Portsmouth is a vibrant cultural hub of activity, but it is also home to sun, sea, and sand. Located on Portsea Island, Portsmouth itself is one of the UK’s top beach destinations and the only island city in the country! With neighbouring Southsea a stone’s throw away, you can get all the fun of the beach with all the seaside attractions you can dream of.
If that’s not enough, Portsmouth is home to an array of water sport activities that the whole family can enjoy. From kayaking to paddleboarding, jet skiing to surfing, it’s all there!
A summer retreat
We love Portsmouth all year round, but the whole city comes together as one to celebrate when the summer comes. Now that lockdown is quickly becoming a thing of the past, festival season is back in full swing, and what better way to kick off proceedings than the iconic Victorious Festival.
This year’s longstanding event will take place during the August bank holiday in its usual spot, Southsea Common. With one of the best lineups ever seen, including Royal Blood, The Streets, Madness, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Supergrass, and more, it’ll be an event to remember.
August is a busy month for the town, and you can expect all the usual fun from The International Kite Festival and the Guildhall’s acclaimed Sausage and Cider Festival. With a whole host of exciting events throughout the year, Portsmouth is well and truly on the map.
Cake, cake, and more cake!
Portsmouth is a foodie paradise. There, we said it. Whether you want mouthwatering slabs of cake from the Tenth Hole Tea Rooms, hearty pub grub at the historical Old Customs House, or street food delights, you will find a wide selection of tantalising treats for all appetites.
What’s more, Portsmouth is home to several food and drinks festivals, such as Beats & Eats and the Seafood Festival. So if you’re visiting or local to the area, come rain or shine, there is something for everyone’s palette to enjoy.
There’s nothing quite like grabbing a beer down at Gunwharf Quays and taking in the general hubbub of the town. A few steps away, you can experience all the rich history of the area before taking a leap into the ocean and then finishing off with a spot of retail therapy.
More than that feeling of escapism comes the joy of Wave Maiden Cheese. Nestled into the quirky and atmospheric Osbourne Road, this hidden gem is a local favourite. Then there are the plethora of stellar music venues such as the Wedgewood Rooms and the King’s Theatre, supporting up and coming bands as well as internationally acclaimed artists.
Bustle down Albert Street, and you’ll find a collection of unique finds and quality reads from the array of bookshops dotted around. Whatever your escape (we know a thing or two about that!), Portsmouth definitely delivers.
A celebration city
You can’t go anywhere in Portsmouth without seeing glimpses of days gone by, and one of the most notable features of the city is how it gives a voice to all the people who have walked within the town’s walls over the years.
From the 13th Century Royal Garrison Church to the modern-day retelling of the D-Day story, Portsmouth honours its history in an accessible and humble way.
One of our particular favourites is the D-Day Story Exhibition found on the Clarence Esplanade. Through the personal accounts of people who were there, the exhibition brings their story to life through stunning audio-visual presentations as well as showcasing many of the museum’s iconic objects. It’s well worth a visit.
We love Portsmouth, there’s no denying it. A truly special city bursting with all the passion and culture that has helped shape it into the vibrant place we see today. If you haven’t visited yet, what are you waiting for? Come on down!