The waterfront city
ortsmouth has become one of England's favourite waterfront destinations. Climb the iconic Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth Harbour and you’ll be blown away by the spectacular views and the number of attractions stretching before you. There are ancient ships in the historic docklands, designer outlets at Gunwharf Quays , fascinating museums, and Southsea’s seafront begging to be explored. And why not round off your day by dining out on fresh seafood or catching a gig at one of the city’s cool venues?
History and Heritage
Portsmouth’s historic docklands are home to three of the most important ships ever built – Queen Victoria’s battleship HMS Warrior , Lord Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory and Henry VIII’s beloved Mary Rose. The Mary Rose is currently being restored for public view in 2012. However you can still visit the Mary Rose Museum and see thousands of personal, domestic and military objects.
Learn about life on board these impressive warships before immersing yourself further in military history at the Royal Marines Museum and the D-Day Museum . Southsea Castle , built in 1544 for Henry VIII, is also well worth a visit.
Arts and Culture
As well as excellent themed exhibitions showcasing the best in local and international talent, Aspex Gallery also organises events and activities to get you involved in contemporary visual arts. The New Theatre Royal and Kings Theatre offer cutting-edge dance, theatre and music in elegant surroundings. Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral , which started out as a chapel in 1180, hosts a number of events throughout the year from exhibitions and recitals to carols at Christmas.
Must See Attractions
As impressive as it looks from the outside, the iconic Spinnaker Tower is all about the views offered from its three platforms – on a clear day you can see for 23 miles. HMS Victory is an incredible piece of history and a real must see. Round off a day of sightseeing with a leisurely Harbour Tour to see the naval dockyard and bustling harbour in action.
Food and Drink
Enjoy fresh seafood like clam chowder with crispy smoked pancetta at the Sealevel Restaurant or savour a romantic sunset over a hot banana dessert at Mozzarella Joes on Southsea beach. Go on a culinary cruise along Albert Road, taking in flavours from across the globe. Award-winning Portsmouth brewery Irving & Co. supplies local pubs with tasty ales – try the Frigate; both golden and delicious.
If you want to see hearts on sleeves and passionate football then watch Pompey in action at Fratton Park. Sailors up for a challenge should tackle the Solent, whereas beginners can learn the basics at Portsmouth Watersports Centre . Take full advantage of the free volleyball courts along Southsea’s seafront or head to the city in October to witness celebrities and pros go for gold in the Great South Run .
With over 95 designer outlets and views across Portsmouth Harbour, shop and sightsee at the same time at Gunwharf Quays . Or pop to the nearby Antiques Storehouse to pick up everything from C19 art to Titanic artefacts at the largest antiques centre on the South Coast. For chocolatiers and award-winning jewellers try Marmion Road in Southsea or for retro clothes, antiques and cafes hit Albert Road.
Music and Nightlife
If you want to get your rocks off to the latest and greatest in the music world then take your pick from the ultra-hip Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea to the intimate Cellars at Eastney where you can witness something special with just 120 other people. And when it comes to nightlife you’re spoilt for choice, but start your evening in style at one of Gunwharf’s 30 restaurants and bars.
From the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel to comic genius Peter Sellers, Portsmouth’s famous sons are a super talented bunch. The city also has a long literary association. Bookworms should spend a day exploring the humble beginnings of Charles Dickens at the Birthplace Museum and visiting the former homes of Rudyard Kipling, H.G. Wells and Arthur Conan Doyle where he created the legendary sleuth Sherlock Holmes.
Take an undersea safari at the Blue Reef Aquarium and watch tropical sharks, stingrays and colourful reef fish swim around you. With feeding demonstrations and hands-on encounters, it’ll go down a treat. Portsmouth Watersports Centre offer kayaking, sailing, and windsurfing adventure courses perfect for youngsters who want some water-based action themselves. Or to experience jungle warfare Marines-style head to the Royal Marines Museum - just watch out for snakes and scorpions!
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More about... Portsmouth
Portsmouth - the waterfront city - the official visitor website.
Things to do
From events and attractions to fine dining and nights out; discover things to do in Portsmouth.
...with numerous bars, cafes and restaurants located by the waterfront.Gunwharf Quays