From the pomp and ceremony of our proud naval and maritime heritage, to towering world-class visitor attractions, museums and galleries, unique shopping destinations, great places to eat and miles of beautiful waterfront, Portsmouth offers something for absolutely everyone.
Ideally situated on the south coast of England, the UK’s only island city is ideal for a short break by the sea. There are lots of things to do in Portsmouth, with magnificent museums, live music venues, contemporary art galleries, two cathedrals, a diverse literary heritage, nightlife, festivals and countless events throughout the year.
Portsmouth was the birthplace of Charles Dickens, and has also been home to Arthur Conan Doyle and Rudyard Kipling during their lifetimes. These literary greats are celebrated at museums throughout the city and with frequent events.
If there are big, outdoor events in Portsmouth, chances are they’ll be hosted on Southsea Common, a 100-acre open space right on the seafront. It’s a popular location for sports, picnics and dog walks. Recently, the Common has also hosted a number of high-profile events, including the America’s Cup World Series and Victorious music festival.
Also situated on the Common is Southsea Castle, one of King Henry VIII’s most famous fortifications. It’s from the castle’s vantage point that Henry is said to have watched the sinking of his flagship vessel, the Mary Rose.
The ship was to remain at the sea bed for 437 years, until it was raised and put on an intensive conservation programme. Now, the ship takes pride of place at the centre of its very own museum within Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, where visitors can now see the ship in all her glory – even going through an air lock to breathe the same air.
Not forgetting, of course, what is fast becoming the modern emblem of Portsmouth – the Emirates Spinnaker Tower. This imposing structure stretches 170 metres above Gunwharf Quays – making it taller than Big Ben, the London Eye and Blackpool Tower. On a good day, visitors can see 350 degree panoramas stretching up to 23 miles.
With all this and more on offer in one small island, Portsmouth certainly is the Great Waterfront City.