The historic harbour, buzzing seaside and the high tower offering stunning views of the area are only a few examples of places to visit in Portsmouth, England. Find out what places to visit in Portsmouth and why you should travel to the south coast of England.
Portsmouth, as its name indicates, is a port city. Located on England’s south coast, only 1,5h by train from London, and 1 h drive from the Stonehenge and Salisbury. The city is a naval base and a home to the historic harbour. A bit off the beaten path, Portsmouth still has a lot to offer. A colourful coastal town is famous for the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard showcasing the city’s maritime heritage. Historical warships like HMS Warrior 1860 and HMS Victory, together with Mary Rose used by the English Navy of King Henry VIII can be seen there.
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What places to visit in Portsmouth, UK?
There are quite a few places to visit in Portsmouth in England, which will quickly fill up your time in this coastal city. From the peaceful walks by the sea to exploring the English history in the multiple museums or admiring the views from the Spinnaker Tower to sipping wine with the harbour views – there is a lot to do in Portsmouth.
#Emirates Spinnaker Tower
Offering sweeping views of the city and the area miles away, 170m tall Emirates Spinnaker Tower is one of the top places to visit in Portsmouth and South coast’s must-see attractions. The Tower is visible from any place in the Harbour and its shape reminds me of the famous Dubai’s Burj Al-Arab hotel. There are three view decks providing 350-degree sights. With the views stretching out for 23 miles you can clearly see the Portsmouth Harbour and the south coast.
To get to the main observation deck you use the high-speed internal lift. The lift takes you 100 meters above the sea level in a matter of just 28 seconds. Once up there, you can admire all the views for as long you want.
Up in the air
A fun thing to try is the virtual reality tower walk. With three different experiences to choose from, you can feel like walking on the edge of the tower, try to ring the bell at the end of the path or collect the coins on the narrow sill. It’s so much fun, and definitely not only for kids (and not for faint hearted and scared of heights!;)). On the main observation deck, you can also do a short walk on the glass floor with the view straight down to the bottom of the tower.
The great adventurous activity (though only in the summer months) is to try a 100-metre drop down experience on the outside of the tower. I’d love to check it out next time I’m around.
On the View Deck 2, there is a Clouds cafe, where you can enjoy fresh coffee or afternoon tea with the amazing view. Especially the aptly named High Tea experience is worth a try. I haven’t had a chance to do it this time, as the cafe was busy and most of the tables were reserved. Remember to book in advance!
The 3rd deck is a home to the Sky Garden, where there are some deck chairs available for you to sit down, relax and take in the sun and the views.
Daily from 10.00am-6.00pm
Adults: £11.00, Child: £8.50, Concession:£10.00
#Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard holds 800 years of maritime history with several historical ships located there. You can pay a visit to wooden warship HMS Victory, where Nelson died in the Battle of Trafalgar, HMS Warrior 1860 and the National Museum of the Royal Navy.
You can also check the Mary Rose Museum, that contains restored Mary Rose warship. Mary Rose was used by the English navy of King Henry VIII and served in several wars against France, Scotland and Brittany until its last action in 1536. You can see the ship and learn about its history in the museum.
Museums have very interesting exhibitions, one of them was a British Tattoo Art Revealed Exhibition, which I found very interesting.
The Dockyard has several shops, boathouses with local workshops and restaurants, where you can easily spend a day enjoying the area. One activity worth mentioning is a boat trip from the Dockyard, that will take you to another part of the Harbour, allowing for great views from the water.
10am to 5pm 29 October 2018 – 25 March 2019 (winter)
10am to 5:30pm 26 March 2019 – 28 October 2019 (summer)
Ticket prices vary depending on what attraction you want to see from £8-£34.
Southsea is an area located in Portsmouth at the end of Portsea Island. It used to be a fashionable Victorian seaside resort in the 19th century. Originally named as Croxton Town, the area changed the name taking it from the nearby Southsea Castle. Now, it is a residential suburb and the commercial and entertainment area.
The Southsea is a great place to visit in Portsmouth to step back in time and walk in the steps of Henry VIII. The Southsea Castle is a fort constructed in 1544 to help to defend the Portsmouth Harbour. In the Southsea Castle, you can stand in the same place, from which Henry VIII watched his beloved Mary Rose sink to the bottom of the sea.
Walk by the sea in the Southsea
The waves are crashing against the boulders and the sea changes every day. I enjoyed walking along the coast and inhaling the fresh air deep in my lungs. The sea boulevard is a popular area for local people to run and walk. It also has one of the most famous Fish & chips shops in town – Deep Blue Fish and Chips.
You can also find there the South Parade Pier which reminded me the one from Brighton. It does look similar, doesn’t it? 😉
#Gunwharf Quays with shops and restaurants
Big shopping centre located just by the water on the open air, full of restaurants and cafes including the outdoor seating is a nice place to spend time during good weather. Designer outlets of Gunwharf Quays offer great opportunities for shopping on the fresh air and having a constant access to the beautiful harbour view.
Hotels in Portsmouth UK
There is a wide range of hotels in Portsmouth for every budget.
If you are a budget traveller I can highly recommend staying in the Ibis budget Portsmouth hotel.
The Ibis hotel offers clean and comfortable rooms for a very affordable price. The reception is open 24h should you need anything, and the staff is extremely helpful. In the morning, you can go for the breakfast downstairs or order it to your room. In the close proximity to the hotel, there’s also a massive Tesco as well as a few food chains, so you won’t be hungry. You can easily walk towards the beach through the colourful neighbourhood or take a bus to the centre.
Check here for the best prices in Ibis Budget hotel in Portsmouth.
Have you visited Portsmouth in England before? What other places to visit in Portsmouth you can recommend? Let me know in the comments!
Read more about destinations in the UK:
Visit street art district in London
Explore coastal town of Brighton in a day trip from London
Discover English history in Stonehenge and Salisbury
Spend London New Year’s Eve on a budget
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