Portsmouth

Why go there?

Portsmouth, on England’s south coast, is easily accessible from London by car or by train. This waterfront city is home to a wealth of historic attractions at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, located next to the modern Spinnaker Tower, and vibrant shopping centre at Gunwharf Quays..

Key gateways

Airports:

Gatwick, Southampton

Ports:

Hull

City map

Key attractions

Historic Dockyard

Fantastic value and packed with historic ships and interactive exhibits, Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard is home to HMS Victory, the Royal Navy’s most famous war ship, and HMS Warrior Britain’s first iron-hulled armoured battleship, amongst other fascinating historic ships. The 11 attraction ticket is valid for a year, and covers more than a day’s entertainment.

Book on the VisitBritain Shop

Website: historicdockyard.co.uk

Spinnaker Tower

There’s no better view of Portsmouth than from the top of the Spinnaker Tower, which sits 170m above the harbour below. With a lift up to the top, visitors can enjoy walking on the glass floor section of the viewing floor, or on certain days they can even book in advance to abseil down!

Book on the VisitBritain Shop

Website: spinnakertower.co.uk

Mary Rose

Henry VIII’s warship, lost in 1545 and recovered in 1982, is now housed in a dedicated museum. Set within the Historic Dockyard but with a separate entrance ticket, the amazingly preserved remains have been cleverly brought to life. With so many artefacts on display, visitors of all ages can get a real taste for life on board this amazing ship.

Website: maryrose.org

Shopping at Gunwharf Quays

Packed with designer and high street names at reduced prices, as well as a wide range of bars and restaurants, and set beside the water’s edge, Gunwharf Quays is the perfect spot for a few hours’ (or even a day’s!) shopping.

Website: gunwharf-quays.com

Still to be discovered

For those who have visited Portsmouth before, here’s a selection of attractions that they may not yet have discovered:

D Day Museum

The D Day Museum charts the liberation of Europe during the Second World War, using the words and possessions of those who were involved.

Website: theddaystory.com

Blue Reef Aquarium

Located just a short walk from the historic dockyard, Portsmouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium is home to more than 40 different displays, from sharks to jellyfish.

Website: bluereefaquarium.co.uk

Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum

Charles Dickens – novelist, journalist and social commentator – was born in Portsmouth and spent his early life in the city. A visit to the Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum gives a glance back in time with displays which bring this Regency home to life.

Website: charlesdickensbirthplace.co.uk

Just a stone's throw away

The following is just a selection of some of the destinations that can be easily reached from Portsmouth. For many of them using a Britrail Pass is a simple and cost effective way to get around.

The New Forest

Just 30 mins by car or approx. 1 hour by train, from Portsmouth the New Forest is made up of 556km2 of ancient woodland and open moors making it perfect for bike riding, walking and horse riding. With over 3000 ponies, 3000 cattle and 2500 deer wandering freely, this National Park gives visitors a chance to get up close to its residents!

Website: thenewforest.co.uk

Isle of Wight

With regular daily crossings and journey times starting from just 22 minutes, by ferry, or 10 minutes by Hovercraft (the last commercially operating Hovercraft in the world!) it’s easy to pop across to the Isle of Wight from Portsmouth, for either a day trip, or a longer stay. Once on the island, there are beaches to explore, fossils to find and beautiful cliff top walks.

Book on the VisitBritain Shop

Website: visitisleofwight.co.uk

The Royal Armouries

Just outside Portsmouth, in Fareham, the Royal Armouries is a fully restored Victorian Fort. Visitors can explore 19 acres of ramparts, outer fortifications, secret underground tunnels, and ammunition bunkers as part of their visit.

Website: royalarmouries.org

Goodwood

Set in the Sussex countryside, just 35 minutes’ from Portsmouth, Goodwood House has been home to the Dukes of Richmond for centuries. Open from March to October for tours and luxury afternoon tea, Goodwood is also renowned for its Festival of Speed, Glorious Goodwood and Goodwood Revival.

Website: goodwood.com