7 Reasons Why Portsmouth Should be on Your Travel List
Bursting with world-class attractions, a rich maritime and historical heritage, as well as some of the most fantastic things to do in the south of England, there are several reasons why Portsmouth should be on your travel list!
What’s more, it is the UK’s only island city. You can discover beautiful coastlines, encounter jaw-dropping warships in the historic harbour and sample an eclectic mix of foodie delights in this iconic hotspot.
From stepping aboard Nelson’s HMS Victory to racing against the clock in one of Hampshire’s top-rated Escape Rooms, we’ve rounded up 7 reasons why your next stop should be the ‘Great Waterfront City!’
Follow in the steps of Henry VIII
Portsmouth is well known for its long and colourful naval history. Walk along the stretch of the Historic Dockyard, and you will encounter some of the ships that helped forge Britain into more than just an island.
First stop, come face to face with Henry VIII’s favourite ship, the Mary Rose. Built in 1509, this impressive feat of naval engineering had four towering decks, 91 formidable cannons and was made even bigger in 1536 when it was enlarged to 700 tonnes. But, this iconic ship, along with 500 of her crew, sank to the Solent’s depths during a sea battle against a French armada.
Famously lifted from the bottom of the Solent in 1982, large sections of her hull and over 26,000 rare artefacts were recovered. Now on display at the Mary Rose Museum, you can discover the unspoken stories of her crew as you walk through the interactive exhibits.
Then visit Lord Nelson’s HMS Victory and find out more about his final battle, his demise and the life and times of his remarkable crew.
If that’s not enough, step aboard the world’s first iron-hulled warship, HMS Warrior. The fascinating floating museum offers a memorable experience, where you can view the restored crew’s mess area, the Captain’s quarters and even book a fun dining experience!
Enjoy spectacular harbour views
You can’t visit Portsmouth without enjoying the spectacular scenery and harbour views from the top of the iconic Emirates Spinnaker Tower. With clear views of the Isle of Wight, the Solent and a unique view of the city, there’s nothing else quite like it!
Offering a range of activities throughout the year, including breakfast with Santa, abseiling, and one of the most unique dining experiences the city has to offer in the Café in the Clouds, a trip up to the top of Spinnaker Tower is well worth the effort.
You can make your escape!
If you haven’t experienced the fun, interactive and immersive world of an Escape Room yet, then you are in for a real treat! Think Big Brother meets Crystal Maze, and you’re not far off the mark.
With sixty minutes on the clock, you and your team can race against the clock to take down illicit gambling rings, rescue duchesses or unmask dark government secrets. The catch? You need to crack codes, solve puzzles, uncover the mysteries by working together with your team. Your goal? To escape before time runs out!
Whether you fancy yourself a detective, like to play the hero or want to experience a unique and memorable bonding experience with your loved ones, make sure you check out Portsmouth’s premier escape room on your travels.
There’s nothing quite like wandering through the streets of this buzzing, electric and atmospheric city. You can take a walk down Albert Street, where you’ll discover up and coming live music, fall down an antique and vintage laden rabbit hole, all before resurfacing for a tipple at one of the streets craft beer taverns!
Next stop, hop on one of the swan pedalo boats on the romantic Canoe Lake in the heart of the city. Surrounded by luscious flora and fauna, you’ll get your fill of the town in one of the most unique ways imaginable!
Adjacent to the lake, you can see the remaining walls of the victorian era Lumps Fort set in the beautiful Southsea Rose Garden. With a fun children’s play area, zip wire, sandpit and the nearby Model Village, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this idyllic spot.
The birthplace of Charles Dickens
Fans of Charles Dickens will delight in seeing the great novelist’s birthplace on Old Commercial Road. The Charles Dickens’ Birthplace Museum is home to some of the author’s original manuscripts, several copies of his rare edition novels, many fine examples of Regency furniture, and his deathbed brought from his home at Gad’s Hill Place in Kent.
The museum offers guided walks and tours around the author’s favourite haunts for a more in-depth look into Dickens’ life in Portsmouth. It’s also worth checking out the museum’s events itinerary for the year for exclusive Dickens-themes events and readings of his work.
A celebration of fallen heroes
One of Portsmouth’s worst kept secrets is the excellent D-Day Story museum. Home to numerous fascinating and insightful displays relating to the monumental allied invasion of the Normandy coastline in 1944, you’ll leave blown away by the stories you experience within the exhibit.
A definite highlight has to be the world’s longest tapestry (measuring 27 feet), the Overlord Embroidery. Carefully crafted and encapsulating the pivotal moments that changed history forever during WWII, the embroidery is a fantastic feat.
As you walk through the immersive displays, you’ll get a glimpse into what life was like for the soldiers storming the French shores. With authentic examples of weaponry, vehicles, and more used during the invasion, this is a unique opportunity to hear the stories of the men and women who lived through that time.
Discover Norman secrets
Portsmouth Cathedral has stood for the best part of 1,000 years. Formally known as Cathedral Church of St. Thomas of Canterbury, the foundation stone was laid in 1185, and the chancel and transepts date from the Norman times.
Within the cathedral walls, you will discover mementoes from the Mary Rose and Nelson’s HMS Victory that are well worth a look.
Make sure you check out the Royal Garrison Church, also known as Domus Dei. Built in 1212, the haven has stood as a hospice, almshouse and ammunition store after the reformation.
Portsmouth should be your next UK city destination with its rich, vibrant history and unbeatable world-class attractions on offer! What will you discover first?