Great discoveries start here
When you visit Portsmouth, you’ll be impressed by the long beachfront, soaring landmark of the Spinnaker Tower and bustling shops and restaurants of the waterfront Gunwharf Quays district. Portsmouth is a city of contrasts and as well as boasting exciting contemporary attractions it is also steeped in history. Ferries entering and leaving the harbour glide past lovely Georgian houses and historic ships including Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory.
One thing Portsmouth is not short of is great world-class attractions. See more at Visit Portsmouth.
The city’s proud maritime heritage continues with the modern fighting craft of the naval dockyard. There are traditional piers, the wide green space of Southsea Common, sophisticated waterside restaurants or fish and chips on the beach, and the opportunity to take a quick ferry or hovercraft ride over to the Isle of Wight. Ferries to Portsmouth International Port sail from Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre and St Malo in France, Bilbao and Santander in Spain, and Jersey and Guernsey in the Channel Islands. They are operated by Brittany Ferries and Condor Ferries.
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
HMS Victory, the magnificent HMS Warrior (cutting-edge Victorian technology) and Henry VIII’s doomed flagship Mary Rose. Take a harbour tour to see current frigates and destroyers. Children love the interactive displays, simulators and climbing wall at Action Stations.
The Mary Rose Museum
The Mary Rose is a Tudor ship, built in 1510. In service for 34 years, she sank in 1545 and was discovered in 1971. Raised in 1982 and now in the final stages of conservation, she takes her place in a stunning and unique museum.
Home are more than 90 outlet shops all on the water’s edge, and each offering up to 60% off RRP. It’s not just about the shopping at Gunwharf Quays, with 30 cafes, bars and restaurants to enjoy, so you can take a pit stop to refuel for more bargain hunting, or relax after a day’s retail therapy. It’s also home to Aspex contemporary art gallery, Hollywood Bowl and a multiscreen Vue cinema.
Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum
The brilliant writer was born in 1812 in a modest house in Portsmouth. The Regency style of household objects and decorations has been recreated to show how the family would have lived, and there is a small collection of Dickens memorabilia, including the couch on which he died at his house in Kent, together with his snuffbox, inkwell and paper knife.
Soaring high above glittering Portsmouth harbour, this 21st century icon has already had two million visitors. At 170 metres tall, it provides breathtaking 350º vistas of the South coast, the Solent and the Isle of Wight after a fast lift ride to the top. Europe’s largest glass floor enables intrepid visitors of all ages to virtually ‘walk on air’!
The D-Day Story
The D-Day Story is the only museum in the UK dedicated to the Allied Invasion in June 1944. It tells the unique personal stories behind this epic event.There are also extensive displays featuring maps; uniforms and other memorabilia; several vehicles and even a real LCVP landing craft..
Blue Reef Aquarium
Enjoy close encounters with seahorses, tropical sharks, otters, a giant octopus and hundreds of incredible aquatic creatures. Blue Reef takes visitors on a journey through more than 40 habitats from the bustling Solent to exotic tropical seas and a beautiful coral reef. There are talks and feeding displays throughout the day.
Royal Armouries – Fort Nelson
Fort Nelson is a superbly restored Victorian fort overlooking Portsmouth Harbour. It is home to the Royal Armouries national artillery collection with over 350 historic guns on display.
Built in 1544, Southsea Castle was part of a series of fortifications constructed by King Henry VIII around England’s coasts to protect the country from invaders. The castle is open March to October and entry is free of charge. There is a fabulous cafe offer, a great Waterfront Gifts shop and a micro-brewery.
National Museum of the Royal Navy
Discover how the Royal Navy helped to shape the modern world through stories of courage and determination, enterprise and endeavour, heroism and sacrifice. Visitors can experience what it was like as a Gallipoli survivor on board HMS M.33 and capture traditional boat-building in action in Boathouse 4.
Where can I visit from Portsmouth?
The beautiful historic city of Chichester is 18 miles east and extraordinary Chichester Harbour stretches for miles with wonderful inlets, coastal villages and glorious views. It is heaven for sailors, walkers and bird watchers.
Stonehenge, 52 miles away, and London, 75 miles, are well within reach for superb day trips.
Half an hour north of Portsmouth the rolling hills of the South Downs open up, with fantastic opportunities for walking and country pubs aplenty in villages such as South Harting, Elsted, Buriton and in the Meon Valley.
Why not stay overnight before or after you sail – there are many Hotels to suit all budgets, a wide range of hotels are available for visitors. You may wish to spend some time in Portsmouth before your sailing, taking advantage of all the city has to offer.