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Emirates Spinnaker Tower and Gunwharf Quays

Portsmouth contrasts exciting contemporary attractions against a rich maritime history. On the approach to dock, the Emirates Spinnaker Tower represents the pinnacle of the bustling shops and restaurants of Gunwharf Quays.

Where can I drive to?

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.

There's so much to see and do in Portsmouth, why not stay overnight before or after you sail - with a wide range of hotels, apartments and B&Bs to suit all budgets there are plenty of choices for visitors.

Portsmouth has so many places of interest to offer, why not spend some time in the city before your sailing. 

We've listed some of our wonderful attractions below.

Did you know?

Portsmouth is the UK's only island city, located on Portsea Island jutting out into the Solent. Its nickname is Pompey.

It is a naval city through and through. Richard the Lionheart summoned a fleet here in 1194 and in 1787 11 ships set sail to establish the first European colony in Australia. Nelson left for the last time in 1805 for the Battle of Trafalgar. Portsmouth is the home of the Royal Navy and starting point for many of their ships through the ages.

The closing chapters of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park are set in Portsmouth, hometown of its heroine Fanny Price. Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was from Portsmouth. Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth in 1812, his childhood home is within half a mile of the Port.

Spice Island, part of Old Portsmouth, was once infamous for sailors’ pubs and houses of ill-repute because when the city gates were closed it was literally outside of the law. It now offers family pubs, sea views and the Camber Dock fish market.

Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson was a British Flag officer in the Royal Navy and noted for his inspirational leadership. His love of the sea was gained from his adventures around the rivers of his home county of Norfolk and his uncle, who he accompnaied on an Atlantic expedition at the age of 12. After many victories, losing an eye in Corsica and his right arm in Tenerife he was fatally wonded at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, at the moment of victory.

Best of Portsmouth

  • Portsmouth Historic Dockyard: www.historicdockyard.co.uk  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: www.maryrose.org opened 31 May 2013. The Mary Rose is a Tudor ship, built in 1510. In service for 34 years. Sank in 1545. Discovered in 1971. Raised in 1982 and now in the final stages of conservation, she takes her place in a stunning and unique museum.
  • Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum: www.charlesdickensbirthplace.co.uk The brilliant writer was born in 1812 in this modest house while his father worked in Portsmouth for the Navy Pay Office. The Regency household objects and decorations show how the family would have lived, and Dickens memorabilia includes the couch on which he died at his house in Kent, his snuffbox, inkwell and paper knife.
  • Emirates Spinnaker Tower: www.spinnakertower.co.uk 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. Views stretch up to 23 miles and Europe’s largest glass floor enables intrepid visitors of all ages to virtually ‘walk on air’! 
  • Gunwharf Quays: www.gunwharf-quays.com Britain’s first world-class shopping and leisure waterfront, with 100 designer outlets, 30 cosmopolitan bars and restaurants, a health & fitness centre, Vue cinema and Bowlplex bowling. Laugh at Highlights comedy club, call in at the Aspex contemporary art gallery or dance the night away at Tiger Tiger. A vibrant atmosphere in an unforgettable setting.
  •  D-Day Museum: www.ddaymuseum.co.uk The story of Operation Overlord told through the Overlord Embroidery depicting the efforts and sacrifices of the Allies in defeating Nazi Germany in 34 scenes. Visitors can also experience sights and sounds of Britain at war and a dawn-to-dusk reconstruction of the Allied landings by sea and air on 6 June 1944 – World War II's 'longest day'.
  • Blue Reef Aquarium: www.bluereefaquarium.co.uk/portsmouth 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.

For more information on Portsmouth visit www.visitportsmouth.co.uk and also www.welcometoportsmouth.co.uk