Travel

A Guide to Visiting Portsmouth

Portsmouth, the Great Waterfront City, is full of attractions, activities and summer events. As the only island city in Great Britain, there is a lot to discover and learn about history.

Visiting museums is one of the top things to do in Portsmouth, and there are some great FREE attractions and endless shopping too.

If you are planning on visiting Portsmouth in the next few months, use this Portsmouth guide to start planning.

Things to do in Portsmouth, UK

Free activities in Portsmouth

There are lots of great free places to visit in Portsmouth. Here we start.

Southsea Common

Southsea Common is a great place for a family picnic, fly kite, or play football. It was recently voted the best picnic spot in the South East region at Warburtons Britain’s Best Picnic Site Awards.

Aspex

Portsmouth’s premier contemporary art gallery invites you to explore the innovative contemporary and visual art on display. With exhibitions, workshops and events by international and local Portsmouth artists throughout the year.

Eastney Beam engine house

This pair of James Watt jet engines are in their original tall Victorian engine house from 1887 and will be in full swing. You can also enjoy a variety of pump motors, many of which are still running. Open the last full weekend of each month from 1pm to 5pm (except December).

Bike tour around Langstone Harbor

A must-see in Portsmouth is a visit to the harbor. This 15-mile drive takes you through the Wadden Sea, salt marshes, and reclaimed land as it snakes around the harbor. Pick up your route map at the visitor information center.

Relatives read: Best bike trails in the UK

Bike tour by the sea

This is a 7 km drive from Portsmouth Historic Dockyard along the coast to Eastney. This route is a great day trip. You can stop at one of the bars and restaurants along the way or one of the many attractions along the coast. Pick up your route map at the visitor information center.

Hilsea Lines

Eighty hectares of land surrounding the fortifications of the old Hilsea Lines monument, including forests, meadows and fresh brackish lakes. It is noteworthy that it contains the only wooded area on Portsea Island. The site is of particular interest to botanists and offers easy-to-use, self-guided hiking trails.

Millennium Trail

This Portsmouth walking path is identified by a chain motif on the promenade. Historically, it refers to the chains that were stretched across the port entrance during possible attacks. A printed leaflet is available for sale at the Visitor Information Centers, detailing the route and history of the Millennium Promenade.

Farlington Marshes Wildlife Trail

Flowery pasture swamps and a salt lagoon support a variety of wildlife, including internationally important populations of migratory wildfowl and waders such as the blacktail goddess. Enjoy the circular route, mostly on the shore, which is around 4 km long.

Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John

Discover the grandeur of this city center cathedral, built in five phases from 1882 onwards. The cathedral was badly damaged in World War II and then rebuilt.

St. Thomas Anglican Cathedral

For centuries, the cathedral has watched, listened and helped the people of Portsmouth through time. It has witnessed wars and peace, famous marriages that have been bombed and rebuilt. Anyone from all religious backgrounds can come and enjoy this beautiful cathedral.

Victoria Park

A green oasis hidden in the city center next to the town hall. It includes 15 hectares of grass, well-planted flower borders and trees. In the middle of the park is an area with an aviary with peacocks, parrots, and other exotic birds, as well as rabbits and guinea pigs that children can feed. Take some time to relax and take in the beautiful surroundings on this city getaway.

Canoe lake

A popular park dating back to 1886, filled with some of the mature evergreen oaks planted in 1910, as well as an impressive display of flower beds. The main attraction of Portsmouth is the man-made boat lake. There is a large and very popular children’s playground with equipment for all ages and a sand pit.

Adjacent to the lake are the remaining walls of the Lumps Fort, which is now a peaceful and restful setting for the Southsea Rose Gardens. The canoe lake is known as a swan nursery as it is one of the locations selected by Mute Swans in the Solent. Sometimes up to 60 young people can gather here to ensure comfort and safety in winter.

Portsmouth City Museum

Visit the exciting exhibition where you can explore the life and work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the world famous character Sherlock Holmes. Learn about life in Portsmouth and the seaside, both past and present, through their exhibits and reconstructions.

Natural History Museum, Cumberland House

Discover British wildlife and its many habitats. The museum tells the story of the city’s wild riverbanks, swamps, forests, and urban areas, and includes a freshwater aquarium. Between May and September, you can also take an exhilarating walk around the butterfly house and see how many species you can spot as they fly around your head.

Museums in Portsmouth

Portsmouth has an abundance of places to visit but is particularly known for its Museums.

When making a list of things to do in Portsmouth for your trip, there are a few museums to consider.

city ​​Museum

See the exciting exhibition where you can explore the life and work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the world-famous character Sherlock Holmes. Learn about life in Portsmouth and the seaside, both past and present, through their exhibits and reconstructions.

Historic Portsmouth Shipyard

The Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is home to the HMS Victory, HMS Warrior 1860, the Mary Rose Museum and the National Museum of the Royal Navy and offers a full day. Add action stations and harbor tours to these attractions that bring the Navy’s history up to date.

Book your tickets online before you get there to make sure you get on.

Royal Marines Museum

This stately museum is located in a former officers’ mess and celebrates the famous fighting spirit and history of the Royal Marines.

D-Day Museum

The D-Day Museum pays Portsmouth’s moving tribute to the efforts and sacrifices of the Allies in World War II. The centerpiece is the magnificent Overlord embroidery, 272-foot panels depicting rousing scenes from Operation Overlord.

Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum

The great author was born in 1812 in this small house, where Dickens parents settled after their marriage.

Natural History Museum, Cumberland House

Discover British wildlife and its many habitats. The museum tells the story of the city’s wild riverbanks, swamps, forests, and urban areas, and includes a freshwater aquarium. Exotic butterflies fly in summer in the butterfly house with a view of the museum garden.

Southsea Castle

At Southsea Castle, built by Henry VIII, he saw his favorite warship, the Mary Rose, capsize and sink in 1545.

Eastney Beam engine house

This pair of James Watt jet engines are in their original tall Victorian engine house from 1887 and will be in full swing. You can also enjoy a variety of pump motors, many of which are still running. Open the last full weekend of each month from 1pm to 5pm (except December).

Shopping in Portsmouth

Portsmouth is retail therapy paradise!

With three different shopping options in Portsmouth, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

South seas

Southsea has a variety of shops selling everything from curios to retro clothing. Palmerston Road home to two department stores and high street favorites Marmion Road has chocolatiers, designer jewelry, boutiques and inspirational furniture.

Albert Road considered one of the city’s hidden gems and Portsmouth’s answer to Brighton’s backstreets. Discover vintage delicacies, unusual clothing, antiques and collectibles. With a decidedly bohemian flair, the street is filled with quirky cafes and bars day and night.

City center

To find high street style, go to City center. Trade route and Cascades shopping center are home to some of the biggest brand names in the UK. From Thursday to Saturday you can also find a traditional street market that goes back centuries. If you need some time off checking your purchases, go nearby Victoria Park for a snack and a break.

Gunwharf Quays

You’ll find world-class designer outlets, stylish restaurants and chic waterfront bars by the water Gunwharf Quays. Stroll the pedestrian walkways and discover massive savings on designer labels and high street favorites. When your feet need a break, relax with a cocktail overlooking the harbor or take a trip out to take in the views Spinnaker Tower.



  • Travel dudes

    I am sure you have had similar experiences that I had while traveling. You are in a certain place and a fellow traveler or a local directs you to a little-known beach, bar or accommodation. Great travel tips from other travelers or locals always give our trips something special. That was the inspiration for Travel Dudes.

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