On one hand, Portsmouth is a city steeped in maritime history. On the other, it’s a bustling 21st century hub, with an abundance of shops, bars and restaurants, making it the perfect destination for a summer break with the family. Our round-up of the best things to do in Portsmouth will guarantee a memorable holiday from start to finish.
Explore Portsmouth’s maritime past
There’s nowhere better than Portsmouth to discover England’s fascinating maritime history. Begin by heading to the Mary Rose Museum, showcasing the lead vessel of Henry VIII’s impressive fleet, which he famously watched sink before his eyes from Southsea Castle, and was carefully recovered in 1982.
Just a short walk away, you’ll find the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, where you can visit ancient vessels including HMS Warrior, flagship of the famous Battle of Trafalgar, and HMS Victory, the largest, fastest and most powerful ship of her day. An 11-attraction ticket offers the best value for money, with family tickets also available.
Location: Both sites are located just off Main Road, PO1 3PY
Take in stunning views from the city’s historic waterfront
Enjoy a day out at Stansted Park
Just a 20-minute drive from our Portsmouth hotel lies Stansted House, a beautiful Edwardian country house set in an 1,800-acre estate within the South Downs National Park. Whilst the house itself is enough to warrant a visit, the stunning grounds also host the Chapel of St. Paul, the Stansted Maze, the Pavilion Tearoom and the Stansted Park Garden Centre. It’s the perfect place for adults to relax and kids to get tired!
Location: Stansted Park, Rowlands Castle, PO9 6DX
Experience history at Southsea Castle and the D-Day Story
Southsea Castle was once a fort constructed by Henry VIII to protect the country from invaders. Having had several uses throughout its recent history, it has since been restored to its 19th century appearance, and is open to visitors from March to October. Enjoy views from the Keep and relax at the Courtyard Café. On Saturdays and Sundays, you can also visit the castle’s very own microbrewery!
A stone’s throw from the castle, you’ll find the D-Day Story, the UK’s only museum dedicated to the Allied Invasion in 1944. Following a £5m transformation funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the museum tells the story of individuals on the shore in Portsmouth as well as those making their way across the English Channel to Normandy. With many previously unseen exhibits, the museum is a truly unique recollection of an extraordinary event in British history.
Location: Both sites are located just off Clarence Esplanade, PO5 3PA
Why not visit some of our friends in Portsmouth?
Experience the south coast’s most spectacular view. Emirates Spinnaker Tower stands at 170 metres tall, offering breath-taking 23-mile views over Portsmouth Harbour, the city, the Solent, the South Downs and the Isle of Wight. The iconic landmark boasts a high speed lift and three sky-high viewing decks. Venture across the thrilling glass ‘Sky Walk’ at 100 metres above sea level; discover stories behind the surrounding sites with informative touch screen displays; relax in The Clouds with a coffee, a glass of bubbly or a decadent High Tea; and breath in the view from the open air ‘Sky Garden’.
Location: Gunwharf Quays, PO1 3TT
New Theatre Royal
New Theatre Royal Portsmouth is a classic 160-year-old theatre and cultural champion, based in the heart of the UK’s only island city. Experience one of the country’s finest theatres and take in a performance, a talk, a workshop or a show while you’re in Portsmouth. You’ll find an eclectic and entertaining experience at New Theatre Royal, catering to everyone from families, to groups, to couples. There will be something for everyone to enjoy.
Location: 20-24 Guildhall Walk, PO1 2DD
Gunwharf Quays is the UK’s only waterfront shopping outlet. Located on Portsmouth’s historic harbour, the Centre has over 90 famous brands, at up to 60% off the original selling price as well as a choice of over 30 restaurants, bars and cafes. Gunwharf Quays provides the ideal getaway to treat yourself or your family and friends to something special for less whilst making a day of it on the waterfront! Live big, spend less.
Location: Gunwharf Quays, PO1 3TZ
Portsmouth is a vibrant waterfront city, packed with things to do and see – these are just some of our favourites! Our modern Portsmouth hotel, opened in November 2017, has everything you need for your stay including a gym, Starbucks, restaurant and bar – enjoy your trip!