Portsmouth Activities & Things To Do
Portsmouth, or Pompey as locals know it is one of Britain’s oldest and main maritime ports. Featuring the world’s oldest dry-dock still in use, Portsmouth is also home to some famous ships. The Mary Rose and Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory being particular highlights. Like most of Britain’s major ports, Portsmouth suffered heavily through bombing raids during the Second World War and the postwar rebuilding was not flattering. However, recent regeneration has added some long overdue sparkle back into the city. Portsmouth has also quite a remarkable literary history. Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle were both born in Portsmouth. H.G. Wells and Rudyard Kipling were residents of the city.
Getting to Portsmouth
Portsmouth is roughly 60 miles from London Heathrow and Gatwick and only Southampton International Airport is only 22 miles away. By train Portsmouth is around 1 hour 30 minutes from London and also has direct routes to Bristol, Southampton, Cardiff, Exeter, Reading and Brighton. By road, London is 90 minutes up the A3. The M27 connects Portsmouth to both Southampton and the M3 Bus services run regularly to many major UK cities. By sea, Portsmouth ferries sail to the Isle of Wight, the Channel Islands, Caen, Cherbourg-Octeville, St Malo and Le Havre in France and Santander and Cantabria in Spain.
What’s on and when to go?
Portsmouth has a full calendar of events throughout the year but the biggest shows are in the summer months. Victorious festival is a truly family friendly event. Set over a weekend in August, it includes a Real Ale festival, kids arena with Ben & Holly and main music stage with this year’s headliner Dizzee Rascal, Razorlight, Seasick Steve, Tom Odell and Ocean Colour Scene. The Southsea Folk, Roots & Blues Festival is in August and runs at the same time as the International Kite festival. The Kite festival is a huge fixture that attracts hundreds of top kite fliers from around the world and thousands of spectators.
Portsmouth Watersports Centre can provide canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, windsurfing, power boating and team building days. Zorb football is a great fun group activity; imagine playing football while encased in a huge bubble wrap ball. Several packages are available to suit all groups. Historic Dockyard offers Harbour tours giving you a chance to see modern Royal Navy frigates, destroyers and helicopter carriers up close. The Historic Dockyard is also home to HMS Victory. If after all that you still need a bigger maritime fix then you are in luck as Portsmouth is also the home to The Royal Navy Museum, The Royal Navy Submarine museum and the Mary Rose Museum.
The newly redeveloped Gunwharf Quays has a huge number of restaurants and bars. Familiar names such as Loch Fyne, Brasserie Blanc and Carluccio’s are to name but a few that sit alongside a multiplex cinema, ten-pin bowling and an abundance of clothing and homeware shops. For those that prefer something different to chain restaurants then the very popular Restaurant 27 is well worth a visit.
Another popular independent restaurant Soprano’s was recently named in The Independents ‘Top 50 Cheap Eats” Wedgewood rooms are one of Portsmouth’s best live music and comedy venues. For night owls Tiger Tiger runs many different nights and even has a Jongleurs comedy night. Liquid & Envy nightclub offers a proper clubbing experience and has a popular Indie night on Saturdays.