The only English city not primarily located on the mainland, Portsmouth is mostly situated on Portsea Island and is the most densely populated city in Great Britain.
But don’t let that put you off a visit, for as the many people who live here will tell you, it’s also one of the most fascinating and varied cities on the south coast.

A significant Royal Navy base, Portsmouth’s history has been shaped by its many inhabitants.

Founded in 1180 by Anglo-Norman merchant Jean de Gisors, it has since been the location for many notable events throughout time, significantly the sinking of Henry VIII’s beloved Mary Rose, which can now be seen resurrected in its own land-based museum within Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard.

It was also a pivotal embarkation port for the D-day landings, and the museum dedicated to The D-Day Story is well worth a visit on Clarence Esplanade.

It has been home to the royal yacht Britannia, and now boasts Lord Nelson’s Victory and the Royal Navy’s first ironclad warship, HMS Warrior within its collection of historic ships.


It may have been heavily bombed during World War II but parts of Portsmouth’s beautiful architecture can still be seen today, particularly around Old Portsmouth and
Spice Island. Head to Old Commercial Road, and you can discover the birthplace of Charles Dickens, now a museum dedicated to his life and works,
recreated to represent the house in 1812.

From then to now, Portsmouth is a city which is constantly improving, most recently
with the addition of Gunwharf Quays, a vibrant outlet retail experience with premium
brands, entertainment, and delicious dining options all with harbour views.


For all the fun at the fair, no trip to Portsmouth is complete without a jaunt along to neighbouring Southsea. With its kiss-me-quick Parade Pier keeping those seaside traditions alive, you can enjoy a spin on the cups and saucers and try your hand at the arcade to try to recapture a bit of childhood nostalgia. 

Further along the esplanade you’ll find the Blue Reef Aquarium and, in the summer,
Southsea Common is popular for its splash park and Kite Festival in July. 

If all that enjoying yourself works up an appetite, stylish The Briny serves up fresh
fish and seafood platters all with sea views on Clarence Esplanade. Otherwise head up to Albert Road for a plethora of quirky eateries and coffee stops, as well as independent shops and the historic Kings Theatre, which was designed by Frank Matcham, on the corner of Exmouth Road.