Things to do in Portsmouth

If you’re visiting West Sussex on holiday, there are plenty of things to do in Portsmouth. Here are just four of them, plus some of our own suggestions. The naval base city of Portsmouth has plenty to offer in terms of shopping, restaurants, and history. A very different vibe from the quaint cathedral city of Chichester, Portsmouth is home to historic docklands, ferry ports, and large shopping centers, with restaurant-lined waterfronts. Here’s the low-down.

Gunwharf Quays

Gunwharf Quays is the South of England’s leading designer shopping outlet, set right on the beautiful Solent waterfront in Portsmouth. With around 90 stores each offering huge savings, as well as over 30 restaurants, bars and cafes, plus entertainment complex with a cinema, bowling alley and casino too; Gunwharf Quays is the ultimate shopping and leisure destination for visitors to the South Coast region. With huge retail brand names, including Nike, Fatface, The White Company, Reiss, Ted Baker, and Sunglass Hut, to name a few, you will be spoilt for choice if a spot of shopping and retail therapy is on your south coast holiday ‘to-do’ list.

Spinnaker Tower

Emirate’s Spinnaker Tower, which is the city’s most prominent landmark, sits proudly overlooking the harbour and is a must-do if you’re on holiday in the area. It has a unique sail-like shape, and is visible from up to 23 miles away. The Spinnaker’s viewing deck offers fantastic panoramic views of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, the city centre, and the surrounding area. For a whole new perspective of the harbour, head to the 1,100m viewing deck and brave The Sky Walk – three layers of glass just 60mm in depth, but strong enough to hold 288 stones! Why not combine your trip up into the sky with a delicious high tea at the Spinnaker Tower Clouds Café or a glass of bubbly to celebrate a special occasion?

The Mary Rose Museum

Portsmouth is home to The Mary Rose, a carrack-type warship of the English Tudor navy, raised to the surface in 1982 following its discovery in 1971. It was one of the world’s most complex and expensive maritime salvage projects at the time, and The Mary Rose museum is sure to be enjoyed by the whole family, even if they are not massive history buffs. Explore the surviving section of the ship and experience the sights, sounds, and even the smells of what life was like for sailors onboard the vessel. Thousands of Tudor artefacts, such as guns and surgeon’s tools, are on display in the Museum’s exhibits, offering an audiovisual and olfactory journey back in time to the 1500s.

Portsmouth Historic Dockland

Explore the naval history and embark on a journey through time at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Enjoy multiple attractions and step onboard world-famous ships, such as HMS Warrior, HMS Victory, and HMS M.33, all under one ticket. With entertaining actors, knowledgeable guides, and enthusiastic volunteers, it’s a day out in Portsmouth you won’t forget.

Fresh air suggests…

Here are some additional suggestions from us:
  • Not keen on venturing into the city centre on your holiday? Head to Port Solent instead for waterside shopping and dining. Sit and relax in one of Port Solent’s many bars and restaurants, while watching boats sail in and out of this busy but relaxed port.
  • If you are a fan of English Literature, writers and writing, you could take a tour of Dickensian Portsmouth. Learn all about Charles Dickens, one of Portsmouth’s most famous inhabitants, on a guided walk around places that influenced his work. Head to the Visit Portsmouth website for bookings and a full list of other guided walks available.

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