Things to do in Portsmouth

If you’re visiting West Sussex on holiday, 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 centres, with restaurant-lined waterfronts. Here’s the low down.

Gunwharf Quays

Gunwharf Quays is the South’s leading designer shopping outlet, set right on the beautiful Solent waterfront in Portsmouth. With around 90 stores offering huge savings, over 30 restaurants, bars and cafes, and a cinema, bowling alley and casino, Gunwharf is the ultimate shopping and leisure destination. With huge names, including Nike, Fat face, The White Company, Reiss, Ted Baker and Sunglass Hut, you’ll be spoilt for choice if a spot of shopping is on you holiday ‘to do’ list.

Spinnaker Tower

Emirate’s Spinnaker Tower, the city’s most prominent landmark, sits proudly overlooking Portsmouth harbour and is a must-do if you’re on holiday in the area. Its unique sail-like shape is visible up to 23 miles away and the Spinnaker’s viewing deck offers fantastic sights of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, the city centre and 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 stone! Why not combine your trip in the sky with high tea at its Clouds café, or a glass of bubbly to celebrate something special?

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, and its museum is sure to be enjoyed by the whole family. Explore the surviving section of the ship and experience the sights, sounds and smells of how life was on board. Thousands of Tudor artefacts, such as guns and surgeon’s tools, are on display offering a journey back in time to the 1500s.

Portsmouth Historic Dockland

Explore naval history and embark on a journey through time at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Enjoy multiple attractions and step on board 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…

  • Not keen to venture all the way into Portsmouth city centre on your holiday? Head to Port Solent for waterside shopping and dining. Sit and relax in one of its many bars and restaurants, while watching boats sail in and out of this busy, but relaxed port.
  • 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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