15 Best Things to Do in Portsmouth, England

15 Best Things to Do in Portsmouth, England

By will

Are you ready to explore the best of Portsmouth, England?

From its traditional seaside attractions to its modern art galleries and world-renowned maritime history, Portsmouth has something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for a day trip or a weekend-long adventure, this charming city on the south coast of England will make your heart sing with possibilities.

Here are 15 of the best things to do in Portsmouth that will help make your trip unforgettable.

1. Spinnaker Tower

Spinnaker Tower
Photo by Ian Capper

Perched atop Portsmouth Harbour, the iconic Spinnaker Tower is a must-see destination when visiting this historic city.

Standing at 170 meters tall, it’s a thrilling way to get an unparalleled view of the harbor and England’s Solent coastline.

The tower offers three viewing decks, each providing stunning views of boats in the bay and up to 23 miles of stunning scenery on a clear day.

The glass floors also provide a truly unique perspective for visitors who want to feel like they are floating above the cityscape below.

Visitors can also enjoy interactive displays and audio tours as they ascend the tower.

With its distinctive sail shape and bright white color, it’s no surprise that this landmark has become an instantly recognizable symbol of the city.

2. Pie & Vinyl

Pie & Vinyl
Photo by Tripadvisor

Next on the list of Portsmouth’s must-dos is Pie & Vinyl.

This popular music store and cafe combines two of life’s greatest pleasures: tasty food and great music!

With its cozy atmosphere and friendly staff, it’s the perfect spot to stop off for a bite while exploring the city.

The menu offers an array of pies from classic steak and ale to vegan options.

All of their pies are handmade with locally sourced ingredients ensuring that you get a high-quality meal that supports local business.

For those looking for something sweet, there is also a selection of cakes and other desserts available.

Alongside their delicious food, Pie & Vinyl stocks an impressive variety of vinyl records from both well-known artists and lesser-known independent ones.

It’s the kind of place where you can find yourself browsing through albums for hours, discovering music from all eras and genres.

No matter what type of sound you’re into, Pie & Vinyl has something for everyone – making it an essential pit stop on your tour around Portsmouth.

3. Albert Road

Albert Road
Photo by Christopher Hall

Albert Road is a must-visit destination in Portsmouth.

It’s a lively street where you’ll find an abundance of independent shops, cafes, and restaurants, as well as vibrant nightlife.

Whether you’re looking for a place to relax with friends or enjoy some local delicacies, Albert Road is the perfect spot.

During the day, browse through boutique stores selling bespoke items such as jewelry and vintage clothing.

You can also discover unique gifts from local artisans, including handmade pottery and furniture.

For those with a sweet tooth, there are several cake shops to choose from.

And if you want to sample some traditional English pub grub, there are plenty of pubs along Albert Road that serve up delicious meals.

At night, the atmosphere on Albert Road is electric.

The streets come alive with music pouring out of bars and clubs until the early hours of the morning.

There’s something for everyone; whether it’s live music, karaoke, or just a relaxing drink with friends.

So make sure you take time to explore this vibrant part of Portsmouth – you won’t be disappointed!

4. Mary Rose Museum

Leaving Albert Road and heading toward the Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth Harbour provides a stunning backdrop.

This museum is dedicated to the famous Tudor warship that was raised from the seabed in 1982 after being sunk for over 400 years.

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It’s an incredible sight, with many of the original artifacts still on display.

Visitors get to explore inside and outside the ship, learning about its history along the way.

The interactive displays allow visitors to explore life aboard a warship during Tudor times, as well as gain insights into how the ship operated and fought in battle.

The museum also has a large collection of historical items related to naval warfare and maritime history, including armaments and navigational tools used by sailors centuries ago.

The Mary Rose Museum offers an immersive experience like no other, providing visitors with an appreciation of Britain’s maritime past while instilling a sense of awe at how this ancient warship still survives today.

With its interactive displays and fascinating artifacts, it’s certainly one of the best attractions in Portsmouth.

Whether you’re a local or just visiting for the day, it’s definitely worth stopping by for some timeless naval education – you won’t regret it!

5. Historic Dockyard

Portsmouth is home to a range of fascinating historical locations, and the Historic Dockyard is one of its most captivating.

It’s the perfect spot to explore Britain’s naval past, with plenty of interactive exhibits that bring history to life.

Step aboard replica ships and warships, visit a submarine, and explore the Mary Rose Museum – all within minutes of each other.

The best part?

There are no time limits to your visit, allowing you to soak up the atmosphere at your own pace.

Discover more than 800 years of maritime history as you meander through this unique attraction.

From historic ships and boats to sail-making workshops and shipbuilding tools, there’s something for everyone here.

Stroll around the museum harbor or take a guided tour that brings stories of battles and bravery alive like never before.

A visit here will leave you feeling inspired by Portsmouth’s proud naval heritage – an unforgettable experience that will stay with you long after your trip has ended.

6. Hms Victory

One of the must-see attractions while visiting Portsmouth is HMS Victory, an iconic warship that has been a part of British history since 1765.

Often referred to as Admiral Nelson’s flagship, it played a key role in his victory against the French at Trafalgar and currently serves as a museum.

The ship has been carefully restored to its original glory and visitors can experience what life was like aboard the famous vessel through interactive displays and hands-on activities.

There are also costumed reenactments that provide a unique insight into the ship’s history.

Guided tours take you around the decks, providing an opportunity to learn more about its past battles.

One of the highlights is being able to step onto the quarterdeck where Admiral Nelson received his fatal wound during the Battle of Trafalgar and view artifacts from this period.

It’s a remarkable sight that brings one of Britain’s most significant naval victories to life.

Whether you’re interested in naval history or simply want to explore some of England’s greatest maritime heritage, HMS Victory is definitely worth a visit.

7. Gunwharf Quays

Next on the agenda is Gunwharf Quays, a modern-day shopping and entertainment paradise.

Located in the heart of Portsmouth Harbour, this attraction offers visitors an array of attractions and activities that will keep them busy all day.

The first stop should be the Gunwharf Quays Shopping Centre.

With over 90 stores, including designer labels like Armani and Hugo Boss, shoppers can indulge their every whim while treating themselves to some retail therapy.

There’s even an Apple store where tech-savvy shoppers can pick up the latest gadgets.

After a bit of shopping, take in some of the area’s cultural attractions, such as The Mary Rose Museum or The National Museum of the Royal Navy.

And when it’s time for a break, there are plenty of restaurants, cafes, and bars to enjoy a bite to eat or a refreshing drink.

For those looking for more action-packed fun, there is also a bowling alley and cinema complex at Gunwharf Quays.

So whether you’re looking for luxury brands or just a great day out with friends, you’ll find it all at Gunwharf Quays – guaranteed to make your trip to Portsmouth an unforgettable experience!

8. Fort Nelson

Located in Portsmouth, England, Fort Nelson is a 19th-century coastal fortification that has been transformed into a fascinating museum.

The fantastic history and aura of this location make it an absolute must-see for all visitors to the area.

As soon as you arrive, you’ll be transported back in time to the 18th century with its impressive ramparts, gun batteries, and moats.

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Explore the incredible network of underground tunnels and chambers – all filled with fascinating artifacts from the past – or take a tour of the Victorian barracks.

The museum also showcases some of the most interesting weapons from Britain’s military history, from cannons to modern missiles.

There are plenty of interactive displays too, providing a great educational experience for visitors of all ages.

And if that’s not enough, there’s even a chance to fire off a replica cannon yourself!

With so much to see and do at Fort Nelson, it’s clear why this historic landmark is one of Portsmouth’s top attractions.

9. Portsmouth F.C Game At Fratton Park

For a truly memorable experience, why not take in a Portsmouth Football Club game at Fratton Park Stadium?

The atmosphere is electric, as the fans cheer their beloved team on to victory.

As well as being a great way to get close to the action and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of a premier league match, the stadium itself is worth exploring.

It’s one of the oldest in England, with its distinctive blue and white seats – it’s easy to see why it’s become an icon of Portsmouth.

The club has been around since 1898, so there’s plenty of history here.

Plus, they’re known for their passionate fan base who create an amazing atmosphere that you won’t find anywhere else.

Whether you’re a die-hard football fan or just looking for something different to do on your trip to Portsmouth, taking in a game at Fratton Park should definitely be on your list.

You’ll be sure to leave with some unforgettable memories!

10. Clarence Pier

Leaving Fratton Park with a smile, you’ll want to explore more of what Portsmouth has to offer.

Clarence Pier is one of the most popular attractions in the city and is an absolute must-see; it’s the perfect place to spend your afternoon.

This iconic pier was originally built as a landing stage for boats transporting passengers to and from the Isle of Wight.

Nowadays, it’s a thriving amusement park full of fun activities for everyone, from thrilling rides and arcades to delicious eateries and souvenir shops.

You could easily spend a whole day here exploring all there is to do.

Whether you’re looking for some family-friendly fun or an adrenaline rush, Clarence Pier has something for everyone.

There are rides ranging from milder ones like the carousel or Ferris wheel to thrilling roller coasters that will get your blood pumping.

You can also test your skills in the many arcades or take part in mini-golf tournaments with friends.

After making an appetite, grab dinner at one of the many restaurants or snack bars before heading out on the pier to watch the sunset over Portsmouth Harbour.

It’s an experience you won’t soon forget!

11. University Of Portsmouth

The University of Portsmouth is a must-visit for those who want to explore the vibrant culture and history of this city.

Located in the heart of Portsmouth, it’s one of the oldest universities in the south of England and offers a wealth of activities and attractions.

From its magnificent architecture to its renowned maritime museum, there are plenty of things to do here.

The university is home to a stunning neo-Gothic building that houses an incredible library and fascinating galleries showcasing art from around the world.

There are also plenty of opportunities to explore the university’s extensive collections, including works by famous British artists such as Turner and Constable.

Visitors can also take advantage of the university’s many educational resources, including lectures, seminars, and workshops.

With plenty to see and do on campus, visitors can easily spend an entire day at the University of Portsmouth making memories that will last a lifetime.

12. Portsmouth Guildhall

Portsmouth Guildhall is an impressive feat of Victorian architecture that sits proudly in the heart of Portsmouth.

With a striking clock tower and a grand facade, this building is sure to take your breath away.

Inside, the grandeur continues with ornate ceilings and walls adorned with murals depicting the history of Portsmouth.

The Guildhall is more than just a tourist attraction though; it’s also an important civic center for the local community.

It’s home to the Council Chamber, where all major decisions are made, as well as several meeting rooms and other spaces available to hire for events.

The best way to experience this treasure is to attend one of its many concerts or shows.

Throughout the year, you can enjoy everything from classical music performances to stand-up comedy nights and even circus acts in its atmospheric auditorium.

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There’s something for everyone at Portsmouth Guildhall – it’s a great way to escape reality and have fun while exploring this historic building.

13. Sally Port

Sally Port is a must-see destination in Portsmouth, England.

Located on the docks, it’s an old-fashioned pub that offers a unique blend of traditional and modern vibes.

With its exposed brick walls, contemporary furnishings, and nautical-inspired decorations, Sally Port creates an inviting atmosphere for visitors to explore.

Guests can enjoy craft beers and ales from local breweries as well as wines from international vineyards, all accompanied by classic British pub grub such as fish and chips or bangers and mash.

There’s also live music every night from local bands playing everything from rock & roll to jazz and blues.

And if you’re looking for something more relaxed and quiet, there’s a cozy lounge area with comfortable sofas for lounging about and catching up with friends over a few pints.

Whether you’re after some fun or want to relax in style, Sally Port is the perfect spot for your Portsmouth trip.

14. Charles Dickens Birthplace

Leaving the Sally Port behind, why not turn your attention to a truly unique site–the birthplace of one of England’s most beloved authors, Charles Dickens.

Located in Portsmouth, this museum marks the place where the literary giant was born in 1812.

The museum offers a fascinating look into the life and times of Charles Dickens.

Visitors can view recreations of his childhood home and an interactive exhibit that brings his stories to life.

The museum also features rare artifacts related to the author’s work, including manuscripts and letters written by him.

It is an ideal destination for anyone interested in learning more about this influential figure’s life and career.

In addition to its fascinating displays, the museum also hosts events throughout the year celebrating Dickens’ works.

From book readings to themed dinners and movie screenings, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

It’s a great way to explore Portsmouth’s rich cultural heritage while having fun at the same time!

15. D Day Story

Portsmouth has a rich history, and it’s no surprise that the city is home to some of the most important sites in relation to World War II.

The D-Day Story is an essential part of Portsmouth’s heritage, as this was where a large part of the Allied forces departed from for the Normandy landings.

The museum commemorates this momentous event with powerful personal stories, films, and interactive displays.

Visitors can explore the events leading up to D-Day and learn about how individuals contributed to the success of Operation Overlord.

It’s a poignant reminder of those who sacrificed their lives during this conflict and a place where visitors can gain insight into what life was like during wartime Britain.

The museum also houses a number of artifacts such as uniforms and equipment used by troops on D-Day, providing visitors with an authentic experience that brings history to life.

Whether you’re looking for an educational excursion or simply want to take a step back in time, the D-Day Story is sure to provide a fascinating glimpse into Portsmouth’s past.

Best Things to Do in Portsmouth – Final Thoughts

I’ve explored some of the best things to do in Portsmouth, England.

From the stunning views of the Spinnaker Tower to the history-rich Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth is truly a city with something for everyone.

The Charles Dickens Birthplace and Sally Port offer a unique insight into the life and works of this literary giant, while the Historic Dockyard and Portsmouth Guildhall provide a glimpse into its rich maritime heritage.

For those seeking an unforgettable experience, Pie & Vinyl is the perfect destination.

Whether you’re looking for some delicious grub or seeking out new music, this quirky spot has it all.

With its lively atmosphere and friendly staff, it’s easy to see why this hotspot is one of Portsmouth’s top attractions.

Overall, there’s no shortage of amazing things to do in Portsmouth – from delving into its past to checking out modern gems like Pie & Vinyl.

Whether you’re planning a weekend away or just want an enjoyable day trip, this vibrant city has plenty on offer for all ages and interests.

So why not pack your bags and explore everything that Portsmouth has to offer?


What are the best things to do in Portsmouth with kids?

The best things to do in Portsmouth with kids are visiting the Blue Reef Aquarium, Mary Rose Museum, and Marwell Zoo.

What to do during the day in Portsmouth?

The best things to do during the day in Portsmouth are visiting the Clarence Pier, Spinnaker Tower, and HMS Warrior.

Is Portsmouth worth visiting?

Yes, Portsmouth is worth visiting because it is one of England’s popular port towns with many interesting attractions and history to explore.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.