Waterfront city Portsmouth is a great town to visit with a huge variety of great attractions, a perfect seafront location, lots of history and more shops than you could imagine. With amazing panoramic views from the top of the Spinnaker Tower, lots of shopping in Gunwharf Quay or eating a meal looking over the harbour, there’s lots to do in Portsmouth whatever your age.
Waterfront city Portsmouth is an easy day trip from London or any town in the South East but also a great place for a weekend break with the partner, friends, or even by yourself.
Over the course of the weekend we did all the tourist sites but wandered around the city looking at its amazing history and architecture. It became more obvious over the trip that a day just really isn’t enough to see everything so we were lucky to have three days in this wonderful city. We have listed our top three places to go in Waterfront city Portsmouth and have also given a quick low down on the city itself.
- Historic Dockyard
This is the best attraction in Portsmouth, with the dockyards playing host to some of the country’s biggest warships and oldest historical ships. You can clamour on to HMS Warrior and HMS Victory and experience how the ships would have been used and decorated in the seventeenth century.
You can also jump on board the famous harbour tour, which takes you around the harbour up close to Britain’s fleet of warships and then back round to the harbour entrance near the Spinnaker Tower and Gunwharf Shopping Centre.
And then if that isn’t enough there are various buildings dotted across the site including the new HMS – Hear My Story exhibition in the National Museum of the Royal Navy, marking the First World War, the new Mary Rose Museum and the action-packed Action Stations centre.
- Spinnaker Tower
From the top of the tower you are delighted with iconic views of the harbour, warships, HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and even the Isle of Wight in the distance. The view stretches up to 23 miles and takes in over 1,700 years of history. The ticket also includes an i-View interpretation and free audio guides, so you can learn more about what you can see from the top.
The sky deck, sky walk and café in the clouds allows you to take as many photos as your heart desires during the visit, and leaves you feeling like you are on top of the world.
Top tip: Before taking the lift up to the top, make sure you get a photo that you can pick up on your way out!
We would advise allowing two hours minimum for the tower; to queue, go up to the top, see the views and make your way back down.
Welcome to the ultimate underwater safari, says the Blue Reef Aquarium as you arrive, and that it certainly is! The Blue Ref Aquarium is one of the best I have ever experienced. The layout was great and the tanks were open for you to look in and see the wildlife.
You can enjoy close encounters with the reptiles and hundreds of incredible seahorses, tropical sharks, otters and aquatic creatures. The sting ray tank is one of the best sections, as you can walk 360 degrees around the tank and peer over in their habitat from the walking platoon.
At the heart of the aquarium there is a giant ocean tank where an underwater tunnel offers incredible views of a beautiful coral reef, home to shoals of brightly coloured fish. There were also lots of talks and feeding displays taking place during the day. After you’re finished it is in a great location to have a stroll down the seafront!
Other best bits to do are:
- Southsea Castle
Open Tuesday – Sunday (closed Mondays apart from Bank Holidays) 10am-5pm; last entry 4.30pm.
- Portsmouth City Museum
Tel: 023 9283 4779, www.portsmouthcitymuseums.co.uk.
Open Tuesday – Sunday (closed Mondays except bank holidays) 10am – 5pm, free entry;
The temporary exhibition is ‘Lest we forget’
Overall Portsmouth is a great city, full of life, adventure and of course history. The city hasn’t always been a desirable location for a break away but in the past few years has really shown what it can do and how much fun you can have. If you’re trying to decide on a day trip or a weekend break, Portsmouth has lots to offer.
The Historic Dockyard is open daily Apr-Oct 10am-6pm, last tickets sold at 4.30pm; Nov-March10am-5.30pm; last tickets sold at 4pm
Admission: £28 adults; single attraction tickets also available. Tickets are valid for one year with unlimited entry.
Spinnaker Tower: Waterfront at Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth PO1 3TT
Open daily: 10am-6pm, last admission 30 mins before closing
Admission: £8.95 adults – book online for 15% off.
Blue Reef Aquarium: Clarence Esplanade, Southsea PO5 3PB
Open: Daily Apr-Oct 10am-6pm last entry 5pm; Nov-Mar 10am-5pm, last entry 4pm
Admission: £10 adults