As your ferry approaches Portsmouth, you’ll be impressed by the long beachfront, soaring landmark of the Emirates Spinnaker Tower and bustling shops and restaurants of the waterfront Gunwharf Quays district. Portsmouth is a city of contrasts and as well as boasting exciting contemporary attractions it is also steeped in history. Ferries entering and leaving the harbour glide past lovely Georgian houses and historic ships including Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory.
One thing Portsmouth is not short of is great world-class attractions. See more at Visit Portsmouth
The city’s proud maritime heritage continues with the modern fighting craft of the naval dockyard. There are traditional piers, the wide green space of Southsea Common, sophisticated waterside restaurants or fish and chips on the beach, and the opportunity to take a quick ferry or hovercraft ride over to the Isle of Wight. Ferries to Portsmouth International Port sail from Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre and St Malo in France, Bilbao and Santander in Spain, and Jersey and Guernsey in the Channel Islands. They are operated by Brittany Ferries and Condor Ferries.
HMS Victory, the magnificent HMS Warrior (cutting-edge Victorian technology) and Henry VIII’s doomed flagship Mary Rose. Take a harbour tour to see current frigates and destroyers. Children love the interactive displays, simulators and climbing wall at Action Stations.
The Mary Rose is a Tudor ship, built in 1510. In service for 34 years, she sank in 1545 and was discovered in 1971. Raised in 1982 and now in the final stages of conservation, she takes her place in a stunning and unique museum.
The brilliant writer was born in 1812 in a modest house in Portsmouth. The Regency style of household objects and decorations has been recreated to show how the family would have lived, and there is a small collection of Dickens memorabilia, including the couch on which he died at his house in Kent, together with his snuffbox, inkwell and paper knife.
Soaring high above glittering Portsmouth harbour, this 21st century icon has already had two million visitors. At 170 metres tall, it provides breathtaking 350º vistas of the South coast, the Solent and the Isle of Wight after a fast lift ride to the top. Europe’s largest glass floor enables intrepid visitors of all ages to virtually ‘walk on air’!
Britain’s first world-class shopping and leisure waterfront, with 100 designer outlets, 30 cosmopolitan bars and restaurants, a health & fitness centre, Vue cinema and Bowlplex bowling. Laugh at Highlights comedy club, call in at the Aspex contemporary art gallery or dance the night away at Tiger Tiger.
Enjoy close encounters with seahorses, tropical sharks, otters, a giant octopus and hundreds of incredible aquatic creatures. Blue Reef takes visitors on a journey through more than 40 habitats from the bustling Solent to exotic tropical seas and a beautiful coral reef. There are talks and feeding displays throughout the day.
The story of Operation Overlord told through the Overlord Embroidery depicting the efforts and sacrifices of the Allies in defeating Nazi Germany in 34 scenes. Visitors can also experience sights and sounds of Britain at war and a dawn-to-dusk reconstruction of the Allied landings by sea and air on 6 June 1944 – World War II's 'longest day'.
Fort Nelson is a superbly restored Victorian fort overlooking Portsmouth Harbour. It is home to the Royal Armouries national artillery collection with over 350 historic guns on display.
The Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing HQ opened for business in June 2015 and in July the excitement of America's Cup racing arrived in Portsmouth, as the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series took place on Southsea Common. Sir Ben Ainslie heads the GB team again 21-24 July 2016.
Discover how the Royal Navy helped to shape the modern world through stories of courage and determination, enterprise and endeavour, heroism and sacrifice. Visitors can experience what it was like as a Gallipoli survivor on board HMS M.33, capture traditional boat-building in action in Boathouse 4 and a new exhibition '36hrs: Jutland 1916' opening in May 2016.
The beautiful historic city of Chichester is 18 miles east and extraordinary Chichester Harbour stretches for miles with wonderful inlets, coastal villages and glorious views. It is heaven for sailors, walkers and bird watchers.
Stonehenge, 52 miles away, and London, 75 miles, are well within reach for superb day trips.
Half an hour north of Portsmouth the rolling hills of the South Downs open up, with fantastic opportunities for walking and country pubs aplenty in villages such as South Harting, Elsted, Buriton and in the Meon Valley.
Why not stay overnight before or after you sail - there are many Hotels to suit all budgets, a wide range of hotels are available for visitors. You may wish to spend some time in Portsmouth before your sailing, taking advantage of all the city has to offer.
Portsmouth is the UK's only island city, located on Portsea Island jutting out into the Solent. Its nickname is Pompey.
It is a naval city through and through. Richard the Lionheart summoned a fleet here in 1194 and in 1787 eleven ships set sail to establish the first European colony in Australia.
Nelson left for the last time in 1805 for the Battle of Trafalgar. Fleets left Portsmouth for the Falklands War and to support troops in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Portsmouth FC have held the FA Cup the longest – they won it in 1939 and kept it until 1946 because there was no competition during World War II. They won it again in 2008.
The closing chapters of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park are set in Portsmouth, hometown of its heroine Fanny Price. Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was from Portsmouth.
Spice Island, part of Old Portsmouth, was once infamous for sailors’ pubs and brothels because when the city gates were closed it was literally outside of the law.