8 Best Things To Do In Portsmouth, England

best things to do in portsmouth uk

Portsmouth is a small city in the English county of Hampshire. Proudly home to Portsmouth Football Club, the city is sporting mad! As the name would suggest, Portsmouth is a seaside city with an industrious and significant naval port. Many an important ship has left Portsmouth Dock and headed off into the ocean on various exploratory and military missions.

Portsmouth is home to HMNB Portsmouth which is the British Navy’s official head quarters, home to two-thirds of the United Kingdom’s naval ships and equipment. During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to observe important ships like the HMS Victory, which is the world’s oldest naval ship that is still working order, and the HMS Warrior. The Spinnaker Tower looks down over Portsmouth as the city’s most prominent landmark. As Portsmouth is a university city there is plenty of nightlife and fun activities on offer to get involved with the community too! Live music nights, pub crawls and family events all happen on a weekly basis in this vibrant English city.

1. HMNB Portsmouth

HMNB Portsmouth
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user LordHarris used under CC BY-SA 3.0

HMNB Portsmouth stands for Her Majesty’s Naval Base and HMNB Portsmouth is the official head quarters for the British Navy. The HMNB Portsmouth is also known as Portsmouth Royal Dockyard. HMNB Clyde and HMNB Devonport are the other two of the three naval bases in the UK.

A visit to HMNB Portsmouth will see you learn all about the successful naval history of the UK. Walking​ around the dockyards, you will get to understand the important role that the Navy plays in protecting the UK’s borders and international interests. Looking at old ships and new is always good fun too!

HMNB Portsmouth

Address: Victory Gate, HM Naval Base, PO1 3LJ Portsmouth, UK


2. HMS Warrior

HMS warrior
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user geni used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you’re in Portsmouth you simply must go and visit the HMS Warrior. Although, you may not even need to make a special trip. The sail poles of the HMS Warrior tower high in the sky and as it is 128 meters (420 feet) in length, you certainly can’t miss it!

The HMS Warrior is a 40-gun stream powered shop that was first launched in December 1860. The HMS Warrior, along with her sister ship named the HMS Black Price, were iron-hulled warships​, the first of their kind. The HMS Warrior was both a war ship and served the royal family too. During your visit, you’ll learn all about its impressive history.

HMS Warrior

Address: Victory Gate, HM Naval Base, PO1 3QX Portsmouth, UK

Website: HMS Warrior

3. Blue Reef Aquarium

Blue Reef Aquarium
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Nilfanion used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

The Blue Reef Aquarium is a great place to visit in Portsmouth, especially if the weather isn’t great outside! Home to sharks, puffer fish, and rays, the Blue Reef Aquarium is a great place to learn about marine life and conservation. The Blue Reef Aquarium is home to other water-bound animals too, like otters, turtles and frilled dragons.

Blue Reef Aquarium

Address: Rock-A-Nore Rd, TN34 3DW Hastings, UK

Website: Blue Reef Aquarium

4. D-Day Museum

D-Day museum southsea
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Geni used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you’re interested in history then you must visit the D-Day Museum when in Portsmouth. The D-Day Museum exhibits artifacts and documents surrounding Operations Overlord that was conducted during the D-Day landings in Normandy. Around 156,000 allied troops landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944. The museum offers you the chance to read first-hand​ reports and analysis of the military operation.

D-Day Museum

Address: Clarence Esplanade, PO5 3NT Portsmouth, Southsea, UK

Website: D-Day Museum

5. Southsea Castle

Southsea Castle
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Antoine Lamielle used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you like modern architecture, head to the Spinnaker​ Tower but if you like classic architecture be sure to visit Southsea Castle when you’re in Portsmouth. Southsea Castle is also known as Chaderton Castle and is an artillery fort that was commissioned by Henry VIII in 1544. A great day out for all the family, Southsea Castle offers free entry to all between March and October.

Southsea Castle

Address: Clarence Esplanade, PO5 3PA Portsmouth, UK

Website: Southsea Castle

6. Staunton Park

Staunton Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Barry Shimmon used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Staunton Park is a regency park set just outside of Portsmouth city center. Boasting lush green grassy parklands, Staunton Park is an impressive 1,000 acres (404 hectares) and is home to follies, an ornamental farm, and wonderful glass houses too. Entrance to Staunton Park is free, but the visitors center incurs a small entrance fee.

Staunton Park is a lovely place to spend a summer’s afternoon but looks particularly lovely in the autumn months. The trees turn red, orange and yellow and on a bright day, the park looks perfectly photogenic. There are lots of little features around the park to explore, like the Shell House and the Gothic library.

Staunton Park

Address: Middle Park Way, PO9 5HB Havant, UK

Website: Staunton Park

7. National Museum of the Royal Navy

HMS Royal Sovereign by Luigi Galea
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Luigi Galea used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Portsmouth is proud of its naval heritage and this culminates in the National Museum of the Royal Navy. The National Museum of the Royal Navy celebrates everything that the British navy has accomplished since its creation. At the museum, ​you get the chance to see the HMS Victory and the HMS Warrior too.

National Museum of the Royal Navy

Address: HM Naval Base (PP66), PO1 3NH Portsmouth, UK

Website: National Museum of the Royal Navy

8. Spinnaker Tower (from USD 17.0)

The Spinnaker Tower is Portsmouth’s most iconic landmark. Standing at an impressive 170 meters (560 feet) high, the Spinnaker Tower was opened in 2005. Built to reflect the city’s maritime history, the Spinnaker Tower looks like a ship’s sail.

The Spinnaker Tower has an onsite cafe for you to enjoy on your visit. From the observation deck, ​you can see impressive views of the cityscape below. The Spinnaker Tower lights up at night and shines brightly across the city.

Emirates Spinnaker Tower Portsmouth Admission Ticket

Duration: 1 hour

10 reviews

Perfectly Portsmouth

Old Portsmouth
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user eNil used under CC BY 2.0

Portsmouth is a great place to visit if you’re interested in naval history; with ample fun activities​ to do here, you’ll find it hard to leave!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Molly is a full-time conservation volunteer and fundraiser, focusing primarily the Asian Elephant and blogs about her travels to keep her on the road. She has spent the last three years extensively...Read more

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