Things to see and do in Portsmouth

Famous for its maritime heritage and historic dockyard, Portsmouth is the place to visit if you’re fascinated by Navy history.

With plenty of timely museums, seaside attractions and exciting entertainment, there’s something to suit everyone’s tastes here on the south coast.

South Parade Pier 

This exciting amusement pier has lots of fun to offer for anyone looking for a seaside experience. As well as their slots and arcade machines with the potential to win some awesome prizes, they also have a ‘Kidz Island’ full of rides and attractions for the little ones. The rides include the Giant Pirate Ship, Flying Helicopters, and a Helter Skelter accompanied by refreshments and nibbles. For a classy experience, they have the Gaiety Southsea, a bar-restaurant with live music and stunning views.

Stay Nearby: Portsmouth City Centre | Portsmouth | Gosport

New Theatre Royal

Portsmouth TheatreThis beautiful Grade II* listed Victorian Theatre is located right in the heart of Portsmouth, proud of its history, but focused on the future. Seating up to 640 patrons, the beautiful auditorium was designed by the famous Victorian auditorium architects Charles Phipps and Frank Matcham. New Theatre Royal presents a high-quality eclectic mix of performances from Community shows to professional Dance; Drama; Entertainment, Music, Tribute shows, Comedy and Family performances. Find out What’s On and book tickets for the New Theatre Royal here!

Stay Nearby: Portsmouth City Centre | Portsmouth | Gosport

Gunwharf Quays Shopping Centre

This expansive waterfront shopping centre is the number one place to visit if you’re looking for some retail therapy. With dozens of clothing, beauty and home stores, this shopping centre visit could be turned into a day out on its own. They also have several entertainment options, including bowling, a casino and even exclusive boat rides from the marina! End off your busy day with some filling food and refreshments at one of their wide selection of restaurants.

Stay Nearby: Portsmouth City Centre Gosport | Portsmouth 

Spinnaker Tower

Tower over the city of Portsmouth in the iconic spinnaker tower. Standing at 170 metres tall, you can choose from one of the three viewing decks, two glass levels and their ‘Sky Garden’. Enjoy the view with some light refreshments from the bar, or enjoy some afternoon tea or a delicious sit-down meal in their kitchen. They also hold abseil days, where you can book to abseil 100 metres down the side of the tower! A guaranteed fun day out for both thrill-seekers and those wanting a relaxing day away.

Stay Nearby: Portsmouth City Centre Gosport | Portsmouth 

HMS Victory

Situated right on Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, this 1700s flagship stands tall for visitors and tourists to experience the rich Navy history and culture behind the mast. After being used by countless battalions at sea, the ship was harboured after it would no longer stay afloat. From then, it stood in place after being repaired and was eventually transformed into the popular museum it is today. Understand what life was like for the crew and sailors of this historic ship and experience real artefacts and cannons used in The Battle of Trafalgar.

Stay Nearby: Portsmouth City Centre Gosport | Portsmouth 

Fort Nelson

This fully restored Victorian fort is an enriching experience for anyone wanting to emerge themselves in the culture of Portsmouth. Chocked full of underground tunnels, high ramparts, and massive parade ground, this expansive site houses over 700 pieces of genuine artillery from across the world that would have been used in battle. Offering their services such as their gallery of guns, plenty of kid-friendly activities and a cafe with food and refreshments, you can truly spend all day at this wondrous monument!

Stay Nearby: Portsmouth Hilsea Portsmouth Gosport 

Mary Rose

Step back into Tudor England times in the only 16th-century warship on display in the world. This magnificent museum displays the remains and stories of King Henry VIII’s favourite Navy ship, the Mary Rose. After the ship sank during a battle in 1545, it left many historians wondering what the cause of this was. And so the search for the remains started in 1965 to unveil some answers, where they rose the sunken remains and preserved them in this very museum. Enjoy the museum’s guided tours and an insight into the rich history of Portsmouth.

Stay Nearby: Portsmouth City Centre Gosport | Portsmouth 

Isle of Wight Day Tour

This one-of-a-kind tour from Portsmouth Harbour to the gorgeous Isle of Wight is the perfect activity for an adventurous holiday. Cruise your way to the island, where an itinerary packed with tours of historical cottages, tea rooms and beaches awaits you. Spend a day marvelling at the beauty of this popular staycation destination, relax on the beach or grab a bite to eat in the rich English air. Then catch the cruise home at 6pm just in time for a gorgeous view of the setting sun upon the ocean.

Stay Nearby: Newport Isle of Wight | Ryde Isle of WightGosport 

Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery

If you’re interested in the historical arts of Portsmouth’s heritage, then you’re at the right place! As well as detailing the expansive navy history of the local area, you can also look into the history of Portsmouth Football Club and their gallery showcasing the team’s history over the years. Or, for the detectives among you, there’s also a section on the original story of Sherlock Holmes. Written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, learn more about the stories of Sherlock and Doyle’s life living in Portsmouth.

Stay Nearby: Portsmouth City Centre Gosport | Portsmouth