Welcome to Portsmouth

Portsmouth the great waterfront city

Portsmouth, the birthplace of Charles Dickens and home of the Royal Navy, is the UK's only island city. With a population of approximately 206,000, the city of Portsmouth was granted it's first charter in 1194 by King Richard and is located on Portsea Island on the south east coast of Hampshire.

Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK

Portsmouth
the great waterfront city

Portsmouth is flanked to the east by Langstone Harbour, to the west by Portsmouth Harbour and to the south by the Solent, making the area perfect for sailing and other watersports.

The Spinnaker Tower at Portsmouth Harbour, viewed from Gosport

Portsmouth is proud of it's naval history and Portsmouth Dockyard is home to a world class selection of historic ships including HMS Victory Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar, HMS Warrior the world's first iron hulled armoured ship and the Mary Rose, Henry VIII's Tudor warship. There are numerous other attractions to visit such as the Spinnaker Tower at Gunwharf Quays outlet shopping and leisure complex, the D-Day Museum, the Royal Marines Museum and of course Southsea Seafront.

Portsmouth International Port is one of the busiest ferry ports in the UK carrying around 2.2 million passengers a year, with regular services to France, Spain and the Channel Islands. Closer to home there are ferry and hovercraft connections to the Isle of Wight as well as cross harbour ferries to our neighbour Gosport.

The city is lucky to have not one but two Frank Matcham designed theatres, the Kings Theatre in Southsea and the New Theatre Royal in Guildhall Walk, which have both been restored and are open for business hosting theatrical and musical entertainment. Portsmouth Guildhall and the Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea also host a wide variety of concerts and other cultural events.

King Richard (1157 - 1199) sailed from Portsmouth on his way to the Crusades, and it was he who granted the town it's earliest known charter. It was during Richard's reign that the Star and Crescent first appeared on the town arms, the title of Mayor of the town also appears at this time. An earlier charter is thought to have been granted by Henry I, but all trace of it's existence has disappeared. King Richard's charter gave the right to hold a fair once a year, a weekly market, exemption from various tolls and the permission to try thieves caught within the borough. You can read more about the history of Portsmouth here.

Exploring Portsmouth

Deciding what to visit or where to stay in Portsmouth, explore the sections below......

Attractions
Explore the great selection of Portsmouth attractions here.
Shopping in Portsmouth
Shopping
Portsmouth has some excellent shopping areas such as Gunwharf Quays and Commercial Road.
Restaurants and cafes in Portsmouth
Restaurants
Portsmouth and Southsea have a fantastic selection of restaurants to choose from.
Hotels in Portsmouth and Southsea
Hotels
Looking for somewhere to stay, check out our hotel listings here.