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.
The City of Portsmouth, in Hampshire, 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.
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 Story 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 Portsmouth the right to hold a fair once a year, a weekly market and exemption from various tolls.
You can read more about the history of Portsmouth here.
Deciding what to visit or where to stay in Portsmouth, explore the sections below......