More Fun things to do in Portsmouth

  • Spice Island from a ferry
    Spice Island from a ferry
    by annase
  • Action stations (for kids and dads)
    Action stations (for kids and dads)
    by annase
  • Things to Do
    by annase

Most Viewed Things to Do in Portsmouth

  • LouiseTopp's Profile Photo

    Cannon balls & Turds on The Victory

    by LouiseTopp Updated Apr 4, 2011

    There's cannon balls dotted about in straight line’s on the Victory. The stairs are very steep indeed & it’s very easy to bump your head on low ceilings. Life on board was tough, half of the crew were volunteers, while the other half were ‘press Ganged’ into action. The stick which used to clout people on the back of the head is still on display, there’s also a talk about ‘Punishment & Discipline’. Crew members were whipped by the ‘Cat o’ Nine tails’ for: Swearing, blaspheming, drunkenness & fighting. This was done on the top deck in full view of other crew members as a deterrent; it usually took the skin of your back off. Afterwards you were taken down to the surgeon, who put you on the table before putting vinegar or something alcoholic on your backside; ouch!

    There’s a tablet where Nelson fell at the Battle of Trafalgar. His died three hours later. His body was placed in a barrel of brandy, hence the saying ‘there’s body in this drink’. At the bottom of the Victory is gravel which gives the ship ballast, sacks of gunpowder is also kept down here.

    At one end of this section is a copper wall, so rats wouldn’t nibble through & get at the gunpowder (did they ever have exploding rats?). It’s a bit chilly down here. There’s thick rope everywhere which weighs a couple of ton, even more when it’s wet.

    Saw the loo's at the front of the ship; It’s a black box with two holes in it open to the elements.

    The crew used to eat ships biscuit with maggots in. The only heat source was the cooking facility. The ship must have been a cold dark stifling place to be, the only air which came in was from outside. Each crew member had three meals a day out of square plates, hence the saying ‘three square meals’. They had salt to preserve things, & live animals to kill.

    Din Dins
    Related to:
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • LouiseTopp's Profile Photo

    Other things at Portsmouth Dockyard

    by LouiseTopp Updated Apr 4, 2011

    ‘HMS Warrior’ was out being spring-cleaned (or hoovered) when we came to visit. This is one of the first iron hulled armoured battleship’s in England. She was ran by steam & sail, there’s a good example of 19th century life to be seen here.

    The Mary Rose is well worth a visit. I have included it in one of my reviews, as there’s so much to write about it. It was brought up in 1982 & can now be seen on display, hopefully for many years to come. Next door is the Mary Rose museum which houses all the artefacts which were brought up from the site, it gives a fascinating insight into Tudor life.

    ‘The Royal Navel Museum’ is good to see. There’s a description of the battle of Trafalgar in 1805, there’s a very realistic sea battle which is quite smoky & noisy. If you don’t like loud bangs, screaming & wartime conditions; then this is best avoided. There’s a brass ships bell (minus the clapper) & lots of interactive quizzes about Nelson, & ships figureheads.

    Talking of figureheads, there’s a big one in the middle of the dockyard of a man in a brown wig (when I find out who he is, I will put it here). There’s two more museums next door. There’s a small gift shop here selling everything to do with boats, Nelson & sailing.

    Having a banging time
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Singles

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • jono84's Profile Photo

    The mighty Warrior

    by jono84 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Warrior stands large and proud, docked in Portsmouth Harbour..... a constant reminder of times past.

    I pass it on the way to work or university pretty much most days, and i am proud it is has been preserved so well as part of this city's great wartime heritage.

    A real eye-opener is the canon deck, where the canons and methods of loading are very well-explained and demonstrated. There is also access to the tiny, dark prison cells right down in the bottom levels of the vessel, where you can get an idea of what it was like to be a prisoner locked in pitch darkness!!
    Absolutely terrifying!!

    It is part of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, and its many levels are open daily to the public and often nightly as well, for large private functions.

    There is no fee to get in the dockyard, but there are entry fees for each of the ships docked, (i think the Warrior is around £5-10 for adults). Alternatively, you can buy a ticket for all three ships in the dockyard, and this works out a cheaper option.

    The Warrior

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • jono84's Profile Photo

    Historical Old Portsmouth

    by jono84 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A short walk away from the hive of activity that is the Quays, and you will stumble upon Old Portsmouth.

    Here it is still possible to recapture some of the essence of the Old Port's heady days when it was full of marines and soldiers from all over the UK, during World War II.

    There are many pleasant places to stop for a drink, with the perfect spot to view the busy harbour entrance from.

    Around the corner, there is also the Southsea Wall with the round and Square Towers placed at either end (pictured, intro). This part of the Wall, with the Old Sally Port and Battery are very well preserved, and offer a great walking opportunity, whilst the views over the harbour entrance from the top of the Round Tower are fantastic!!

    Here, you can practically get to within touching distance of ships as they squeeze into the harbour.

    This extremely narrow entrance to the Harbour is what made it such a good place to house the british navy's finest ships, and made it such a relatively easy place to defend.

    Old Portsmouth

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • bzh's Profile Photo

    Nelson's ship

    by bzh Updated Apr 4, 2011

    One permanent resident of Portsmouth you need to pay a visit to is HMS Victory, the flagship of Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson. This historical war veteran is definitely worth your time and will delight kids of all ages.

    Detail of the stern of HMS Victory
    Related to:
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • leffe3's Profile Photo

    Gunwharf Quays

    by leffe3 Written Nov 13, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Connecting the Naval Dockyards with Old Portsmouth, Gunwharf Quays is a new development of apartments, shops, cafes, restaurants and bars.

    It’s become something of a destination, not only for tourists but locals as well – not surprising considering there are some 95 designer shops, 30 restaurants, a 14-screen cinema, bowling alley, comedy club, nightclub as well as a hotel. All built alongside a new marina, a 10 minute walk from the Naval Dockyard and minutes from Old Portsmouth. And dominating the Quays is Spinnaker Tower.

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • leffe3's Profile Photo

    Old Portsmouth

    by leffe3 Written Nov 13, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Little is left of Old Portsmouth – the original part of the city – due to redevelopment over the centuries and, most significantly, the Luftwaffe bombing of WWII. It is now predominantly residential as commerce and industry gradually moved to other parts of the city.

    But remnants of the 15th century fortifications of the city remain and are readily accessible, as is the Anglican Cathedral (one of only two cathedrals in England visible from the sea – the other being Chichester) and there are 2-3 waterside pubs housed in 18th century buildings (although heavily renovated).

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • leffe3's Profile Photo

    Historic Dockyard - Harbour Tour

    by leffe3 Updated Nov 12, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Included in the admission ticket to the Dockyard is the harbour trip around the modern day naval base. With a running commentary from the pilot, we get to hear the history of the base as well as details of the ships that are in dock. This obviously varies from day to day - on the day we were there, a number were berthed, including the Ark Royal aircraft carrier, one the RN's largest.

    The tour is worth taking at the end of your time at the Dockyard - not only to put size into perspective - but because the ferry stops at Gunwharf Quays (although it does do a full circle back to the Dockyard), where lunch/dinner or just coffee maybe beckoning.

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • leffe3's Profile Photo

    Historic Dockyard - HMS Victory

    by leffe3 Updated Nov 11, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Launched in 1765 in Chatham, Kent, the HMS Victory is the oldest naval ship still in commission, in spite of being retired from active duty in 1812.

    It is most famous for being Vice-Admiral Nelson's flagship in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 against the French/Spanish fleet and where he was fatally wounded during battle. But Victory had already seen considerable action before Trafalgar under the command of a number of captains - including the two battles of Ushant (again, against the French).

    In 1798, it was determined that Victory was unfit for service as a warship, and became a hospital for wounded French and Spanish POWs. But with the HMS Impregnable running aground in Chichester Harbour and unable to be refloated, Victory was reconditioned and in 1803 once again entered service.

    More expeditions followed Trafalgar but in 1812 the Victory became a depot ship, moored in Portsmouth Harbour. The historic ship gradually deteriorated until the 1920s saw the beginning of the campaign to restore the ship, much beloved by the English. (When it was damaged by a Lutwaffe bomb in 1941 during WWII, the Germans tried a propaganda coup in announcing the destruction of HMS Victory, leading to an instant denial by the British Admiralty).

    Nowadays, along with HMS Warrior, Victory is an important museum ship at the Historic Dockyard, attracting more than 350,000 visitors per year. You can walk throughout the ship, from below decks to the base of the transom (Victory is in dry dock). Be warned though - low ceilings and steep stairwells.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • leffe3's Profile Photo

    Historic Dockyard - HMS Warrior

    by leffe3 Updated Nov 10, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The pride of Queen Victoria's navy, when completed in 1861, the HMS Warrior was largest, fastest, most heavily armed and most heavily armoured warship the world had known. Commissioned by the Royal Navy, it was built in direct response to the French ship La Gloire, launched a year earlier.

    Such was the race to constantly improve fire-power and armour, HMS Warrior was withdrawn from service only 22 years later in 1883 having never been engaged in battle. Luckily, having been withdrawn she was not sold off for scrap – instead being used for a variety of purposes hardly fitting for such a prestigious ship. It was first proposed to restore HMS Warrior as a museum ship in the 1960s, although it wasn't until 1979 work began – a program which took 8 years.

    HMS Warrior returned to Portsmouth in 1987 and now forms a centrepiece of the Historic Dockyard. Access enables you to wander around throughout - from engine rooms, gun decks, officer's cabins, galleys.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • leffe3's Profile Photo

    Historic Dockyard

    by leffe3 Written Nov 10, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is the home of the Royal Navy.

    Whether or not you are interested in military history or boats, the Historic Dockyard is a fabulous day out. Included in the (rather steep) admission fee includes access to Nelson's ship, the HMS Victory; the first British iron-clad warship, HMS Warrior: a harbour tour; the National Museum of the Royal Navy; the interactive Action Stations (for kids and adults alike) and the Mary Rose Museum. Sadly, viewing the Mary Rose itself is not currently possible as a new home is being built around the hull and is not due to open until 2012.

    See separate tips below.

    Admission fees: £19.50 (adult)/£16.50 (senior)/£14 (child)/£55 (family)
    Opening times: Everyday except 24/25/26 December.
    April – October: 10am-6pm (last tickets sold at 4.30pm)
    Nov – March: 10am – 5.30pm (last tickets sold at 4.00pm)

    Note that access to the historic ships close earlier than the above closing times.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • Mexican Celebration at Gunwharf Quays

    by AlexandraBarry Written Oct 7, 2010

    11th - 29th October

    Gun Wharf Quays

    Dia de los Muertos, in Mexico, is a fiery fiesta celebrating the life and passing of our ancestors.

    Events
    • Butterfly & Giant Skull
    • Day of the Dead Workshops
    • Day of the Dead Parade & Entertainment
    • Spectacular Fireworks Display

    Butterfly & Giant Skull
    11th - 28th October

    The giant inflatable skull, celebrating the lives of those who have
    gone before, arrives at Gunwharf Quays on 11th October and will
    be situated in Caen Marche and The Avenues until 28th October.
    You are invited to place your 'offering' onto the skull to express your
    wish for change and future happiness.

    Offerings are in the form of decorated butterflies, an example of the cycle of life, and can be obtained from the following:

    Visitor Information Centre • La Tasca • aspex gallery • Gap
    Fire & Stone • Las Iguanas • Past Times • Tiger Tiger • Chiquitos

    Once you have decorated your offering, please place it onto our skull shrine and join us again on 29th October for our Day of the Dead procession.

    Day of the Dead Workshops
    25th - 29th October at 12pm - 4pm

    Join the UK’s leading carnival artists, Same Sky and Copperdoller, to create Mexican Day of the Dead inspired memorabilia to either take home or to become part of the parade on Friday 29th October.

    The free workshops take place in the marquee in Central Square.

    Activity includes:

    • Catarina headdresses and garlands
    • Skeleton and Butterfly tabards
    • Skull lantern shrines
    • Skull masks

    Plus see a photo gallery of old Mexico courtesy of Chiquitos. Also visit Chiquitos 26th - 28th Oct, 9.30am - 11am for the free fajita factory!!

    Day of the Dead Parade & Spectacular Fireworks Display
    29th October
    Entertainment from 6.30pm / Display 8pm

    Watch our Day of the Dead parade as it leads to the waterfront and the spectacular firework display. A giant 15” skull with drummers and performers will lead a 100 strong procession of skull lantern carriers from schools around Portsmouth including Milton Cross, King Richards,
    St Georges, St Edmunds, Park Community School and participants from our half term workshops. Plus Victory Morris Dancers, Drum Nation, giant Butterflies, piñatas and lots more!

    See The World Famous push the boundaries of fireworks as art, as
    Portsmouth Harbour is alight with a choreographed Mexican Day of
    the Dead meets Halloween display. This year the display also includes
    the lights of the Spinnaker Tower.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Festivals

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • annase's Profile Photo

    Enjoy the fab views

    by annase Updated Oct 7, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Spinnaker Tower is 170m high above sea level. It is higher than the London Eye, Blackpool tower and Big Ben and at 170m is the tallest publicly accessible structure in the UK. It is visible for miles around Portsmouth, changing the area's horizon.

    Three different designs for the tower were proposed the Spinnaker design, a tripod design intended to emulate ship funnels and a twin tower design holding a large glass globe at the top. The final decision of the choice of design was given to the residents of Portsmouth, exhibitions were held in various locations around the area, with visitors being able to cast their vote, 13,000 people atended and voted at these exhibitions, with more than 60% favouring the Spinnaker design.

    The design is similar to the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. However, the latter being a little less than twice as tall at 323 m. The tower represents sails billowing in the wind, a design accomplished using two large, white, sweeping steel arcs, which give the tower its spinnaker sail design.

    The tower opened for business in October 2005, offering panaramic views across Portsmouth Harbour, across the Solent to the Isle of Wight and far beyond.The viewing distances on a clear day are claimed to be 37 km or 23 miles. At the top is a triple observation deck, providing a 320° view of the city of Portsmouth, the Langstone and Portsmouth harbours.

    •Deck1 is at a height of 100m, has full height glass walls and is home to the largest glass floor in Europe.
    •Deck2 is at 105m and is home to the 'time telescopes' and from 18 October 2010 onwards, there will also be a coffee shop on deck 2.
    •Deck 3, known as the 'Crows Nest' is at 110m high and is open to the elements. It is the highest of the three observation platforms and has a wire mesh roof, allowing visitors to be in the elements. Windows extend to above head height, so it is not possible to get a view unobstructed by glass.

    The website promises that if you can't see the 3 Solent forts on the day of your visit, each member of your party will be issued with a ticket to return for free within 3 months. To claim your free return visit, you must speak to our Duty Manager whilst you are visiting the Tower.

    Admission: Adults £7.25, children (3-15 yrs) £5.75 (children under 3 FREE), senior citizens (60+) and students £6.50. Valid until 31st January 2011
    Guide Book £3.50, Audio Guide £1.00

    The Spinnaker Tower is open daily except for Christmas Day. Opening times are 10am - 6pm.
    Last admissions 30 minutes before closing.

    Spinnaker Tower from my window
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • annase's Profile Photo

    Fortified walls and battlement towers

    by annase Written Sep 20, 2010

    Portsmouth was also an important port and military stronghold with the fortified walls and battlement towers defending the town from the sea. Two of the original fortifications are the two towers which have been in place for around 500 years. The Square Tower was built in 1494 and was originally a gun platform. It later served as a fortified residence for the Governor and subsequently it was later used as a store for gunpowder and then meat for the Navy. On the north east side of the tower is a gilded bust of King Charles I which was a gift to the city from the King himself.

    The Round Tower, which dates from 1418, is at the other end of Point Barracks that were built in the 19th century. It was originally a single storey 18 gun battery and much narrower than it is today. The second tier was added to house 32 cannon while the rest of the battery was rearmed with 68 carronades on traversing mounts.

    From the promenade you can also see the Saluting Platform (also Great Platform) which was originally built in Tudor times to carry bronze and iron guns to guard the harbour approaches. The Saluting Platform as well as the raised walkway which runs between the platform and the Spur Redoubt was originally built as a promenade in 1862.

    The foundations of the town's main Guard House are outlined in red brick on the lower level next to the Promenade. This building was demolished in 1883.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • annase's Profile Photo

    Millenium Promenade

    by annase Updated Sep 20, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Millenium Promenade is a walkway that stretches over 6km on both sides of Portsmouth Harbour: 3km both the Portsmouth and Gosport communities. You can follow the Promenade all the way from the Historic Dockyard around Gunwharf Quays and further south into the centre of the Old Portsmouth that has retained much of its 18th century port feel. The promenade finishes at Spur Redoubt near Clarence Pier, Southsea.

    The promenade has been built of natural stone and it was opened in 2001. Once it was opened, it made the part of waterfront accessible to the public after some centuries. The route is marked by a chain motif set into the surface, symbolising partnership between Portsmouth and Gosport & between past and present. Historically it also refers to the chain, which used to be tightened across the harbour entrance at times of potential attack.

    The promenade is lighted by column-mounted lanterns. They were designed to reflect the historic character of blue lights at night that are strung around the harbour.

    The Millenium Promenade A view from the Point Barracks The Point Barracks were built in the 19th century The The Millenium Promenade

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner

Portsmouth Hotels

Latest Portsmouth Hotel Reviews

Travelodge Portsmouth
Great (4.0 out of 5.0) 2 Reviews
Holiday Inn Express Portsmouth Gunwharf Quays
Good (3.0 out of 5.0) 1 Review
Bembell Court Hotel
Best (5.0 out of 5.0) 1 Review
Holiday Inn Portsmouth
Good (3.0 out of 5.0) 1 Review
Florence House Hotel
Best (5.0 out of 5.0) 1 Review
The Duke Of Buckingham
Terrible (1.0 out of 5.0) 1 Review
The Clarence Hotel
Best (5.0 out of 5.0) 1 Review

Instant Answers: Portsmouth

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

13 travelers online now

Comments

Portsmouth Things to Do

Travel tips and advice posted by real travelers and Portsmouth locals.
Map of Portsmouth
Other Things to Do in Portsmouth