Portsmouth; The Island City

Portsmouth is another place that I probably wouldn’t have thought to visit but I’m so glad that I did. My brother lived there for 2 years when he was doing his Masters at the University of Portsmouth. I was living in Australia at the time and was unable to visit, so it was great to finally see where he lived, worked and went to school.

Portsmouth is a port city in Hampshire, located on the South coast of England. It has the world’s oldest dry dock and is home to several famous ships, including the Mary Rose and the HMS Victory. Not only is Portsmouth known for its rich naval history, it is also the birthplace of several literary legends like Charles Dickens and H. G. Wells.

Here are my top recommendations for what to see and do when visiting the U.K.’s only island city.

  1. Head down to the Gunwharf Quays – Take a stroll along the boardwalk and marvel at the beautiful ships in the harbour. Make sure to take the boat tour around the harbour and Naval Dockyard to learn more about the ships and surrounding sights. Board at the Quays and get off at the Historic Dockyard for your chance to see these famous ships up close. The tour is a little under an hour and costs £8 for one adult ticket. While you’re there, stop and admire Spinnaker Tower; one of the tallest structures in the UK, outside of London.

2. Visit the Historic Dockyard – Step onboard one of Portsmouth’s famous ships or immerse yourself in the history of the Navy by visiting the National Museum of the Royal Navy. Tickets can be purchased individually or for all attractions including the National Museum, Submarine Museum and entry onto the HMS Warrior. Book your tickets here: http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/.

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HMS Victory.

3. Take an early morning stroll along the Pier – My dad and I walked along the pier each morning at sunrise. What a great way to start off the day! I highly recommend grabbing a coffee at one of the local cafes and checking out all of the quirky and eclectic buildings and restaurants along the waterfront.

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4. Admire the unique street art – Beautiful, creative and colourful pieces can be found all over the city. I am amazed by how talented these artists are – make sure to stop and admire their hard work.

5. Indulge at Little Johnny Russell’s – Little Johnny Russell’s has one of the best burgers I’ve had in ages. It came with a coleslaw that was to die for and delicious chips. The drinks are reasonably priced and they have a variety of DJ’s most nights that play everything from reggae to jazz. See what’s on here: http://www.littlejohnnyrussells.com/whats-on/.

8. Get lost amongst the colourful buildings – Colourful buildings give any city character, especially when that city is located in a country that gets a lot of rain. It’s impossible to be grumpy when you’re surrounded by all those vibrant colours 🙂

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Best coffee: Southsea Coffee (independent, coffee, tea, cakes, breakfast, sandwiches, friendly staff, cold beverages)

Best restaurant: Spice Merchant (Indian, curry, modern, vegetarian, friendly staff)

Best shopping: Albert Road (funky shops, vintage, antique, bohemian, trendy)

Best pies: Pie & Vinyl (vinyl, pies, sides, cordials, bric-a-brac)

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