Portsmouth Visitor information
An Introduction to Portsmouth
Portsmouth is a mix of history with the naval docks and historic warships and modern culture, including the outlet centre of Gunwarf Quays and its lively music and arts venues.
Things to do in Portsmouth
The D day museum holds extensive displays. Kings Theatre offers a full mix of both professional and amateur shows, whilst the historic dockyard offers visits to the HMS Victory, Mary Rose Museum, Harbour Tour, HMS Warrior 1860, National Museum of the Royal Navy and Action Stations. Gunwharf Quays holds 90 designer outlets, 30 cosmopolitan bars and restaurants, a 14-screen cinema, 26-lane bowling complex and contemporary art gallery. Visit the Spinnaker Tower, with it's glass floor towering above the city. Blue Reef Aquarium has a range of native and exotic aquatic species or visit Southsea Castle, built by Henry VIII. The Royal Marines Museum is situated in Southsea.
Travelling to Portsmouth
Portsmouth has road connections to the A3(M) to London and the M27/A27 connects the city with Britain's motorway network.
Portsmouth is connected through the railway network to most of the country's major towns and cities.
By Bus and Coach
Regular services are provided by Stagecoach or First Bus. National Express have daily coaches travelling to and from the city.
Portsmouth's International Port offers ferry routes to France, Spain and the Channel Islands plus a Cruise Terminal.
The major London airports Gatwick and Heathrow, both 60 miles away and Southampton International Airport are within easy reach of Portsmouth Harbour.
The city of Portsmouth started about 1180 when a merchant called Jean De Gisors founded a little town in South-West corner of Portsea Island. By the early 13th century Portsmouth was described as 'one of our most important ports'. Portsmouth was burned down 4 times during the 14th century during a period of warfare between England and France.
Portsmouth was not fortified until after the last attack in 1380 and continued to be fortified until 1522. In 1450 the Bishop of Chichester was murdered in Portsmouth. For this crime the whole town of Portsmouth was placed under an interdict which lasted until 1508. Henry VII built a dockyard in 1495 and Portsmouth became a naval port. Henry VIII built a castle, overlooking the sea in 1544 and watched as his warship Mary Rose sank in the Solent.
In 1628 one of the kings advisors, the Duke of Buckingham was assassinated in the town. In 1642 the people in Portsmouth, including the mayor supported parliament. Following the end of the civil war in 1646 Portsmouth prospered. In 1667-85 the fortifications around the town were rebuilt. Afterwards Portsmouth was one of the most heavily fortified towns in Europe.
Portsmouth Dockyard continued to expand and in 1862-68 a chain of forts was built along Portsdown Hill, which overlooks the town. During the Second World War it was a target for German bombing. After World War II the city council tried to diversify industry in Portsmouth. Mary Rose, the Tudor warship was raised from the seabed in 1982 and became a museum. In 1987 HMS Warrior, Britain's first iron warship, was moved to Portsmouth.
Universities in Portsmouth