Since the Middle Ages, Portsmouth has served as a staging area for naval wars. Portsmouth was designed as a maritime port because of its natural harbour. And Isle of Wight’s security across the Solent. It’s the only island city in the UK and home to two-thirds of the Royal Navy’s surface force.
Let’s look at some of the top things to do in Portsmouth,

Top 10 Best Things to Do in Portsmouth

1. The Historic Dockyard

The Historic Dockyard

HM Naval Base Portsmouth’s public area is complete with naval history. You can board HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, and HMS M33, which fought at Gallipoli.

Take a free waterbus across the harbour to Gosport to visit HMS Alliance. You may also take a free waterbus across the harbour to Gosport to see the Cold War-era ship HMS Alliance.

Before you visit, you may also learn about upcoming special events in the Historic Dockyard, like family-friendly activities during the school vacations or events commemorating significant war anniversaries.

2. Mary Rose Museum

Mary Rose Museum

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During Henry VIII’s reign, the Mary Rose being a carrack sank suddenly during the Battle of the Solent on July 19, 1545. More than 350 people were killed in the disaster, and the wreck was not located until 1971. Surprisingly, the ship was raised from the water in 1982 and given a contemporary home improvement in a new museum building in 2013.

The shipwreck was a great time capsule of Tudor England’s marine life, and an inexhaustible array of artefacts accompanied the wreck’s intact timbers.

Iron and bronze cannons, medical devices such as hypodermic needles, tankards, wooden bowls, nit combs, leather shoes, bells, gold coins, and human bone face reconstructions.

You’ll also learn how the wreck was hauled to the surface and preserved before being shown.

3. Emirates Spinnaker Tower

Emirates Spinnaker Tower

This renowned observation tower, modelled as a sail to symbolise the city’s naval heritage, is two and a half times the size of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, making it the highest climbable building outside the UK capital. It’s hard to imagine the Portsmouth Millennium Tower is approaching its second decade: from the stomach-turning exterior glass elevator to the panoramic decks, it still seems cutting-edge with artificial grass.

4. Canoe Lake

Canoe Lake

With its swan-shaped pedalos, Art Deco angel statue, and meticulously manicured flowerbeds, canoe Lake might be a picture from a Victorian postcard. Spend the morning collecting crabs in the lake by purchasing a bucket and fishing line from the lake shore. But be careful – they enjoy lightning and are known to pinch.

5. HMS Victory

HMS Victory

HMS Victory (launched in 1765) is the world’s oldest operational naval ship and the Royal Navy’s commander-in-chief flagship. During the Napoleonic Wars, this 104-gun first-rate line ship had her best hour at the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21 1805.

Lord Nelson, the UK’s most renowned naval commander, was killed in the fight, and you’ll be able to recreate his last expedition.

After a lengthy repair process, the ship was returned to its original condition when it departed Portsmouth harbour on September 14, 1805. You may also visit the galley, lower gun deck, orlop Deck, quarter deck, poop deck, the luxurious cabin, and Captain of the Fleet Sir Thomas Hardy’s Cabin.

6. Gunwharf Quays

Gunwharf Quays

A sleek, designer store on the waterfront is a one-stop shop for all your (discounted) shopping requirements. It’s also a popular hangout for locals, so expect it to be busy from early morning until late at night.

Up to 60% off significant designer and high-street brands such as Calvin Klein, Adidas, Dr Martens, and Le Creuset. Refresh at one of the numerous eateries when you’ve exhausted your shopping options. Choose an outside table to gaze out at the ships in the harbour and strain your neck to see the Spinnaker Tower.

7. Royal Navy National Museum

Royal Navy National Museum

Three ancient structures in front of HMS Victory chronicle 300 years of British naval history. 11 and 10 Storehouse are Grades I 18th-century monuments connected by a glass atrium. The first emphasises maritime battles in the Age of Sail.

The Nelson Gallery dedicates to Lord Nelson’s legendary naval career. The Storehouse concentrates on the navy in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Still, it also houses the foretopsail from HMS Victory, the most significant single artefact from the Battle of Trafalgar.

8. The D-Day Museum

The D-Day Museum

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The D-Day Museum, the only museum devoted to the 1944 Allied Invasion, reveals the human tales behind this monumentally historical event from both a civilian and military perspective. It also houses the Overlord Embroidery, an 83-metre-long embroidered image honouring all troops and women participating in the landings.

9. Fort Nelson

Fort Nelson

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When Napoleon III ascended to the throne in France, a land invasion by France became a genuine prospect, prompting the construction of a series of forts along the south coast. Fort Nelson is one of five Victorian-era structures on Portsdown, immediately north of Portsmouth.

It was built in the 1860s with six sides and a ditch with three caponiers. By the 1970s, the fort had become abandoned, but in the 1980s, it became home to the Royal Armouries, which housed a fine collection of mortar dating back to the early days of gunpowder.

10. No Man’s Fort

No Man's Port

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This military museum-turned-adult-playground is only accessible by boat from Gunwharf Quays over the calm waters of the Solent, and it’s definitely worth the sea legs. You may stay overnight in one of the extraordinary chambers (with assured ocean views) or schedule a meal, afternoon tea, laser search, cocktail making, fishing, or even an escape game under the fort’s old underbelly. Why needs dry land when you have a modern-day Bond villain’s lair?


Portsmouth (or Pompey as the locals call it) is one of the oldest coastal towns in the British Isles, and the most incredible thing to do in Portsmouth is taking advantage of this.

Located on Portsea Island, a thumb of Hampshire protruding into the Solent, it was the world’s biggest naval port during the height of the British Empire and presently serves as the primary Royal Navy facility in the United Kingdom. A visit to the Les Miserables-style dockyard, replete with four antique ships, including Henry VIII’s flop of a flagship, the Mary Rose, and a significant cluster of museums, is a must.


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