The south coast city of Portsmouth enjoys an enviable location on the English Channel coast with impressive views over the Solent to the Isle of Wight, and this friendly Hampshire destination welcomes visitors of all ages.
The city is the only island city in Britain, and dates from around 1180. It was awarded its first Royal Charter by Richard the Lionheart in 1194, and since then it has played a vital part in many historic events, including the Battle of Waterloo and the D-Day landings.
Learn about the recent past at the D-Day Museum, or take a look back in time at 16th century Southsea Castle. Just along from the castle, the Australian Settlers Monument commemorates the first European settlers to leave for Australia from Portsmouth in 1787. You can see Lord Nelson's famous flagship HMS Victory at Portsmouth Historic Dock, and the oldest dry dock in the UK is also home to the Tudor carrack Mary Rose and HMS Warrior 1860.
The Spinnaker Tower at Gunwharf Quays dominates the harbour area, and is one of the city's most striking landmarks. It soars 557 feet (17 m) into the air and the view from the top is spectacular. Try the Sky Walk or enjoy a coffee at the cafe. There's plenty to appeal to all ages in the city, and the Blue Reef Aquarium boasts over 40 exhibits, including a giant tropical reef tank with a walk through tunnel and an otter holt.
This exciting city has not one, but two cathedrals, St. Thomas' in Old Portsmouth and St. John's in the city centre. History enthusiasts may also enjoy seeing, St Mary's church which has been described as Hampshire's finest Victorian building and has the most impressive Walker organ in the country.
Sailing and watersports are highly popular, and will appeal to outdoor activities fans. You're sure to enjoy a day at Southsea beach, and this typically British seaside resort on the city's Portsea island features a funfair next to Clarence Pier and a ballroom and bar at South Parade Pier. The city is also a great shopping destination, and boasts some of the best nightlife and entertainment venues in the south of England
When to fly to Portsmouth
Great shopping, superior accommodation and lots of local events, such as Southsea Fest in September and Christmas attractions in the festive season make Portsmouth a terrific choice for city breaks at any time. However, the May to September period enjoys the best summer weather and school holidays make it a very popular time for holidaymakers.
Thanks to Southsea beach and seasonal attractions such as the Spinnaker Tower which is open daily during July and August, from May till September is the most expensive time to visit. The cheapest time is undoubtedly from September onwards, with the exception of the Christmas and New Year holiday period. Since the city is beautiful in spring from March till May, and in autumn from October to November, low season is still an excellent time to plan a trip.
Getting around Portsmouth
The are several excellent local bus services which cover the city centre, Portsea Island, Southsea and numerous destinations in and around the city. There are good local taxi firms, and you'll also find licensed taxis at the airport and in the city centre which can simply be flagged down on the street.