PORTSMOUTH VISITOR ATTRACTIONS

Portsmouth visitor attractions

Portsmouth has a wealth of attractions and world class museums many related to the city's maritime and miltary history. You can access information about these either via the pull down menu above or from the attractions links on the right hand side of the page.

As well as the visitor attractions listed below, Portsmouth hosts many large scale events such as, the International Kite Festival, The Great South Run plus numerous other music and cultural events, held at venues such as Castle Field, Southsea Bandstand and Southsea Common.

In May 2013 the new Mary Rose Museum, at Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard, opened in a spectacular boat hull styled building. Read more about the Mary Rose Museum here.

Photo of the Blue Reef Aquarium, Southsea.

BLUE REEF AQUARIUM

The Blue Reef Aquarium is sited right on Southsea seafront on Clarence Esplanade, a few hundred metres west of the D Day museum, where car parking is available. Voted visitor attraction of the year by Tourism South East.
Address: Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, Portsmouth PO5 3PB
Telephone: 02392 875222
Map: Blue Reef Aquarium

Charles Dickens Birthplace museum in Portsmouth.

CHARLES DICKENS BIRTHPLACE

Charles Dickens (1812 - 1870) arguably one of the greatest and certainly the most enduring English novelist and writer, was born in Portsmouth on 7th February 1812, at 1 Mile End Terrace, Landport, Portsea, now known as 393 Old Commercial Road, Portsmouth. You can visit the Dickens Birthplace museum and see the bedroom where he was born, read more about Charles Dickens and the museum here. The Museum is open on Charles Dickens birthday, 7th February and from mid May - September between 10am - 5.30pm.
Address: 393 Old Commercial Road, Portsmouth, Hants, PO1 4QL.
Telephone: 02392 827261
Map: Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum

Photo of a tank at the D-Day Museum, Portsmouth.

D DAY MUSEUM

The D Day Museum is situated on Clarence Esplanade, close to Southsea Castle. It was opened in 1984 to commemorate the D Day 40th anniversary. The museum houses the 272 foot long Overlord Embroidery a modern equivalent of the Bayeux Tapestry and many other interesting artifacts relating to the 2nd World War.
Address: D-Day Museum, Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, PO5 3NT
For more details, visit our D-Day Museum page.

Photo of Fort Nelson, part of the Royal Armouries Museums, Portsmouth.

FORT NELSON

Fort Nelson was part of the City defences built by Lord Palmerston in the 1860's, on Portsdown Hill to the north of the city. Since 1995 it has housed part of the Royal Armouries collection of Artillery including over 350 guns and cannons. Entrance to the museum is free.
Address: Fort Nelson, Portsdown Hill Road, Fareham, PO17 6AN
For more details visit our Fort Nelson page.

Photo of the waterfront at Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth.

GUNWHARF QUAYS

Gunwharf Quays is an attractive and vibrant retail and entertainment complex which was redeveloped from the decommissioned HMS Vernon site, at Portsmouth Harbour. The centre combines designer label shopping, with a wide choice of restaurants and bars, multiplex cinema and bowling alley.
Address: Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 3TZ
For more detail visit our Gunwharf Quays page.

Photo of the Portsmouth City Museum.

PORTSMOUTH CITY MUSEUM

Situated on Museum Road close to Old Portsmouth.
The main display area on the ground floor, is home to Study in Sherlock exhibition, part of Lancelyn Green's collection of 40,000 Sherlock Holmes items, bequeathed to the City in 2004. The Living in Portsmouth Gallery recreates a 17th century bedroom, a 1930's kitchen and a 1950's living room. There is also an Art Gallery and a temporary exhibition gallery.
Address: Museum Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 2LJ
Map: Portsmouth Museum Portsmouth

Portsmouth Guildhall

PORTSMOUTH GUILDHALL

Portsmouth Guildhall is Hampshire's prime events and entertainment venue, presenting international stars of pop, rock and classical music as well as comedy and sports LIVE on your doorstep. They also host weddings, banquets and conferences. Designed by Leeds architect William Hill. The Guildhall was constructed at a cost of 140,000. Following severe damage during WWII, the Guildhall was reopened by Her Majesty the Queen on 8 June 1959. Read more about the history of Portsmouth Guildhall here.
Address: Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, Hants, PO1 2AB
Tel: 0844 847 2362

Photo of HMS Warrior at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

PORTSMOUTH HISTORIC DOCKYARD

Portsmouth Dockyard is home to the three historic ships, HMS Victory, HMS Warrior 1860 and the Mary Rose Museum.

  • The Mary Rose the only surviving 16th century warship, sank off Portsmouth in 1545 and raised from the Solent in 1982. A brand new museum reuniting the hull and the majority of its 19,000 artefacts and views to witness the completion of the conservation of the ship, will open on 31st May 2013.
  • HMS Victory , Nelson's flagship in the battle of Trafalgar 1805, is the oldest commissioned warship in the world and is still manned by Officers and Ratings of the Royal Navy.
  • HMS Warrior the first iron clad warship, built in 1860 is full of Victorian naval artifacts and technology.

Also housed within the Historic Dockyard are Action Stations an exciting combination of interactive displays and exhibitions depicting life in the modern Navy, The National Museum of the Royal Navy, the Dockyard Apprentice exhibition, plus many other Naval statues, figureheads and artifacts displayed around the site and a 45 minute Harbour Tour that sails around Portsmouth Harbour with commentary on the wider dockyard and naval base.
Address: Victory Gate, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth, PO1 3LJ

Photo of the Royal Garrison church at Old Portsmouth.

ROYAL GARRISON CHURCH

Situated in Grand Parade, Old Portsmouth, the Royal Garrison Church was founded in 1212 as a hospice, the Domus Dei (God's house), was used as a shelter for overseas pilgrims travelling to Canterbury, Chichester and Winchester. The church was closed during the dissolution under Henry VIII, part of the site being converted to a residence for the Governor of Portsmouth. The Nave of the church was gutted by a fire bomb on the 10th January 1941, hence its roofless appearance, a memorial to the blitz.
Address: Penny Street, Old Portsmouth, Hants, PO1 2NJ
Read more at our Royal Garrison Church page.

SOUTHSEA SEAFRONT

Southsea seafront is a fantastic open space, with loads of attractions for all of the family, from the Blue Reef Aquarium, Pyramids Centre, Southsea Castle to the Royal Marines Museum. The seafront also has some great spots for a family picnic and quiet gardens where you can enjoy the beautiful plants and flowers.
Read more at our Southsea Seafront page.

Photo of the Spinnaker Tower, from Old Portsmouth.

SPINNAKER TOWER

Overlooking Portsmouth Harbour at Gunwharf Quays, the Spinnaker Tower is the tallest publicly accessible structure in the UK outside of London. The tower boasts fantastic views of Portsmouth, Portsmouth Harbour across the Solent to the Isle of Wight and along the south coast.
Address: Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 3TT
Read more at our Spinnaker Tower page.