Things to do in Portsmouth

Explore Historic Portsmouth:

Begin your Portsmouth journey at the renowned Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, where maritime history comes to life. Visit HMS Victory, Admiral Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar, and the fascinating Mary Rose Museum, home to Henry VIII's warship.

Seaside Charm:

Experience traditional seaside fun at South Parade Pier and Southsea Seafront an iconic waterfront with amusements, arcades, and breathtaking sea views. Walk along the pier, enjoy an ice cream or a coffee, and embrace the lively coastal atmosphere.

Great food:

Indulge your taste buds at one of Southsea's great restaurants, or brilliant Pompey pubs offering delectable seafood, plant based classics and international cuisine. Enjoy harbour views at Old Portsmouth while relishing fresh catches and local flavors. Portsmouth's culinary scene is diverse, so explore the local eateries for a delightful gastronomic adventure.

Cultural Activities:

Immerse yourself in Portsmouth's culture at the Portsmouth City Museum, discover 'A Study in Sherlock' one of the world's largest collection of Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle collection at the City Museum. Conan Doyle was a practicing GP in Portsmouth when he created the Sherlock Holmes stories. Also don't miss the D-Day Story, Southsea Castle and the Sealife Centre, all located on the seafront at Southsea.

Panoramic Views:

Head over to the iconic Spinnaker Tower at Gunwharf Quays for breathtaking panoramic views of Portsmouth and beyond. Whether day or night, the observation decks provide a stunning perspective of the cityscape and the sea.

Relaxing Retreat:

Escape to Southsea Common, a vast open space with scenic sea vistas. Perfect for a leisurely walk, a family picnic, or simply unwinding by the waves, this common offers a peaceful retreat amid the urban hustle.

Retail Therapy:

Explore Gunwharf Quays, a waterfront outlet bursting with shops, restaurants, and entertainment. From high-end brands to local boutiques, it's a shopper's paradise. The dynamic Spinnaker Tower adds a unique touch to this vibrant shopping destination.

Sporting passion:

Catch the excitement at Fratton Park, the home ground of Portsmouth Football Club. Join passionate fans in cheering for the team or soak in the energetic atmosphere during a matchday experience at this traditional football stadium.

Festivals and Events:

Stay updated on local events and festivals that bring the city to life. From maritime celebrations to cultural festivals, Portsmouth offers a dynamic calendar of activities such as The International Kite Festival, Victorious Music Festival, The Great South Run and Beach Dubbin to name just a few, throughout the year.

Portsmouth offers a diverse array of experiences, blending history, culture, and coastal charm for an unforgettable visit. Explore the listing below of more of Portsmouth's unmisable family friendly attractions.

Top 10 Portsmouth Visitor Attractions

Andrew Simpson Watersports Centre

Portsmouth Attractions, Andrew Simpson Watersports

The Andrew Simpson Watersports Centre on the edge of Langstone Harbour, just off the Eastern Road A2030, is home to a multitude of different water sports and adventure activities. Water sports include sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding plus archery and climbing. All equipment and training is provided as required.
In addition to this Royal Yachting Association accredited training can be undertaken at the centre such as RYA Powerboating and RYA Safety Boat. The centre offers multi activity experiences for children as part of the school curriculum or as summer holiday activities.
All Andrew Simpson Centre's are not-for-profit, so everything surplus to the running costs of the Centres goes straight back into the Andrew Simpson Foundation to support their work to transform the lives of young people through sailing. This means that every time you book a course, you are supporting the work of the charity and giving back to young people in the local community!
Address: Eastern Road, Portsmouth, PO3 5LY
Telephone: 02392 663873

Blue Reef Aquarium

What to do in Portsmouth

Situated on Clarence Esplanade overlooking the sea at Southsea, is the Blue Reef Aquarium. The aquarium has a great collection of undersea creatures from sharks to clownfish, seahorses to otters. Walk through the under water tunnel and view the under sea vista all around you, literally.

As well as sea creatures Blue Reef also has rain forests area featuring amphibians such as exotic frogs and iguanas. Blue Reef is located right on the seafront a few hundred yards west of the D-Day Story Museum where there is a large car park.
Address: Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, PO5 3PB
Telephone: 02392 875222

Charles Dickens Birthplace

Portsmouth Attractions, Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum

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, PO1 4QL.

D Day Story

Things to do in Portsmouth, D-Day Museum on Southsea Seafront at Portsmouth

The D Day Story 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.

The museum was extensively re-developed during 2017 and 2018 and was the centrepiece of the D-Day 75th anniversary commemorations during June 2019. For more details, visit our D-Day Story Museum page.

Address: D-Day Museum, Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, PO5 3NT


Portsmouth Attractions, Exploria at the Pyramids Centre

Exploria is an exciting new soft play and adventure centre located within the Pyramids Centre on Southsea Seafront.

There is the Junior Play Zone for 5 - 12 years olds, featuring climbs, slides and ball pits. The Bounce Activity Zone for 5 year olds and above with battle beam, foam pits, stunt boxes, log rolls, a dive tower, climb and slide features. Toddler and Baby Zone featuring stepping stones, ball pools, skywalks, rope bridges, bash bags, prism maze, slippery slides and tunnels.

There is also a cafe for light meals, snacks and drinks.

Address: Pyramids Centre, Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, PO5 3ST

Fort Nelson

Places to visit in Portsmouth

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, it is an imposing brick built Victorian fort.
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.
In addition to the armouries collection, Fort Nelson has a network of underground tunnels, which you can explore, used to travel around the forts defensive positions. For more details visit our For more details visit our Fort Nelson page.

Address: Fort Nelson, Portsdown Hill Road, Fareham, PO17 6AN

Gunwharf Quays

Portsmouth Attractions

Gunwharf Quays is an attractive and vibrant retail and entertainment complex which was redeveloped from the decommissioned HMS Vernon site, at Portsmouth Harbour.

Gunwharf features designer shopping, bars and restaurants located on the waterfront at Portsmouth Harbour. Enjoy and meal and a drink whilst watching the ships sail past in Portsmouth Harbour at the foot of the Spinnaker Tower. For more details visit our Gunwharf Quays page.

Address: Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, PO1 3TZ

Portsmouth City Museum

What to do in Portsmouth

The City Museum located in the former Clarence and Victoria Barracks building, is situated on Museum Road close to Old Portsmouth and the University of 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 features local history, there are recreations of a 17th century bedroom, a 1930's kitchen and a 1950's living room. The museum also has an Art Gallery and a temporary exhibition gallery which is used to host touring exhibitions, such as the D-Day Portraits.
Address: Museum Road, Portsmouth, PO1 2LJ

Portsmouth Guildhall

Attractions in Portsmouth

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, PO1 2AB
Tel: 0844 847 2362

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Things to do in Portsmouth

Portsmouth Historic 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 opened 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 artefacts and technology.
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

Royal Garrison Church

Portsmouth Attractions

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. Read more at our Royal Garrison Church page.

Address: Penny Street, Old Portsmouth, PO1 2NJ

Southsea Seafront

Portsmouth tourist attractions

Southsea Seafront is a fantastic open space, with numerous attractions for all of the family, from the Blue Reef Aquarium, Pyramids Centre, Southsea Castle and Canoe Lake. Don't forget Clarence Pier Fun Fair and the recently renovated South Parade Pier and of course the beach.

The seafront also has some great spots for a family picnic and quiet gardens where you can enjoy the beautiful plants and flowers.

Visit our Southsea Seafront page.

Southsea Skatepark

Portsmouth Attractions, Southsea Skatepark

Established in 1978, Southsea Skatepark is located on Clarence Esplanade just north of Southsea Castle. Southsea Skatepark has a range of facilities a snake run bowl, pool slalom run bowl, concrete keyhole bowl, a banked freestyle area, 14ft high / 40ft wide vert ramp plus a gring ramp and various other ramps.

The skatepark has qualified first aid staff, marshalls and equipment hire. There is an on site cafe and spectator areas.

Address: Southsea Skatepark, Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, PO5 3NZ

Spinnaker Tower

Things to do in Portsmouth UK

Overlooking Portsmouth Harbour at Gunwharf Quays, the Spinnaker Tower is the tallest publicly accessible structure in the UK outside of London.

Built to celebrate the new millennium, the Spinnaker Tower boasts fantastic views of Portsmouth, Portsmouth Harbour across the Solent to the Isle of Wight and along the south coast.

Read more at our Spinnaker Tower page.

Address: Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, PO1 3TT

Places to visit in Portsmouth and Southsea

What to do in Portsmouth Things to do in Portsmouth Portsmouth attractions Places to visit in Portsmouth