Located on England’s south coast, Portsmouth is renowned for its important role in British maritime history. Generally considered to be the home of the Royal Navy, it’s also the birthplace of Charles Dickens and acclaimed engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. As well as exploring ‘Pompey’s’ historic warships, you can also find plenty of other things to do down its ancient city streets.
The best place to begin your tour of Portsmouth is at its historical hub of Portsea. Here, you’ll find the Historic Dockyard which is home to legendary warships such as HMS Warrior, HMS Victory and the remains of the Tudor-era Mary Rose. To delve deeper into the history behind these illustrious vessels, you can head to the National Museum of the Royal Navy or the Mary Rose Museum. Once you’ve loaded up on maritime trivia, you can explore the city’s literary heritage at the Charles Dickens’ Birthplace Museum – a small terraced house where the famous author was born in 1812.
Portsmouth’s maritime associations are evident as you wander through any part of the city. The sail-shaped Spinnaker Tower lets you take in views across the harbour from 110 metres up in its Sky Garden or across the glass-floored Sky Walk. Plenty of shops and restaurants can be found in Gunwharf Quays, which was built on a former military site where ammunition was stored. Be sure to also take a stroll along the Southsea Beach promenade before grabbing a drink in one of Old Portsmouth’s harbourside pubs.