Set along England’s south coast, Portsmouth is a city rich with heritage and history. An important naval base, the birthplace of esteemed author Charles Dickens, and home to H.G wells, Portsmouth’s literary and maritime past have made the city one of England’s great waterfront destinations.
Just a 90 minute drive from London, Portsmouth is also the UK’s only island city. Most of the main city is encapsulated within Portsea Island, a small but densely populated isle that’s connected to the mainland by three road bridges and pedestrian and rail crossings.
It’s also one of Britain’s best-positioned ferry, freight and cruise ports, providing onward connections to France, Spain and around the Channel Islands. With a shopping and leisure filled waterfront, plus a vibrant city centre, there’s no doubt that there is no shortage of fun activities for visitors docking in Portsmouth.
Portsmouth International Port is situated on the western side of Portsmouth Harbour, on Portsea Island. Portsea Island is separated from the mainland by the narrow channel of Portsbridge Creek, and is about 23 kilometres north of the Isle of Wight. The port area is easily accessible from the A3 motorway and Portsmouth Harbour train station.
Portsmouth enjoys a modern £16.5 million cruise and ferry terminal building that is well equipped for domestic and international passengers. As well as phone and Internet terminals, other facilities include:
- ATMs and currency exchange
- Viewing deck over Portsmouth Harbour
- Change rooms
- Coffee shop
- Bar and Restaurant.
There are also luggage trolleys available and plenty of short or long-term parking facilities within the port area.
How to Get Around
Because Portsmouth is so densely populated, getting around on foot is a great option. The majority of the sites are located around the waterfront and Southsea Common at the southern end of Portsea Island. For those wanting to explore further afield, ferries from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight across the Solent Sea run regularly for walk or drive-on passengers. The neighbouring city of Southampton is a 35 minute train ride away, while London’s Waterloo train station is approximately 2 hours away.
Travel times from the port:
- It is an 18 minute journey to Commercial Road in Portsmouth’s city centre
- It is a 23 minute journey to Portsmouth and Southsea train station
- It is a 34 minute journey to Portsmouth Royal Naval Museum
- It is a 55 minute journey to Clarence Esplanade at Southsea.
- It is a 34 minute journey to Southampton
- It is a 1 hour and 54 minute journey to Waterloo Station, London.
- It is an 8 minute journey to Spinnaker Tower
- It is a 10 minute journey to Old Portsmouth
- It is a 12 minute journey to the Blue Reef Aquarium on Clarence Esplanade.
- Currency - Portsmouth, like the rest of the United Kingdom, uses the pound (GBP), which is available in 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £1 coin denominations. Bank note denominations are: £5, £10, £20, £50 and £100.
- Time Zone - Portsmouth operates on Greenwich Mean Time Zone (UTC+0) but switches to British Summer Time (BST) from March till October. The clocks are moved forwards by 1 hour during this time.
- Weather - Portsmouth enjoys comparatively mild winters and its location on England’s south coast means it enjoys more sunshine each year than much of western Europe. Summer maximum temperatures average around 21.8 degrees Celsius, and during winter, an average high of 9.8 degrees Celsius can be expected.
- Spinnaker Tower - An eye-catching 170 metre tower shaped like a sail, the Spinnaker Tower offers panoramic vistas over the historic dockyards and the surrounding Portsmouth Harbour. Feel the wind in your face on the open air sky deck or enjoy coffee and cake in the enclose café on Deck 2. Adult tickets cost £7.00.
- Portsmouth Historic Dockyards - Poking around the historic dockyards makes for a great day out with plenty of attractions concentrated in the naval precinct. Explore the HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, and the HMS Alliance – the only remaining WW2 era ocean-going submarine. In the historic dockyards, the Royal Navy museum is worth a look, as is the recently opened boat shaped Mary Rose museum, with a 16th century Tudor ship being the major centrepiece.
- Southsea and Clarence Pier - The southern end of Portsea Island is brilliant for unobstructed waterfront views and has the perfect parkland setting for a picnic. Also in the Southsea precinct is the Blue Reef Aquarium and along the Clarence Pier is a small amusement park with rides and arcade games.