Portsmouth is a dynamic and vibrant waterfront city, offering a fantastic blend of modern and traditional, with a massive variety of entertainment and cultural landmarks for your attendees to enjoy while at your event. Portsmouth is unique in that it is the only island City in the UK.
With a population of nearly 240,000, Portsmouth is one of the most densely populated Cities in the UK. It’s compact size means getting around Portsmouth is easy. Being relatively flat, it’s easy to walk or cycle pretty much everywhere. However, if speed is essential, the City is served by a comprehensive public transport network, including bus routes across the whole City, 5 mainline train stations, and four major taxi firms (including Uber). Portsmouth has over 2,600 hotel bed spaces, with dozens of smaller B&Bs supplementing this supply.
Portsmouth International Port combines domestic and international ferry crossings with a bustling cargo port and cruise ship port of call. With crossings serving the Channel Islands, France and Spain, Portsmouth Port has the easiest access and most routes for ferries to these destinations.
One of the most well known districts of Portsmouth is Gunwharf Quays, a premium retail and leisure outlet. Boasting dozens of shops, bars and restaurants, Gunwharf also offers a 14-screen Vue cinema, Hollywood Bowl bowling lanes, and Grosvenor Casino, as well as a marina with stunning views of the Harbour. At the heart of Gunwharf is the 170m tall Emirates Spinnaker Tower, which offers near-surround views of up to 23 miles.
The Southsea Seafront boasts four miles of shoreline, packed full of places to visit and things to do, including two Piers with amusement arcades, sea-side fish & chips, and family activities. All along the shorefront are a fantastic selection of independent coffee shops and restaurants, areas of natural beauty, and historic attractions. For a relaxing atmosphere, you could visit the Southsea Rock Gardens located next to the Pyramids Leisure Centre, or the beautifully floral Southsea Rose Garden.
Nearby Southsea Common is a large, communal open area, often used for outdoor events, and hosts such fantastic experiences as Victorious Festival and the Great South Run, and is also a favourite picnic and BBQ spot among Portsmouth residents.
Southsea Castle, rumoured to be the site where Henry VIII watched the Mary Rose sink into the Solent, also lies on the shorefront, and offers a Courtyard Café, microbrewery, and champagne bar, as well as the fortifications and moat that were key features of this historic defensive fort.
Portsmouth is well known for it’s Naval and Maritime connections. The Historic Dockyard is the proud resting place of three of the nation’s most famous ships: HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, and the Mary Rose. Further along the seafront at Eastney is the newly refurbished D-Day Story, housing a massive collection of artefacts from the second World War, and telling the story of the Normandy Landings from both a military and civilian point of view.
If Arts and Culture is more your thing, you will find a comprehensive art and museums offering in Portsmouth. The Aspex Gallery in Gunwharf Quays is a contemporary art gallery that supports emerging artists and engages new audiences with visual art. Along with displays and collections that tell the life story of Portsmouth, City Museum displays the Lancelyn Green bequest of Sherlock Holmes memorabilia.
Almost unique for a City it’s size, Portsmouth is home to two Cathedrals. St Thomas’ Anglican Cathedral in Old Portsmouth, and St John’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in the City Centre. St Thomas’ offers guided tours for visitors.
Portsmouth boasts an excellent offering for those looking to exercise. In addition to world-class gym facilities at the brand new Village Hotel, Portsmouth also has two dedicate leisure centres, the Pyramids Centre on Southsea Seafront and the Mountbatten Centre to the north of Portsea Island. The City also has several water sports and tennis centres, including the recently refurbished Canoe Lake Leisure which hosts the Fuzion 100 Southsea Trophy as part of the British Lawn Tennis Association.
The City’s sporting reputation doesn’t end there however. The City is recently best known as the home of the Ben Ainslie Racing team, and UK host of the America’s Cup World Series, which saw tens of thousands of sailing fans come to the City. Portsmouth Football Club has it’s home at Fratton Park, with fans of the club being well known for being some of the most loyal and vocal.
Portsmouth is also a thriving University City, with it’s City campus accommodating around 24,000 students from over 140 countries!
Portsmouth is home to many well known personalities in British history. Arguably the most famous of these is Charles Dickens, whose birthplace is now a museum in Old Commercial Road. Another well known Portsmouth birth was British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, famous for his work on the SS Great Britain, The Great Western Railway, and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Actor Peter Sellers and Olympic athlete Roger Black were also born in Portsmouth. Literary great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle resided in the City, and it was here that he wrote the first two Sherlock Holmes novels, whilst he also played in goal for the Portsmouth Association Football Club.