Portsmouth is the United Kingdom's only island city. The island is separated from the mainland to the north by a narrow creek, bridged in places to make it a peninsula in appearance.
As a significant naval port for centuries, Portsmouth is home to the world's oldest dry dock still in use and also home to some famous ships, including HMS Warrior, the Tudor carrack Mary Rose and Lord Nelson's flagship, HMS Victory. Although smaller than in its heyday, the naval base remains a major dockyard and base for the Royal Navy and Royal Marine Commandos. There is also a thriving commercial ferryport serving destinations on the continent for freight and passenger traffic.
The Spinnaker Tower is a striking recent addition to the city's skyline. It can be found in the redeveloped former HMS Vernon, formerly a shore establishment of the Royal Navy, now an area of retail outlets, restaurants, clubs and bars now known as Gunwharf Quays.
Southsea is a seaside resort located within the naval town of Portsmouth, is an all year holiday destination. It boasts a 4 mile long promenade with views across the Solent. The centre of Southsea is within a mile of Portsmouth's city centre. Southsea also has a vibrant social scene with numerous bars and eateries which cater for a range of budgets and tastes.
Portsmouth is located in the county of Hampshire on the southern coast of England, notable as the birthplace of the Royal Navy. Hampshire is a popular holiday area and Its tourist attractions include many seaside resorts, the motor museum at Beaulieu, with national parks in both New Forest and the South Downs (covering some 45% of the county). The county is famed as home of such writers as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, as well as the birthplace of engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
The climate is much milder than that of the surrounding areas. Located on the south coast, Portsmouth also receives more sunshine per annum than most of the UK. The average maximum temperature in July is 22C, with the average minimum being 15C. The record high temperature is 35C.
Many sporting activities are available, kite surfing, wind surfing, sailing, football club (Pompey), golf, tennis, cricket.
The Common is a popular recreation ground, and also serves as the venue for a number of annual events, including the Southsea Show, Para Spectacular, Military Vehicle Show, Kite Festival and a variety of circuses including the Moscow State Circus and Chinese State Circus.
Throughout the summer, there are regular open air concerts and events at the bandstand and on Castle Field.
There are a number of miniature golf courses, a skateboard park, 3 beach volleyball courts and public grass and clay tennis courts. Towards the eastern end of the seafront is the Royal Marines Museum based in the lavishly decorated former Officers' Mess of Eastney Barracks (built in the 1860s for the Royal Marine Artillery).
On a cultural note, the City has strong literary ties; it was the birth-place of Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Connan-Doyle practiced medicine at Southsea where he wrote his first Sherlock Holmes novel and H.G.Wells worked in a drapers shop on the corner of Kings Road. Engineering genius Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born in Portsmouth in 1806The Kings Theatre, situated in Albert Road, is a venue that hosts a rich programme of performances, including productions by the local amateur group the Southsea Shakespeare Actors.
One of the favourite attractions to visit in Southern England is Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard, home to some of the most famous ships in history, such as Henry VIII's favourite ship The Mary Rose, and the Royal Navy's most famous warship - HMS Victory, and HMS Warrior - Britain's first iron-hulled, armoured battleship. Add to this the fascinating Mary Rose Museum, The Royal Naval Museum, and the new interactive attraction Action Stations
For art lovers there is a choice of galleries, these include the Artists Harbour Gallery located in the Dockyard area, and there is an Arts Centre in the City Library. As for museums, the list is almost endless, here you can see, savour and explore no less than 12 museums all within a short distance of each other and each with its own unique displays giving extraordinary glimpses of Portsmouth's rich historic past, and its history right up to the 20th-century.
For modern day attractions, look no further than impressive Spinnaker Tower which at 170 meters high has changed the skyline forever. The tower is the tallest tower outside London in which visitors can rise to a dizzy 110 meters, whilst enjoying fabulous sea and coastal views. It is the centre of Gun Wharf Quays, an outlet mall with over 90 outlets for a little retail therapy.
Couple all this with cinema's, theatre's, entertaining pubs and restaurants with a wide choice of exciting cuisine and you have a recipe for a really special visit be it a flying weekend or a longer stay.
The summer season offers numerous additional activities for kids and adults with entertainment on the common, docks and at the museums. There are children's sessions at the local libraries, summer camps and activities at sports centres and lots to see at the theatre
Train and buses within easy walking distance for day trips out to Chichester, Brighton, London and to the harbour for ferries and hovercraft to Isle of Wight and France.
By car via M3/A3 and M27,
By train from London Waterloo or Victoria to Fratton Station
Nearest Airport, Southampton 30km
The City has a population of 207,100 and is the only city in England with a greater population density than London.
The City of Portsmouth and Portsmouth Football Club are both nicknamed Pompey. It is thought to have derived from shipping entering Portsmouth harbour making an entry in their logs as Pom.
P. in reference to Portsmouth Point. Another theory is that it is named after, what was the harbour's guardship, Le Pompee, an 80 gun French battleship captured in 1793.
Portsmouth’s Coat of Arms, the crescent and eight-point star in gold on a blue shield, dates back to King Richard The Lionheart. His awarding of the arms could possibly reflect a significant involvement of Portsmouth soldiers, sailors or vessels in the defeat of Isaac Komnenos of Cyprus in The Third Crusade.