Portsmouth is the United Kingdom's only island city. Located in the county of Hampshire, on the south coast of England and surrounded by national parks in the New Forest and the South Downs, the island is separated from the mainland to the north by a narrow creek, bridged in places to make it a peninsula in appearance.
Notable as the birthplace of the Royal Navy, 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.
On a cultural note, the City has strong literary ties; it was the birth-place of Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Connan-Doyle practiced medicine 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 1806.
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.
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.
Southsea is a seaside resort located within 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.
Southsea's beach is mostly flint gravel, but with sand exposed at low tide. There are two piers: South Parade Pier and Clarence Pier; both house amusement arcades. South Parade Pier also contains a function room and a bar area. Clarence Pier is adjacent to a permanent funfair. There are beach huts opposite Southsea Beach by the Rose garden, opposite the coffee cup, and on the beach at Eastney
Couple this with cinema's, theatres, 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.