The 10 BEST things to do in Portsmouth

Portsmouth, the coastal gateway to the Isle of Wight and a historical sea front destination has lots of interesting and fun family attractions. With careful planning and military or – more appropriately ‘naval style’ organisation to be true to Portsmouth’s heritage – you can combine a number of attractions in just one day.

We’ve compiled below ten of the best things to do in Portsmouth including a range of attractions and activities for kids, adults and with grandparents.

Adventurous things to do in Portsmouth

Blue Reef Aquarium is a great Portsmouth activity
Blue Reef Aquarium is a great Portsmouth activity

Get your bearings and view a number of Portsmouth’s Top Attractions from the top of the Emirates Spinnaker Tower. Soaring 170 metres above Portsmouth Harbour, the Emirates Spinnaker Tower is taller than the London Eye, Blackpool Tower and Big Ben. If you have a head for heights walk across the glass sky walk or feel the sea breeze in your hair on the sky deck.

At the foot of Emirates Spinnaker Tower, follow the historic chain link walk to the Camber Dock and the home of Wightlink ferry departures. Wave goodbye to lucky Wightlink holiday-makers as they travel from Portsmouth to Fishbourne on the car-ferry.

Hovertravel is just the other side of Clarence Pier and is the world’s longest running and only commercial hovercraft operator in Europe. Crossing the Solent in just 10 minutes, crowds gather on the beach to watch as the hovercraft skims across the shingle and hovers above the waves over to Ryde Pier. If you’re buying a ticket check out the offers which may also include free entrance to Emirates Spinnaker Tower.

Family attractions in Portsmouth

Next stop – the Blue Reef Aquarium. An undersea safari experience and opportunity to stroke the rays or have a close up encounter with puffer fish and tropical sharks! During the summer, families can also take a break in the outside play area and splash pool which overlooks the Solent.

Spend the day discovering Portsmouth’s rich maritime history at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, the UK’s premier destination for naval history and a must-see for anyone visiting the South of England. One ticket gives you access to 11 attractions including HMS Victory, HMS Warrior 1860, HMS M. 33, and The National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth.

In the heart of the city, the majestic Portsmouth Guildhall is yours to explore with a changing programme of events, exhibitions, tours, workshops and casual dining at The Square Kitchen. As evening falls the Concert Hall hosts some of the world’s finest performers with an exciting programme of music, comedy, classical, dance, drama and family shows.

Alternatively, head in-land for a historic experience from a different era and visit the Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson. A free visitor attraction, located on top of Portsdown Hill, Fort Nelson was built to provide the fire power to deter an enemy attack on Portsmouth from inland. Explore 19 acres of ramparts, outer fortifications, secret underground tunnels, and ammunition bunkers. Will the Fort Nelson ghost give you shivers down your spine?

Discover life in Tudor England at The Mary Rose, TripAdvisor’s No 1 place to visit in Portsmouth, where visitors can experience life at the time of Henry VIII through the real objects that belonged to the crew of his ill-fated ship.

A day alone is not enough time to visit the Staunton Country Park. With a farm full of friendly animals, the south coast’s largest ornamental glasshouses, beautiful gardens and 1,000 acres of country park to explore there’s something for everyone.

Visit the new D-Day Story which tells the story of D-Day through the personal accounts of people who were there and nearly 500 objects associated with D-Day.

Things to do outside Portsmouth

Want to know the best attractions in the surrounding area? We also have guides on the best attractions in Winchester, the New Forest, East Hampshire, Southampton and North Hampshire.