The best 10 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.

Spinnaker Tower
Spinnaker Tower

Adventurous things to do in Portsmouth

Get your bearings and view a number of Portsmouth’s Top Attractions from the top of the Spinnaker Tower. Soaring 170 metres above Portsmouth Harbour, the 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 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.

Let your phone guide you to explore and uncover new things in the city of Portsmouth with Text Quest there are 3 quests to choose from – City by the Sea, States and Stories and Death in the Dockyard! Explore the city in a way you’ve never seen before.

Family attractions in Portsmouth

Clarence Pier
Clarence Pier

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 The Mary Rose Museum, HMS Victory, HMS Warrior 1860, HMS M. 33, and The National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth.

With a wide variety of performances there is something for the whole family at the beautiful Victorian Grade II Listed New Theatre Royal. From Stand-up Comedy; Intimate evenings with; Dance; Music and Drama, full-scale Musicals to inspiring, and challenging new work, and of course an annual Pantomime.

As one of the largest pleasure piers on the south coast, Clarence Pier Southsea has the perfect mix of attractions for all ages, whether you want to brave their rollercoasters, get wet on the canyon river ride or win prizes in the arcades. You’re sure to have fun!!!

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?

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.

Staunton Farm
Staunton Farm

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.

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