The waterfront city of Portsmouth is the perfect destination for a family-friendly short summer break, offering a variety of activities from the stunning coastline to the fun filled history, heritage and learning experiences. The wide range of safe yet enjoyable physical activities available include cycle hire, swimming and tennis courts. Good quality family accommodation and family friendly restaurants make the historic city an all-round summer destination.
Visitors can start their visit on a high with unrestricted views of The Solent, The Isle of Wight and the rolling hills of Hampshire’s South Downs, plus a unique perspective on Portsmouth from 100m above the city harbour at Gunwharf Quays. Experience the thrill of crossing the amazing glass Sky Walk. www.spinnakertower.co.uk
Blue Reef Aquarium
Overlooking the busy but beautiful Solent, Portsmouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium takes visitors on the ultimate undersea safari, from the rich variety of British waters to the beauty of a tropical coral reef. Over 40 displays include an otter holt and a giant tropical reef tank that is home to a variety of tropical sharks and stingray, black tip reef sharks, crested horn sharks, terrapins, frilled dragons and much more. www.bluereefaquarium.co.uk/portsmouth
The Pyramids Centre swimming pool
The Pyramids Centre is one of Portsmouth’s largest entertainment, leisure and event complexes, located just off Southsea Beach. The venue boasts a variety of activities for all ages with fun leisure pools, funky flumes, wacky waves, pool inflatables and a three-level soft play adventure world filled with mazes, climbing nets and ball pits, as well as a multipurpose gym, fitness classes including Zumba, Yoga and Health Circuits and an in-house spa. www.bhliveactive.org.uk/centres/pyramids-centre
As the UK’s only island city, Portsmouth is surrounded on all four sides with water making it a prime destination for watersports. Portsmouth Watersports Centre offers a variety of water-based activities including sailing, rowing, powerboating, kayaking, canoeing and paddle-boarding. For wakeboarding or kitesurfing action head to South Coast Wakepark; home of the UK’s longest System 2.0 straightline cable. For a more relaxing experience on the water visitors can charter a yacht with skipper to sail the Solent, cruising past Portchester Castle, the Emirates Spinnaker Tower and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
Charles Dickens Birthplace
Portsmouth has touched the lives and works of Britain’s most famous writers from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to Michelle Magorian, from H.G. Wells to Neil Gaiman. The city’s most famous son is Charles Dickens, novelist, journalist, and social commentator, who was born at 1 Mile End Terrace (now re-named 393 Old Commercial Road) on 7 February 1812. Explore the museum displays and furnished rooms which bring Dickens’ birthplace to life. The Dickens Fellowship provide readings at 3pm on the first Sunday of every month. Guided Walks by Portsmouth Tour Guides take place on various dates over the year www.charlesdickensbirthplace.co.uk
Sherlock Holmes story
The world-class Conan Doyle Collection at Portsmouth Museum brings together books, photographs, objects, documents and memorabilia chronicling the life of Conan Doyle and beyond. With magnifying glasses at the ready, visitors can conduct their own investigation of the famous writer, his works, life and legacy, including the Portsmouth-born, world-famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. www.visitportsmouth,.co.uk/conandoyle
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Visit some of the finest maritime heritage in the world including the National Museum of the Royal Navy and historic ships Mary Rose, HMS Victory and HMS Warrior 1860. The all-attraction ticket is valid all year round and includes unlimited entry to all attractions, ships and museums. Included for free is the mast-rigging where visitors can experience what it would be like to be a sailor on the high seas in Boathouse 4 by climbing to the top of the mast.
NEW in 2017 is Women and the Royal Navy: Pioneers to Professionals an exhibition which tells the incredible 250-year long story of women working in the Naval Service. The exhibition opens in the centenary year of the Woman’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) formation and highlights women’s vital role in defending Britain’s shores.
For the first time ever, The Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s flagship, provides unrestricted views of the ship and life-sized projections of the crew. A new Mary Rose app provides even more information and enjoyment for a visit.
The new visitor’s route on board the world’s most famous warship, HMS Victory, offers visitors the opportunity to try the new audio guide as the drama of the battle of Trafalgar unfolds, deck-by-deck, hour by hour, when the ship sets sail from Portsmouth.
The beach at Portsmouth stretches along the whole southern end of Portsea Island from Old Portsmouth to the conservation area of Eastney. Next to the beach and seafront promenade, Southsea Common is a vast open space, ideal for kite flying, informal ball games and picnics as well as barbecues at designated zones.
Visitors can get out onto the water with a harbour tour and access the Gosport-based attractions, including the only remaining Second World War-era submarine, HMS Alliance before visiting neighbouring Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower which tells the exciting story of naval warfare.
For more inspiration and to find out about accommodation available visit www.visitportsmouth.co.uk