Things to do in
Portsmouth, UK

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Our most recommended things to do in Portsmouth, UK

Portsmouth: Historic Dockyard Ultimate Explorer Ticket

1. Portsmouth: Historic Dockyard Ultimate Explorer Ticket

Visit the exhibitions at the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth in any order you want, and at any time you want within a year. Family and individual entries are available. Explore historic ships, including Lord Nelson’s world-famous flagship HMS Victory, Queen Victoria’s HMS Warrior, the First World War’s HMS M.33 and the new Horrible Histories Pirates exhibition. Marvel at Henry VIII's Tudor warship the Mary Rose, which is now included in the all-in-one ticket for 2021. Take the complimentary waterbus to Gosport and explore the Cold War submarine, HMS Alliance. Take a Harbour Tour to cruise around Portsmouth Harbour and see the ships of the modern Royal Navy.

The Mary Rose: Day Admission Ticket

2. The Mary Rose: Day Admission Ticket

Visit the new state-of-the-art museum built around King Henry VIII's flagship which sunk during battle off the coast Portsmouth in 1545. The ship was raised from the seabed in 1982 and the award-winning museum was built in 2013. Walk through a range of interactive displays in which 9,000 Tudor artifacts also rescued from the seabed have been reunited from the ship. See how these artefacts tell the story of life on board for the crew and officers in Tudor times. The Mary Rose is the only 16th century warship on display anywhere in the world, and houses the largest and most unique Tudor collection of objects. New for summer 2021: Experience "1545 - When their world ended", a brand new immersive experience that will take you back to July 19, 1545. Re-live the final moments on board the Mary Rose as it sinks during the Battle of the Solent. Step back in time to hear from King Henry VIII and the crew of Britains' most famous shipwreck. Experience the immersive Tudor warship sinking.

Portsmouth: Spinnaker Tower Ticket

3. Portsmouth: Spinnaker Tower Ticket

Experience the south coast’s most spectacular view. Spinnaker Tower stands at 170 meters tall, offering breath-taking 23-mile views over Portsmouth Harbour, the city, the Solent, the South Downs and the Isle of Wight. The iconic landmark boasts a high-speed lift and three sky-high viewing decks. Venture across the thrilling glass ‘Sky Walk’ at 100 meters above sea level; discover stories behind the surrounding sites with informative touchscreen displays; try vertigo-inducing virtual reality, breath in the view from the open air ‘Sky Garden’; relax in The Clouds with a coffee, a glass of bubbly or a decadent High Tea; and enjoy delicious meals made with locally sourced ingredients in the Waterfront Cafe.

Portsmouth: Hovercraft Flight to the Isle of Wight

4. Portsmouth: Hovercraft Flight to the Isle of Wight

Board your hovercraft for an adrenaline-filled day on the Isle of Wight. When the hovercraft reaches the island, you'll land in a prime sea front position along Ryde's beautiful and inviting beaches. Hop off and enjoy what Ryde and the Isle of Wight have to offer, including the beaches, boutique shops, bars and restaurants, and travel links to elsewhere across the island. After a day of fun on the island, enjoy a same-day return journey back to the Southsea terminal. The journey across the Solent is approximately 10 minutes. So sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight on the World's only commercial passenger hovercraft service.

HMS Victory: Day Admission Ticket

5. HMS Victory: Day Admission Ticket

Visit HMS Victory, the Royal Navy’s most famous battleship. Best known for her role in the battle of Trafalgar, the Victory is now the flagship of the first sea lord and a living museum to the Georgian Navy. New for 2021, HMS Victory Under Hull Walkway. Visitors can descend into the base of the dry dock and view the ship from below. The ship stands as a memorial to Vice-Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, Britain’s greatest naval hero, and his victory at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Climb aboard HMS Victory and step back in time to the Georgian period. See the cabin where the Battle of Trafalgar was planned. Walk the once crowded decks where over 800 men lived, worked and fought. You can even stand in the spot where Nelson died.

Portsmouth: The D-Day Story Entry Ticket

6. Portsmouth: The D-Day Story Entry Ticket

Enjoy a visit to Portsmouth’s fascinating D-Day Story and learn about this pivotal event that changed the course of World War Two. The D-Day Story is told in four parts, The Landing Craft Tank 7074, Preparation, D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, and the Overlord Embroidery. Discover the story of this fateful day through a series of exhibitions, workshops, and other activities, as well as over 10,000 fascinating items and artifacts. The D-Day Story is told through the personal accounts and possessions of the people who were there, and brought to life through stunning audio-visual presentations. By the end of your visit, you’ll have a better understanding of D-Day, and a renewed sense of respect for those who were part of it.

Portsmouth Self-Guided Mystery: Nelson's Stolen Diamonds

7. Portsmouth Self-Guided Mystery: Nelson's Stolen Diamonds

Turn the historic streets of Portsmouth into an exciting outdoor escape room with The Mystery of Nelson's Stolen Diamonds. Walk around the city as you solve the clues, eliminate the suspects, and unmask the mysterious thief behind Portsmouth's most daring robbery. The story follows Horatio Nelson on his last day on dry land before joining his ship to fight in the Battle of Trafalgar when he stored a valuable diamond necklace in a chest in one of Portsmouth’s many taverns for safekeeping. That night, the tavern was broken into and the necklace was stolen. It's up to you to hunt down the clues, eliminate suspects, and return to the scene of the crime to finally piece together the mystery and catch the elusive diamond thief. This experience combines a treasure hunt and a self-guided walking tour to create a unique way to see the key historical sights in the city. Visit the most atmospheric taverns and soak up true local stories of the city's most notorious characters and places.

3-day Isle of Wight & the Southern Coast Small-Group Tour

8. 3-day Isle of Wight & the Southern Coast Small-Group Tour

Day 1: Get your sunglasses and sun cream ready, you’re departing London and heading to the sunny, southern Isle of Wight. First, head to the ancient port-city of Portsmouth. This bustling spot blends modern marvels with centuries of sea-faring stories. You can grab a bite to eat here before your guide picks you up and takes you to the ferry at Gunwharf Terminal. It takes less than an hour and there’s plenty of onboard refreshments. Your first stop on the Isle of Wight is the important religious site of Quarr Abbey. The building here is beautiful and combines French, Byzantine, and Moorish designs. Then, you will get to meet some real local heroes. In the evening, you'll arrive at the unforgettably quaint village of Shanklin in time for an early dinner.  Day 2: Today, you’re going to discover the unmissable highlights of the Isle of Wight. After an enjoyable breakfast you will venture to the Yarborough Monument. This is the tallest monument on the island and celebrates the life of a wealthy earl from the 19th century. Continue to a photo-stop at the beautiful views of endless green fields at Brading Downs and then head to Osborne House - Queen Victoria's holiday destination! Explore the Italian-style building and discover pristine green gardens, ornate golden rooms, and historically fascinating artefacts. After witnessing that magnificent man-made marvel, it’s time to see the Isle of Wight’s most beautiful natural wonder, the Needles. These sharp white stacks that stick out of the ocean are beautiful to behold. You can hop on a boat to get close to them and venture to an old defensive battery that’s nearby. Your last stop today is at the cliffs of St. Catherine’s Down. As the sun starts to set, these epic cliffs and green valleys look stunning. You travel back to Shanklin in time for dinner. Day 3: In the morning, say goodbye to Shanklin and head on the ferry back to Portsmouth. Now that you’ve reacquainted yourself with the mainland, travel to one of England’s most history-soaked cities, Winchester. Visit the glorious cathedral, an ancient mill, cute cafes, and more than enough museums. After you’ve studied up on the history of England, it’s time to go have some fun. Visit the home of one of the world’s most popular gins, Bombay Sapphire. Once you’ve had enough of the tipple, it’s time to head back to London. Make a short stop at Runnymede before arriving in London in the evening.

From Brighton: Isle of Wight Full-Day Trip via Portsmouth

9. From Brighton: Isle of Wight Full-Day Trip via Portsmouth

Meet in central Brighton and travel by bus to the nearby city of Portsmouth. Learn about Britain's naval history before traveling to the Isle of Wight via the Wightlink Ferry. Get a great photo of Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower and its historic dockyard as you depart. Arrive at Fishbourne shortly before noon. Take a scenic 20-minute drive to the charming village of Godshill. Upon arrival, discover its medieval church and see its 500-year-old thatched cottages, tea shops, and the Model Village. Explore the village with your guide and learn more about local history. Continue to Alum Bay, famous for its multi-colored sand cliffs and "the Needles". Choose between a chairlift ride or a walk down the steps to the picturesque beach. Enjoy the views of this scenic location, with plenty of fantastic photo opportunities. After some time here, travel back to Fishbourne for a 6:00 PM journey back to the mainland, followed by drop-off in Brighton.

Southampton–London via Salisbury, Stonehenge & Windsor

10. Southampton–London via Salisbury, Stonehenge & Windsor

The first stop on your excursion is Salisbury, boasting one of the finest Gothic Cathedrals in Britain, built in the 13th century, and a stunning medieval town center. You’ll spend an hour in Salisbury before departing for mysterious Stonehenge. The drive from Salisbury to Stonehenge takes you through some beautiful English countryside and villages, passing historic churches and thatched cottages. Before arriving at Stonehenge your guide will tell you about the many myths, legends, and facts surrounding this prehistoric structure. Stonehenge has been described as one of the greatest mysteries of the prehistoric world. Was it a temple, a clock, a burial site, or something else? On arrival you’ll have time for a visit and an audio-guided tour around the world famous stones (admission fee not included), or time to browse the gift shop. After 90 minutes at Stonehenge you’ll depart for Royal Windsor, where you’re scheduled to arrive in time for a late lunch. You’ll then have some time to explore the city and castle. Windsor Castle is the largest continuously occupied castle in the world and your guide will tell you about its history from William the Conqueror to the current Queen (admission not included, closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays). If you opt not to enter Windsor castle, enjoy a stroll through the old town and Eton. The coach departs Windsor at 16:00 and passengers will be dropped off at major Heathrow hotels beginning at 16:45. When booking, please specify your hotel and the terminal, if applicable. Drop offs are also provided at terminals 1-5. A drive into London is next, which is less than an hour from Heathrow. The guide will manage the hotel drop offs, where additional vehicles or taxis may be used (included in the price) to ensure the hotel drops are completed as quickly as possible. Drop off options include 250 London hotels and selected main line London train stations.

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What people are saying about Portsmouth, UK

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 694 reviews

This was the second day of our visit to the Dockyard (having spent a great first day the previous day). We targeted the Warrior this time plus some extra photo shots of the Victory. The people on board the Warrior were extremely well informed and enthusiastic in their explanations of the history/function/workings of the vessel.

Easy to book online. Check in lady very helpful. Easy to walk around this area. Found everything easily, all staff at all exhibits very helpful. Word of caution. HMS Victory lower decks are VERY low and despite crouching managed to hit my head a few times!

The atmosphere was amazing, and the sheer amount of work that has gone into putting the exhibition together was awesome! It really felt like you were taking a step back in time - without the TARDIS!

A fantastic way to be able to see everything the historic dockyard has to offer.

Fascinating history and wonderful knowledgeable staff