A pleasant coastal city with plenty to see and do for all ages, Portsmouth is establishing itself as a popular tourist destination. The city boasts a lively arts scene and busy cultural calendar, a diverse dining scene, plenty of family-friendly attractions and accommodation options that take in everything from chic boutique hotels and cosy guest houses to large scale chain hotels. There are good transport links with many key destinations around the UK and the attractive surrounding countryside makes Portsmouth a good base for visitors who want to be close to the great outdoors while benefiting from all the advantages of a major city. Situated between Southampton and trendy, artsy Brighton Portsmouth is less than two hours from London by rail or road.
Visitors to Portsmouth will find all transport options available to them, as the city is easily accessed by road, rail, air and sea. Portsmouth's central rail station benefits from direct rail routes to London, Southampton, Bristol, Cardiff, Brighton, Reading and Exeter. It is connected to further destinations throughout the UK via transfers at these major stations. The city is also served by the National Express coach service, connecting it with towns and cities across Great Britain. Those arriving by car will find ample parking in Portsmouth and London is just an hour and a half's drive away along the A3. Meanwhile, the city is connected with Britain's motorway network via the M27 and A27.
The city is also well served in terms of air transport – domestic flights, along with flights to and from several locations in France, Holland and the Channel Islands, arrive at Southampton International Airport, less than 25 miles from Portsmouth, while London Heathrow and London Gatwick are just 60 miles away. Meanwhile, the city's Continental Ferry Port provides routes to the Channel Islands, Spain and France and services run every day of the week from Portsmouth Harbour to Gosport and the beautiful Isle of Wight.
Things to See and Do
Whether you're heading out on a shopping spree, keen to take in some culture or just looking for pure entertainment, Portsmouth has plenty to offer. The city's seafaring history is brought to life at the Historic Dockyard, where visitors can view historic ships, learn about life on board the legendary HMS Victory and Mary Rose warships and take a boat trip around the harbour. Further kid-friendly options include the Blue Reef Aquarium, with its weird and wonderful creatures of the deep and an indoor play centre for very young visitors. There's bowling and a multi-screen cinema at the Gunwharf Quays development, which is also home to enough shops, bars and restaurants to keep the grown ups entertained. There are good museums and galleries in the city and it is even possible to pay a visit to the former home of legendary writer Charles Dickens at the Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum. There is a lively arts scene in Portsmouth too, with two theatres and regular free cultural events.
Drinking and Dining
Foodies visiting Portsmouth are in for a real treat. The city hosts two annual food festivals and the farmers markets held regularly here offer an opportunity to sample everything from award-winning cheeses and meats to wonderfully fresh fruits and vegetables. There's no shortage of options when it comes to dining out either – head to Albert Road in the Southsea area of the city and you will find traditional British fish and chips to South American barbeque restaurarnts, Spanish Tapas, Italian pizza and pasta and even Mongolian and African restaurants. Al fresco drinking and dining by the water is a pleasant option during the summer months, while the indoor Gunwharf Quays complex combines bars, restaurants and nightclubs, making it a popular rainy day (and rainy night) choice.
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