In the unlikely event that you run out of ‘studenty’ activites to partake in (lying in bed watching Netflix?) I thought I’d think of a few things that I’ve done whilst in Portsmouth that I should share with others. Some are pretty obvious options, touristy things that are still well worth doing, whereas others may be a bit more unusual or things that you might not know even exist!
1) Go to the historic dockyards
One of the more obvious options, and you may have potentially been on a school trip previously, though there have been some more recent changes so a revisit would definitely be worth it! Tickets are more on the pricier side (£20-£25) but they’re valid for a whole year, so you could go back as many times as you like, as you’d probably be pushed to fit everything in one day! One thing I would definitely recommend would be the boat trip, which takes you all the way up the harbor where you can see the Navy boats, and then round the front of Gunwharf Quays where you can choose to get off or return to the dockyards. The Mary Rose museum opened within the last year or two as well so will be worth a trip for sure.
2) Go down to the seafront
There are multiple things to do down at the seafront, whether you choose to sit on the beach, be brave enough to have a dip in the sea or relax with an ice cream! Clarence pier has a massive amusement arcade, and you can play crazy golf and have a go on the rides. From Clarence Pier you can also take a walk through Old Portsmouth, which has some really lovely pubs overlooking the water – definitely try the Fish and Chips at the Still and West
3) See the guinea pigs in Victoria Park
In my first year I discovered, along with my course friends, a Park which you can get to round the side of Guildhall, past the war memorial. We were having a walk through the park when we found a large aviary in the middle. In there they house a variety of birds, as well as rabbits and guinea pigs!
4) Palmerston Road
Palmy Road is maybe a place not as well known to students as Commerical Road, particularly amongst the first years living in halls. However, this lovely shopping area which leads down to the common often has markets on at the weekends, good for a browse even if you don’t buy anything! There is also some nice, independent coffee shops around there too.
5) Southsea Common
Perhaps more a summer activity, the common is a perfect place to go and sunbathe (when the sun eventually surfaces) or revise with your friends during exam period, and when the exams are eventually over, a great place to have a BBQ or kick a football around.
6) Canoe Lake
One thing I have never done but vow to do before I graduate is to hire one of the pedalo boats at Canoe Lake, it looks so much fun and a great way to enjoy the sunshine! There is also a really nice café over the road that makes really scrummy brownies.
7) D-day Museum
I think whilst you are in Portsmouth it is important to learn about its history. At the D-day Museum you can find out more about Portsmouths role in the Second World War and particularly what happened on and leading up to D-day.
8) Garage Lounge Café/Tenth Hole
These are two cafes that make the most amazing cakes and are perfect when you need a little pick me up!
9) Albert Road
If you’ve got a free morning or afternoon and fancy a wander and a rummage around for some quirky bits and pieces, Albert Road is the place to go.
10) Spinnaker Tower
As with the dockyards, this is another of the more obvious options but a trip up to the top of the Spinnaker Tower is a must whilst you’re in Portsmouth. It’s not as expensive as you might think, as you can get student/resident discount, so it’s under £10 to go up to the top, though I’ve found it’s a good place to go with your parents when they come and visit for the day!
11) Portsdown Hill
Portsdown Hill is to the north of the island, and you will either need a car or to get a bus here, but on a clear day you can see the whole of the island so its good to go for a picnic or even if you just fancy a drive. It’s equally as spectacular at night when you can see all the lights of the city.