10 things I love about living in Portsmouth

There are a lot of misconceptions about Portsmouth and Southsea. I’ve often been asked why I live here - why not cooler Brighton? Or sandier Bournemouth? Portsmouth can get a bad rep and some recent publicity – the closing of most of the shipbuilding and the moving of some of the Royal Navy have not helped.  Portsmouth is an incredibly proud city and there is immense support for local business and growth, and it has so much going for it. I’ve lived in and around Southsea most of my life – moving away for university and work for about 4 and half years but eventually the pull was too much and I came back – and here is why!

1) Tons of history

Portsmouth and Southsea is literally overflowing with history. From Charles Dickens Birthplace, the D-Day Museum, and then there is The Mary Rose, HMS Victory and HMS Warrior all located within Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. There is so much to see and do and Portsmouth Museum (did you know it's free!) is also a great place to take in the history of the city.

2) Independent bars, cafes and restaurants, shops

Portsmouth and Southsea is literally overflowing with independent shops, bars and cafes.  There has been a huge growth in the last few years. Traditionally located on Albert Road in Southsea they are now popping up all over the place. Some of my favourites are Southsea Coffee Company and Home for great coffee. Canvas at Portsmouth and Southsea Station is also fab.  A real favourite is abarbistro and recent additions of 6oz Burger, HUIS and Circolo Pizzeria mean that you don’t have to look too far to find an independent establishment when in town. If you're not sure just ask any local and they can point you in the right direction!

3) Victorious

Now in its 3rd year Victorious Festival is a 2 day music festival held on and around Castle Field in the beautiful seaside location of Southsea. Not only is it a music festival but over the weekend your Victorious ticket gives you free entry to all of the Seafront Attractions (including The Blue Reef Aquarium, D-Day Museum, Southsea Castle & demos at Southsea Skate Park. Not only that, it's really family friendly with a huge free kids area to keep the youngsters entertained

4) The Skyline

To see the magnificent skyline that Portsmouth has to offer hop onto the Gosport Ferry – and whilst you’re at it go to the Submarine Museum or take in the Boat House Cafe.  Or take a Harbour Tour of the naval port and see what Royal Navy ships are in dock – there is normally something pretty impressive.

5) The Pier

South Parade Pier has suffered a lot of troubles over the last few years, with multiple changes of ownership it has falling into a state of disrepair but with community and local council support and pressure there is hope for the pier yet. It’s such an icon of the city and we need to save it.

6) Portsmouth Football Club

FA Cup winners in 2008, promotion to Premier League in 2003 and widely publicised financial troubles and then relegation not once but twice means that PFC are now in League Two. However that’s not the whole story and Portsmouth became the largest fan-owned football club in England, after the Pompey Supporters Trust (PST) successfully gained possession of Fratton Park in April 2013 and Fratton regularly sees gates in excess of 16,000 – larger than some clubs in higher divisions, let alone a league 2 club. This gives you an indication of the pride of the people of Portsmouth placed on this team.

7) The beach and the seafront area

Ok it may not be sandy but the beach at Southsea is over 4 miles long and living only 500m from it I go every day to walk the dog. Add to this the Seafront cafes and bars plus numerous outdoor fitness classes and Park Run; it’s easy to see why locals love living here.

8) Sporting events

This year America’s Cup racing will return to British waters in the summer of 2015 when the America’s Cup World Series comes to Portsmouth, from July 23rd -26th. With expected spectator numbers of up to 500,000 people, the America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth promises to be sporting entertainment at its best and will showcase this city. Sir Ben Ainslie has set up his Team HQ here in the city. Add to that the Great South Run, which has been held here in Portsmouth until 1991 and the event regularly attracts in excess of 30,000 over the race weekend.

9) Gunwharf Quays and Spinnaker Tower

Gunwharf Quays is a premium outlet retail destination with 90 outlet stores and 30 restaurants, bars and cafés as well as being host to a 14-screen Vue cinema, 26-lane Bowlplex Bowling Alley, and Aspex art gallery. Additionally it houses the Spinnaker Tower built as part of the centrepiece of the Renaissance of Portsmouth Harbour Project and has become Portsmouth’s most prominent landmark. Visible beyond 23 miles away on a clear day the view is magnificent.

10) The Kings Theatre

The historic Kings Theatre opened on 30 September 1907 and has been managed by the Kings Theatre Trust Ltd who undertook the restoration of the building and the present day theatre has a seating capacity of 1600.  Not only is the Theatre a gorgeous building but also there is a hugely diverse range of productions that are staged year round. 

Caroline Sumners is a local resident and Director of Local travel and event planner Fifty One Degrees.

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#number# Comments

  1. Maryland
    I really want to leave London... I always lived by the sea and being in London for 2 and half years are not helping to fill in the missing of "sea water" in my life.
    My problem with moving is the wellbeing of my children and to find a job...
    Can u help me please cause you make me want to move there straight away.

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