Treat yourself to a city break

Did you know that, as of the official 2015 figures, there are 69 cities across the UK (51 in England, 7 in Scotland, 6 in Wales and 5 in Northern Ireland)? This means anyone thinking of a city break is rather spoiled for choice - after all, you could spend every weekend in a different city and still end the calendar year with more left over.  So where should you choose for your next city break?

Well, we may be biased here, but we think Portsmouth is the ideal spot for your next city break. If you want a mix of culture, heritage and Instagram-worthy images to make everyone back home jealous, look no further.

The seaside city

Few cities in the UK can lay claim to having a coastline. Fewer still are islands of their very own. Well, in fact, there's only one island city, and that's us! Portsea Island is separated from the mainland by Portchester Creek - which is not only a feature that makes us unique but is itself a wonderfully scenic walking route. A leisurely stroll along the paths through Foxes Forest (as the locals call it) will make you forget pretty quickly that you're in an urban area. However, just a few miles away you have all the hustle and bustle you'd expect from a metropolitan area.

At the other end of Portsea Island is the seafront, running the length from Old Portsmouth in the west to Eastney which is - as its name alludes - in the east. There are miles of paved promenade to walk, from which you can look out to The Solent, the Isle of Wight, and the horizon.

A buzzing city atmosphere

Though Portsmouth's coast makes it unique, that isn't the only visitor attraction on offer. There is, in fact, a plentiful array of things to do - whatever your hobbies or interests. We have, for example, not one but two theatres designed by the renowned architect Frank Matcham. These are in addition to the Guildhall (which attracts the biggest touring bands, comedians and performers), the Wedgewood Rooms (a haven for up-and-coming acts) and plenty more.

If you want to hit the shops, there are all the high street favourites at Commercial Road, some big designer names at up to 60% off in Gunwharf Quays, and plenty of smaller independents dotted throughout the city. In fact, this independence doesn't start and end at a few shops and cafes, but is instead a whole culture that is fiercely defended throughout the city. Albert Road, Marmion Road and Osborne Road are just three areas where a lot of the big names are eschewed in favour of smaller, boutique places. For a holiday that's not a copy-and-paste of things you could do anywhere else, these places are an absolute must-see.

Cathedral city

Even though a cathedral isn't needed these days for city status, Portsmouth isn't short of one - we actually have two. There's the Anglican Cathedral (St Thomas) which overlooks Old Portsmouth, and the Roman Catholic Cathedral (St John the Evangelist) near the city centre.

St Thomas - commonly referred to as Portsmouth Cathedral - dates back to the 1180s. However, it has - of course - undergone major renovation and expansion since then. By comparison, the Roman Catholic Cathedral is relatively new, dating back to 1882.

Each cathedral is well worth a visit, if not for the religiosity then for the stunning architecture and centuries of history.

All of the above provides just a very small snapshot of the countless reasons to take a city break in Portsmouth. In addition to the beaches, walks, venues, shops, bars and cathedrals, there are plenty of other events, activities and fun things to do. So whilst there may be 69 cities in the UK, Portsmouth is truly unique.

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