a station-by-station guide for UK tourist attractions

Portsmouth Harbour
Portsmouth & Southsea

National Rail | Harbour PMH | P & Southsea PMS

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The historic city of Portsmouth has a rich naval and maritime history. The ornamental King James's and Landport Gates (both EH) were once part of Portsmouth's defences. Gunwharf Quays (¼ mile from Harbour station) is a large shopping centre with many outlet stores and the landmark Spinnaker Tower (see below).

The Hard Interchange Bus Station is adjacent to Portsmouth Harbour station and served by most local bus routes.

From the pier at Portsmouth Harbour station there are ferries to Gosport (see below) and Ryde on the Isle of Wight, the Ryde Ferry is operated by Wightlink. Through bookings including the ferries to Gosport and the Isle of Wight are available from National Rail stations.

Southsea is the seaside resort area of Portsmouth, the beach is mostly gravel with some sand exposed at low tide.

From Southsea Hoverport (1 mile from both stations) there are hovercraft to Ryde operated by Hovertravel. A 'Hoverbus' service links the stations with Southsea Hoverport. Through bookings including the Hovercraft and linking Hoverbus are available from National Rail stations.

TI tel. 023 9282 6722.

Distances to the attractions are shown from Portsmouth Harbour station (except where marked *) as that is the nearest station in most cases. Attractions in Southsea are about the same distance from both stations.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard ¼ mile

A large site with a great deal to see including Nelson's flagship HMS Victory, HMS Warrior launched in 1860, HMS M.33 from the First World War, and Henry VIII's favourite warship Mary Rose raised from the Solent in 1982. Plus the National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth and exhibitions about battles and life in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. Harbour tours and children's activities. A waterbus operates to additional attractions across the Harbour in Gosport. Cafés and picnic areas. Tel. 023 9289 9766.
Open Daily 1000-1700.

Spinnaker Tower ¼ mile

A distinctive landmark with spectacular views of Portsmouth and the surrounding coast from the viewing deck. Café. Events programme. Tel. 023 9285 7520.
Open Daily 1000-1730.

Portsmouth Museum ½ mile

The history of Portsmouth and its people, including the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his most famous character, Sherlock Holmes. Reconstructions of a 17th century bedchamber, 1871 dockyard worker's kitchen, Victorian parlour, 1930s kitchen and 1950s living room. Fine and Decorative Art from the 17th century to the present day. Café. Events programme. Tel. 023 9283 4779. Admission free.
Open TWThFSSu & BH 1000-1700.

Portsmouth Cathedral ¾ mile

Officially known as the Cathedral Church of St Thomas of Canterbury, the building dates from the 12th century. Medieval features remain alongside the more recent additions. Tel. 023 9282 3300.
Open Daily 0830-1730.

Royal Garrison Church EH ¾ mile

The roofed and furnished chancel of a 13th century church damaged by bombing in 1941. Fine 20th century stained-glass windows with scenes from the Second World War and the church's own history. Admission free.
Open Apr-Sep, TWThFS 1100-1600.

Clarence Pier 1 mile

A large family theme park with rides, arcades and play areas. Restaurant and other food and drink outlets. Tel. 023 9282 1455.
Open times vary, please see website.

Portsmouth map

D-Day Museum 1½ miles

The story of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France, on 6 June 1944 which proved to be a turning point in the Second World War. A highlight is the Overlord Embroidery which was inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry. Tel. 023 9282 6722.
Open closed for refurbishment until spring 2018.

Blue Reef Aquarium 1½ miles

Many creatures of our underwater world including sharks, rays, otters, crabs, shrimps, clownfish and jellyfish. Coral reef. Underwater tunnel. Also a rainforest section. Café. Tel. 023 9287 5222.
Open Daily 1000-1700.

Southsea Castle 1¾ miles

Built in 1544, the castle was part of Henry VIII's fortifications to protect the country from invaders. Explore the keep with views across the Solent and 19th century underground tunnels. Café. Events programme. Tel. 023 9284 1625. Admission free.
Open Apr-Sep, TWThFSSu & BH 1000-1700.

Cumberland House Natural History Museum by bus

A wide range of natural science specimens including fossils. Butterfly House. Tel. 023 9281 5276. Admission free.
Open TWThFSSu & BH 1000-1700.
Bus 1 anticlockwise from stop M (opposite Bus Station adjacent to Harbour station) to Festing Road shortly after South Parade Pier and canoe lake, 13 minutes journey. M-S every 10 minutes, Sun & BH every 20 minutes. Operated by First.

Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum ¾ mile*

The author Charles Dickens was born in this Regency house on 7 February 1812. The parlour, dining room and bedroom feature genuine Regency furniture and household items. Guided walks around Portsmouth and readings of Dickens work (see website for details). Tel. 023 9282 7261.
Open Apr-Sep, FSSu 1000-1730.
* from Portsmouth & Southsea station, 1¼ miles from Harbour station.

Gosport by ferry

A town with a strong naval history and panoramic views of Portsmouth Harbour. Many of the naval facilities have closed and marinas now occupy the harbour. A 2 mile Waterfront Trail links the Museums with the Portsmouth ferry and Bus Station.

TI tel. 023 9252 2944.

Ferry Daily every 15 minutes, 4 minutes journey, see
Buses to Gosport operate from Fareham.

Gosport Discovery Centre by ferry then ½ mile

Displays and exhibits tell the story of Gosport. Gallery with changing exhibitions of art, items from museum collections. Events programme. Tel. 023 9250 1957. Admission free.
Open M-S 1000-1700.

Royal Navy Submarine Museum by ferry then ¾ mile

The story of the Royal Navy Submarine Service from early 20th Century to the modern nuclear powered fleet. There are three submarines plus photographs, documents and other items. Coffee shop. Tel. 023 9251 0354
Open Apr-Oct, Daily 1000-1730. Oct-Mar, WThFSSu 1000-1630.

Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower by ferry then 1¼ miles

18th century buildings of the Royal Navy's former armaments depot house a collection ranging from small arms to torpedoes and modern missiles. The museum also tells the story of the seamen and depot workers, and considers the human consequences of warfare. Coffee shop. Tel. 023 9250 5600.
Open Apr-Oct, Daily 1000-1700. Nov-Mar, SSu 1000-1600.

Gosport map