I’ve lived in a few places over the years, and some might consider my home town to be Milton Keynes or more recently Southampton – but to me, my hometown is Portsmouth. I lived there while I was at university, I now work there, we live around 30 minutes away and we visit regularly – so to me, Portsmouth is where I feel most at home. I’ve actually been living on the South coast, in and around Portsmouth for 7 years now! For those of you who have never been to Portsmouth or who don’t know much about the city – here’s a little background information.
Portsmouth is a main port on the South coast and is also home to a naval base, which takes up a portion of the North-West side of the island. Portsmouth is mainly known for it’s maritime heritage, a lot of which is held within the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard – home to the HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, the National Museum of the Royal Navy and the Mary Rose Museum (it’s a very interesting place to visit!).
Portsmouth is also very close to the Isle of Wight, which you can reach by hovercraft or ferry, and is home to the popular outlet shopping centre Gunwharf Quays (somewhere I visit frequently!). The city is also home to the University of Portsmouth, which is where I studied for my degree (a few years ago now) – and all of this makes Portsmouth a very busy city!
This post was inspired by my friend Nicole Read who writes the blog Nicole Navigates – she focuses on Northamptonshire in a similar way to how I like to focus the majority of my posts on Hampshire. The way she promotes her county and local towns is such an inspiration, and if you live near Northamptonshire – check her out!
So, without any further ado – here are 5 things I love about my hometown of Portsmouth.
Obviously my favourite thing about Portsmouth is it’s coastal location! I can’t describe how good it feels being so close to the sea every day. It’s something I’ve loved ever since I moved here from the central location of Milton Keynes – and probably one of the main reasons that’s kept me here after university!
Every time I see the water I still get a little excited – similar to that feeling I used to get on family holidays when we would drive to Cornwall and we’d get that first glimpse of the sea through the car window. I feel so lucky to be able to see the sea every day – and even more so now that it’s the view from my office window!
Sea air is so fresh, clean and does wonders for your mental health. Feeling stressed? Go for a stroll by the sea! I’m also lucky enough to have access to a boat and to have worked in the marine industry for the last few years – so for me, living near the sea really does feel like home.
There’s so much to see in Portsmouth – whether you prefer to visit museums, go shopping, take a boat trip or go up the Spinnaker Tower, there’s plenty to keep you amused and keep the city bustling. My current office view is of the Spinnaker Tower and the Historic Dockyard – and I don’t think I’ve ever worked in a better location than this!
Hampshire has plenty going on – and, as Portsmouth is home to the ever popular Gunwharf Quays, a lot of Hampshire’s events are held in the city!
There’s a lot of events that are accessible from Portsmouth or are held in the city itself – from the annual Gunwharf Quays fireworks, to the Portsmouth Seafood Festival, Cowes Week, nautical events like the America’s Cup, Victorious Festival – I could go on! There’s also the occasional fly-by of the Red Arrows, which is always fun.
Portsmouth has a rich history – from origins as a fishing port and known for soap-making, to the many historic ships housed in the Historic Dockyard and the Naval Base – if you like history, you’ll love Portsmouth! You’ll probably have seen the two aircraft carriers on the news that call Portsmouth home – it’s interesting naval ships like these that keep Portsmouth so interesting.
Portsmouth has a huge amount of maritime history that you’ll notice when you visit pretty much anywhere in the city – from the proud and imposing HMS Warrior outside the gates to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, to the sea defences and cannons in Old Portsmouth – and even when you gaze out across the Solent at the Solent Forts.
There’s also the recently restored South Parade Pier which I love – it represents the quintessential British seaside experience without any of the tackiness that you might find in more touristy coastal cities.
One of the other reasons why I love Portsmouth so much is the range of thriving independent restaurants, coffee shops and eateries – Southsea in particular is home to a lot of fantastic places to eat and it’s amazing to see a city support their local independents in this way.
The chain restaurants are all concentrated in the busy Gunwharf Quays area, leaving the rest of Portsmouth open to local businesses which I think is one of the reasons they are all doing so well. However – some of the chain restaurants in Gunwharf Quays are very good ones and lesser known than places like Nandos. Recently Pho, Cosy Club and Hubbox (not really a chain) have opened, and they are all excellent places to visit if you’re spending a day shopping in Gunwharf.
Some of my favourite independent places to eat are Southsea Beach Cafe, Bonita’s Southsea, Nice Slice, Becketts Southsea and The Tenth Hole. There are so many more fantastic places in Southsea that I’m still to visit!
If you fancy finding out more about my favourite spots – head over to my Hampshire Food Guide!
So, those are the reasons why I love Portsmouth!
Portsmouth is a fantastic place to live in (or near) and to work – I loved it when I moved here for university 7 years ago, and I still love it now. More than ever, I think!
In the last year I’ve ventured into Southsea more to explore local restaurants and find new favourites for us to return to, which has confirmed to me why Portsmouth is such a special place.
I hope you enjoyed this post and getting to know more about Portsmouth and why I love it here so much! I’ve got lots more content planned focussing on Hampshire on Portsmouth, so keep an eye out.
What do you love about your hometown? Whether you live in Hampshire or elsewhere, let me know in the comments!