25 Things to do in Portsmouth during your stay

June 29, 2021

We thought it was about time we share some wonderful things to do in Portsmouth – so you know exactly where to go and get the most out of your time away.

Whether you’re travelling with friends, as a couple or with the whole family, knowing about the fun things to do in Portsmouth helps you to plan your stay (and get excited about it, too!).

Fun things to do in Portsmouth

Here at Places To Be, we want you to have the best time possible while visiting Portsmouth. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a weekend away, a mid-week break or even a stopgap between house sales!

It’s time to get to know this wonderful city we call home.

1. Tenth hole tea rooms

Set on a pitch-and-putt course, this incredible tea room has a wonderful sunny terrace, making it the ideal getaway during the summer.

Oh, and did we mention, cake? We’re talking millionaire’s shortbread, Victoria sponge and banoffee pie galore, with plenty of clotted cream.

After walking around the golf course, you will have earned that cake after all.

With no need to book, turn up and play and enjoy this wonderful Portsmouth attraction.

Canoe Lake Portsmouth things to do in Portsmouth

2. Canoe lake

There are plenty of family friends things to do in Portsmouth, one of which is the wonderful canoe lake. Whether you’re pitching up with a blanket and a picnic, or grabbing a bite to eat at Southsea Beach Cafe, the canoe lake makes for a great, sunny spot to relax.

With BBQ nights at Southsea Beach Cafe, don’t forget to book Friday nights in your diary! With lobster, seafood and steaks cooked over local charcoal, the fun has just begun with a live DJ and plenty of summer cocktails!

Nearby you will also find the natural history museum, as well as tennis courts, kids splash area, mini model village and pitch & putt.

While Canoe Lake Leisure is now closed, unfortunately, tennis is still available to play at Southsea Tennis Club

Get stuck in or simply sit back and enjoy the scenery, and don’t forget your sunglasses!

3. Hotwalls Studios

A central hub for artists, makers and creators, Hotwalls Studios allows you to get up close and personal with local artists, with the ability to purchase professional pieces from the makers themselves.

But why is it called Hotwalls? Situated between the Square and Round Towers in Old Portsmouth, Hotwalls Studios is a complete sun trap! You can’t go wrong with a peaceful wander through Old Portsmouth, with Spice Island and The Still & West offering delicious pub food with outdoor seating, too.

Rich in history, Portsmouth’s historic barracks have been transformed into 13 working studios and a beautiful waterfront dining space. Founded by the team behind The Tenth Hole Tearooms, The Canteen offers locally sourced food – including a delicious range of cakes.

Enjoy stunning views out on the deck as you watch the world go by across the Solent. The Canteen is dog friendly, has baby facilities available and are open seven days a week.

However, they do not take bookings, so be sure to grab your spot early during peak season!

4. Albert Road

Located in the heart of central Southsea, if you’re looking for things to do in Portsmouth, Albert Road is not to be missed.

A bustling hub of eclectic shops, restaurants and bars, Albert Road is home to independent traders, giving it its incredible atmosphere and feel.

If you’re a fan of live music and comedy, the Wedgewood Rooms continues to host artists from around the world. Bands such as The Klaxons, Renegades, Travis and Bowling For Soup have all performed there in the past. While Covid restrictions are still in place, keep your eyes peeled for their re-opening!

Plus! With Kings Theatre on the corner of Exmouth Road, catching a show has never been easier. From musicals to family-friendly music nights, there is always something to see while you visit Portsmouth.

Albert Road has plenty more to offer, including:

  • Comic book stores
  • Plenty of cafes
  • Hairdressers
  • Music shops
  • Vintage and retro clothing shops
  • Arts and crafts
  • Antique shops
  • Specialist food shops

And much more!

Pie and vinyl Portsmouth

5. Pie & Vinyl

Southsea’s famous pie and vinyl record cafe remains a popular favourite with Southsea locals and those visiting the area. 

This wonderful record cafe is one of the South’s leading online record stores, with homemade (with love!) pies using ethically sourced and high quality local ingredients.

Whether you’re out exploring in the sunshine or having a cosy night in, you can eat in, click & collect or have your scrumptious pies delivered – making it even easier to enjoy their pies on your schedule!

Don’t forget, their ‘Record Store Day’ drops for 2021 will now take place on Saturday 12th June and Saturday 17th July. Be sure to check out their website for further details.

Things to do in Portsmouth Spinnaker Tower

6. Gunwharf Quays and Spinnaker Tower

The South coast’s leading designer shopping outlet, if you’re looking for things to do in Portsmouth during your stay, you won’t be disappointed here. Home to over 90 famous brands and some incredible discounts, you can enjoy an afternoon of shopping followed by dinner in Gunwharf’s many restaurants.

With ten pin bowling and Vue cinema, there is so much to do in Portsmouth’s Gunwharf Quays, you better get planning!

There no doubt about it that Gunwharf remains a perfect spot to people watch and enjoy a coffee, or why not kick off your visit to Portsmouth with Spinnaker Tower?

At 170 metres tall, this wonderful landmark offers some amazing views that everyone can enjoy. After enjoying the sights, you can also grab a bite to eat in the Waterfront Cafe and Clouds Cafe, to fuel the rest of your afternoon.

You can also grab your tickets online to save even more on admission tickets.

7. Victorious Festival

Quite literally a stone’s throw away from the sea, Victorious Festival brings a whirlwind of comedy and live music to Portsmouth.

There is no doubt about it, Victorious Festival is one of the greatest things to do in Portsmouth this summer. You can grab your tickets online for 2021, with Victorious Festival set to take place 27th to 29th August.

This year’s lineup includes Madness, The Kooks, Feeder, Craig David and many, many more.

8. Clarence Pier

With indoor family arcades, amusement park rides and pirates and princesses*, looking for things to do in Portsmouth with the whole family is easy. 

Whether it’s getting splashed on the Canyon River or going sky-high on the Super Trooper, Clarence Pier is jam-packed with fun for everyone. Get planning your visit via their website, with the option to buy wristbands to save you money during your trip.

*Pirates and princesses remain closed due to Covid19 restrictions, please keep an eye on their website for updates.

historic dockyard

9. Historic dockyard

Feeling adventurous? Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard is a great place for the whole family, with even more shopping, places to eat and drink and great spots for a picnic.

Whether you’re bringing your own sandwiches or looking to eat out, you won’t be stuck for choice! Not sure where to go? Here are the three picnic areas on offer:

  • Outside Boathouse No.7
  • Port Arena
  • Porter’s Garden

Planning your visit online is quick and simple, with so many attractions to choose from, including:

  • HMS Victory
  • The Mary Rose
  • HMS Warrior 1860
  • National Museum of the Royal Navy
  • Boathouse 4

Plus much more, which can be found via their website.

10. Hire a Voi scooter

Seen up and down the country in recent months, electric scooters make getting around Portsmouth a doddle! Not only are they environmentally friendly, but this quick and convenient way to travel makes exploring Portsmouth that much easier.

To ride, you’ll need to be 18+ and have at least a provisional driving licence. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Portsmouth, hiring a Voi scooter should be on your list of musts!

So grab your backpack, take a couple of snacks and enjoy exploring Portsmouth on your own schedule.

You can read more about e-scooter rentals here.

11. Artypotz pottery making

This paint-your-own pottery studio is great fun for friends, families and parties, based in the characterful Castle Road, Southsea.

Test your painting skills and get ready to see your artistic talents come to life with 40 popular paint colours available, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Pottery prices range from £4.75 upwards, which includes painting, glazing and the firing of your pieces.

Contact Artypotz directly for reservations! A must-do while you’re visiting our wonderful city.

Jelly fish Portsmouth aquarium

12. Blue Reef Aquarium

Ready to meet some unique underwater creatures? Blue Reef Aquarium is home to a huge variety of creatures, such as clownfish, sharks, jellyfish and otters! 

Whether you’re looking for things to do in Portsmouth one afternoon or you fancy some time away from the beaming sunshine, Blue Reef Aquarium are available online for those last-minute bookings. Get yours early so you don’t miss out!

13. New Theatre Royal

While the New Theatre Royal is currently closed due to Covid19, this incredible Victorian Grade II listed theatre resides in the heart of Portsmouth – featuring everything from live music to musicals and dance events.

The main house stage has been graced by many iconic figures over the years, including Laurel and Hardy, Dame Peggy Ashcroft and Sarah Bernhard.

To find events for later in the year, visit their website for more information.

14. Portsmouth escape rooms

Believe it or not, Portsmouth is home to some of the best escape rooms around! Exciting Escapes feature 21 authentic escape rooms alone, giving you the opportunity to work together as a team in order to escape!

Travelling with a big group? Why not go head to head with their “paired” rooms, so you can really see who is the quickest at puzzle-solving under pressure!

Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, meeting up with university friends or simply looking for fun things to do in Portsmouth with the family, escape rooms are great for all occasions. Take a look at Other World Escapes for even more physical challenges and innovative puzzles.

15. Hover over to the Isle of Wight

With so much to explore, the Isle of Wight is just minutes away from Southsea. Yep, in just 10 minutes you can travel from Southsea to Ryde, Isle of Wight.

From there, travel links make exploring the Isle of Wight quick and easy, with popular attractions including:

  • Blackgang Chine – Considered the ‘Land of Imagination’ Blackgang Chine is the UK’s oldest amusement park. Get ready to step into a magical world!
  • Robin Hill – Rolling parkland, natural woodland and countryside gardens for exploration, adventure and entertainment. Robin Hill is an absolute must for explorers looking for a fun day out.
  • Tapnell Farm Park – One of the most popular family attractions on the IOW, this all-weather attraction features a wide range of animals (including wallabies!), indoor and outdoor play and much more.
  • The Needles Landmark Attraction – Explore this world famous attraction and ride its iconic chairlift, taking you to see the needles rocks and coloured sands.
  • Plenty of sandy beaches!

16. Port Solent Harbour

As well as offering plenty of food and drink options, Port Solent marina provides the perfect setting to sit back and relax at the waterside. 

Simply watch the boats come and go and get yourself into full holiday mode!

With stunning views across the 800 berth marina, the vast range of restaurants and bars on the waterside will tempt end the most discerning taste buds.

port solent harbour

17. Hayling Billy Cycle Trail

Hire a bike or bring your own and set off on the Hayling Billy Coastal Path, which runs along the west coast of Hayling Island.

Perfect for the whole family, this 5 mile round trip is all off-road. Once there, why not grab an ice cream and enjoy the views on Hayling Island beach, or visit Funland Amusement Parks!

18. Hambledon Vineyard

Situated in sunny Waterlooville, Hambledon Vineyard is an award-winning English vineyard. Great for those adult-only afternoons, enjoy an Al Fresco dining experience centred around their world-renowned English fizz.

They also offer Vineyard tours and tasting, as well as Sparkling Afternoon Tea for two! However, due to Covid restrictions, some tours and tasting may be limited, so do keep an eye on their website for the latest.

Staggeringly good brewery Portsmouth

19. Staggeringly Good Brewery

If you’re a fan of quality craft beer, you’re going to love the Staggeringly Good Brewery in Southsea. Tucked away in a corner of Southsea, the atmosphere alone is worth every penny!

Enjoy a pint of their delicious beer while overlooking the brewery itself, or order delivery for your own garden party while you visit Portsmouth! Be sure to check their website for potential Covid19 restrictions currently in place.


20. Southsea Rock Garden

Perfect for a sunny afternoon in Southsea, it’s easy to get caught up admiring the amazing view at Rock Gardens. 

A popular sun-trap for Southsea locals and visitors, there are many places to sit, relax and soak up the sun.

21. Fort Nelson and Fort Widley 

There’s no denying it, Fort Nelson and Fort Widley remain firm favourites with those looking for things to do in Portsmouth.

Fort Widley was built between 1860 and 1868, and is now home to the Peter Ashley Activity Centre, offering a huge range of sports and activities.

Whether you’re exploring Portsmouth with your partner, friends, or the entire family, get stuck into horse riding lessons, archery, mountain biking, laser tag and much, much more!

While Fort Nelson is home to the national collection of artillery, with indoor galleries and plenty more to explore. Discover the history of Portsmouth with this wonderful attraction. Admission to the museum is free, however, you will need to pre-book online.

Southsea castle

22. Southsea Castle

A great spot to hang out with friends and loved ones, enjoy the wonderful view at Southsea Castle, or why not visit their on-site cafe for a spot of lunch.

Southsea Castle is great for picnics and soaking up the sun, or treating yourself at their weekend Champagne Bar and brewery.

If you’d rather explore Southsea Castle in a whole new way, get yourself on their Tunnel Tours to delve deeper into Southsea Castle via a walking tunnel tour!

23. Portsmouth Museum 

Get ready to immerse yourself in Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery. Take a stroll through Portsmouth’s incredible heritage and take a closer look into the world of Sherlock Holmes! 

If you’re an art fan, you’re not going to want to miss out on visiting Portsmouth Museum while visiting Portsmouth.

The Art Gallery is also home to a huge variety of exhibitions, including:

  • No Place Like Pompey
  • Portsmouth At Play
  • Living In Portsmouth
  • A Study in Sherlock

24. Portsmouth Golf Course

Fancy trying your hand at a spot of golf? Portsmouth Golf Centre delivers great golf and stunning views – with ‘Pay & Play’ options and monthly plans.

Plus, if you get a little peckish during your visit, you can visit the Nineteen Bar & Kitchen for quality food in a family-friendly environment.

Take a look at their website to book a tee time and explore their offers and news.

25. Fish & Chips or Ice Cream at South Parade Pier

Southsea’s historic and traditional family seaside pier will keep the whole family entertained for a great day out. 

Tuck into fish and chips at The Beach Hut or enjoy an ice cream in the beautiful weather. Don’t forget to check out Gaiety Bar too for live music, tribute acts, comedy, shows and more!

Ready to explore Portsmouth?

And there you have it! 25 fun things to do in Portsmouth, so you can really get the most out of your visit to our wonderful city.

Looking for a place to stay in Portsmouth? No problem, take a look at our places.

We’ve also got plenty more hidden gems up our sleeves which we’ve love to share with you. As well as offering unique short term rentals, we offer true Southsea local recommendations to our guests, so you can discover what Portsmouth really has to offer.