Our area guide to living in Portsmouth

Want more information about living in Portsmouth? Our area guide tells you everything you need to know about the dynamic waterside city.



There is a real sense of pride in Portsmouth, the UK’s only island city. Whether it be the naval heritage (Home of the Royal Navy), the fact so many authors are identified with the place (Charles Dickens, H G Wells, Rudyard Kipling and Conan Doyle) or the devoted fans (possibly the loudest in the UK) who follow Portsmouth Football Club through thick and thin (Play up Pompey!) – people who live here quite simply love it.

Portsmouth benefits from a great variety of shops, including independent boutiques and larger national retailers, such as Asda, Waitrose and M&S food hall.

Gunwharf Quays is a popular shopping destination with top outlet stores and restaurants overlooking Portsmouth Harbour.

While Commercial Road offers the popular high street names, Palmerston Road precinct in Southsea holds popular markets and regular art markets at Handleys Corner.

Albert Road in Southsea is well known for its vintage shops, restaurants and bars and is a popular, bustling place to pick up a bargain and have a bite to eat.

The restaurants in Portsmouth are varied and you can quite literally eat your way around the world. Cuisines range from Japanese, Belgian and Mediterranean to good ol’ pub grub and traditional fish and chips.



Portsmouth is a well-connected city serviced by four train stations: Portsmouth and Southsea, Portsmouth Harbour, Fratton and Hillsea. There are direct services to London and Southampton.

There is a regular service provided by Hovertravel which takes passengers from Southsea to the Isle of Wight in 10 minutes.

Portsmouth has a regular and convenient bus service, as well as a Park and Ride service which allows out-of-town shoppers easy access to the centre and seafront.

Being so flat, it is also perfect for cyclists to get around and the seafront has cycle lanes.


Green spaces

One of Hampshire’s oldest nature reserves, Farlington Marshes Wildlife Reserve is well worth a visit. The 308 acres of vegetation-rich marshland are home to a great variety of wildlife, perfect for bird-watchers, dog walkers and families alike.

Best appreciated in rose season (May through to August), Southsea Rose Garden provides a picturesque floral display and a circular walk for anyone looking for a breath of fresh air in Portsmouth. Close to the seafront, the rose garden is the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by..

Southsea Common is a wide open space next to the beach. It plays host to major festivals such as Victorious and is the perfect spot to fly a kite or enjoy a family picnic.

Staunton Country Park is another great place to stretch the legs for a weekend walk. A landscaped parkland and forest, the park contains many things to see, including an ornamental lake, farm and maze.



Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is a must see for all naval enthusiasts. You can enjoy HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose to name but a few.

From fossil displays to a butterfly house, Cumberland House Natural History Museum is a perfect weekend activity for families and nature lovers.

And just next door is Canoe Lake where you can enjoy a spot of crabbing, admire the swans or hop on a pedalo.