Having kept watch over the waters and the local worshippers since the 12th century, the Cathedral of the Sea is a cornerstone of Portsmouth.
The Portsmouth Cathedral is a religious treasure of Romanesque and transitional gothic design in the heart of the Old Portsmouth neighborhood. The 17th-century structure stands on a previous incarnation that dates back to the 1100s. Consider the fascinating history of the church, built in honor of Thomas Becket, who was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral just a decade before its construction.
Arrive at the grassy plaza outside the church and admire its towers with arched windows. Enter through the bronze west-facing portal to find yourself in the nave, where helpful guides are available to talk you through the history.
Admire the white pillars, the intricate rose window and the myriad works of religious art, such as the Christus sculpture. Spot the organ dating back to 1861 that stands on a balcony.
The Naval Aisle serves as a memorial to the Mary Rose ship that sunk. A stone plaque contains remains found at the wreck. Spot the tributes to Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay and George Villiers, the 1st Duke of Buckingham, among others.
Attend a religious service and appreciate the excellent acoustics of the cathedral, as you listen to the impressive choir. Orchestral groups and jazz musicians also perform concerts in this majestic setting.
Head to the Portsmouth Cathedral shop and browse the range of souvenirs on the shelves. It has a selection of guidebooks, stationery and greeting cards related to the church. The store opens Monday through Saturday from late morning until afternoon, while the church is usually open to visitors daily.
Find the Portsmouth Cathedral in the Old Portsmouth district in the southern part of the Portsmouth Harbour area. Arrive at the harbor’s namesake railway station and walk south for about 15 minutes to get to the church. Explore the surrounding marina for other gems such as Brunel’s Birthplace Monument, the Clarence Pier amusement park and the HMS Vernon Figurehead.