The fascinating landmarks of the former medieval town still stand firm today, helping to piece together the history of this powerful maritime giant.
Crumbling defensive ramparts reveal many of the city’s most historic structures in the Old Portsmouth district. Facing the water, the surviving medieval buildings and intriguing museums provide a glimpse of the city’s rich seafaring history and traditions. On a visit to Old Portsmouth, relax near the water and spot some of the country’s most iconic ships and submarines.
Go for a leisurely walk with your family along the Millennium Promenade on the waterfront. At night, its elegant and traditional lanterns glow to recall the harbor’s historic blue radiance. Stop to enjoy fish and chips at one of the long-standing pubs that have become part of the fabric of Portsmouth.
Overlooking the sea is the imposing Round Tower that was built in the 15th century to defend against French attacks. Climb to its roof, which is always open, for stunning vistas stretching as far as the Isle of Wight. Walk south beside the old ramparts linking the landmark to the nearby Square Tower, which is now a popular wedding venue. Watch a play, movie or concert in this renovated culture hub.
Continue south to reach the Horatio Nelson Statue that depicts the British war hero, alongside an inscription of a prayer. Across the street, you’ll find the Royal Garrison Church, which dates back to the 1200s. Its roof was destroyed in World War II, but a lower gabled closing covers the nave. Inside, admire the colorful stained glass depicting scenes from that war and marvel at the Romanesque and gothic touches of the nearby Portsmouth Cathedral.
The district of Old Portsmouth is at the southern end of Portsmouth Harbour, a little west of the Portsmouth City Centre. Travel by train to the railway station in the heart of the port or get a bus to one of the many stops here. You can also go on a ferry journey from the marina to Gosport or the Isle of Wight.
Old Portsmouth brings back to life military battles, seafaring voyages and medieval customs.