Portsmouth is the only island city in the country and is also the most important naval port. Located on the island of Portsea, next to the English Channel, in Hampshire, the city has a current population of 205,000.
The city started as a small town in the south west of Portsea Island in the late twelfth century. A parish church was built at this time, which went on to become the Cathedral in the twentieth century.
By the medieval ages the town became an important port with exports of wool and grain and imports of wine, wax and iron. However, the town was vulnerable and was attacked and burnt down by the French four times between 1338 and 1380. Fortifications began with the Round Tower being built in 1418 which contained cannons for protection. Henry VIII increased the fortification by building the Square Tower in 1494 and then changed the destiny of Portsmouth by constructing a dockyard for the building and repair of his naval vessels. Southsea Castle was built by the King and then in 1545 watched his flag ship, Mary Rose, sink.
Unfortunately the town went into a downturn as new dockyards on the Thames took business away but the population did begin to grow. In the Civil War the town was Royalist while all around was Parliamentarian and after being besieged the town changed hands.
The end of the 17th century saw the town prosper again with new ships built and the docks extended. The fortifications were rebuilt. This also saw the area expand with a new town called Portsea with the original town being called Old Portsmouth.
The 19th century saw all the amenities and trappings of modern life being introduced to the town and by 1871 the population had reached 100,000. Afterwards all the areas of Portsea Island, including the new suburb of Southsea, were incorporated into the town and by 1900 with building having been extended beyond the island the population reached 190,000.
The early twentieth century saw much house building and absorption of more surrounding villages and by 1939 the population reached its zenith of 260,000. Then WW2 saw the now city, as a very important navy port, devastated by bombing. There were 67 air raids which killed 930 people and saw the destruction of 10% of the housing stock. Post war saw a new inner city built and a massive house building programme was begun.
By late twentieth century the city was modernising with new shopping centres and with new industries replacing the old, which included the demise of ship building and the dockyards.
Today, the city prospers as a tourist destination, plus electronics and electrical industries together with major service industries making the city there headquarters. The Spinnaker Tower was built along with the redevelopment of Gun Wharf. Ferries still ply between the city and France and the Isle of Wight. The future of Portsmouth looks bright.
Things to Do:
Sitting adjacent to Portsmouth Harbour the tower started out as a Millennium project but didn’t open until 2005. There are three viewing decks. The first at 328 feet contains the glass sky walk. The second at 344 feet houses the café and the third at 360 feet is open to the elements. The views can take in 23 miles in all directions, including the Isle of Wight, New Forest, Hampshire Downs and Selsey Bill, in Sussex. You can visit every day, except Christmas Day and the basic entrance fees are £9.50 for adults and £7.50 for children. There is also a café at ground level together with a shop. This attraction lies adjacent to Portsmouth Harbour station and The Hard bus terminus.
This ship is the most famous in the British Navy and a must see attraction. This was Horatio Nelson’s flagship at the decisive Battle of Trafalgar. It is now a living museum showing life in the Georgian navy. Tickets are sold up to 5pm in summer and 4.30pm in winter. Ticket prices vary for the various packages and so the website www.historicdockyard.co.uk/tickets, should be seen for details.
This is an unusual pier in the British sense, as instead of extending out to sea it spreads along the coast. Beyond that it has the usual pier rides including roller coaster, carousel and waltzer, plus arcade machines.
You can pre book your visit for a specific date and purchase unlimited rides tickets. There are various food and drink outlets. For all info check out www.clarencepier.co.uk.
D day Museum:- To be added.
Starting out in medieval times the church was cruciform in shape and dedicated to St. Thomas of Canterbury. Although surviving after French raids the church was seriously damaged in the Civil War by Parliamentarian forces. Gradually the church was rebuilt, including 12 bells being incorporated. The church was made a cathedral in 1927. There is a shop and it is located in High Street, Old Portsmouth, PO1 2HH. For further information check out www.portsmouthcathedral.org.uk.
This was the Henry VIII flagship which was launched in 1511 but sunk on its way to battle on 19th July 1545. Only about 30 of the 400 men on board survived. It was raised from the seabed in 1982 and is now in its own museum. Open seven days a week last entry is 4.45pm. For ticket information and when open check out www.historicdockyard.co.uk. There is a café and shop.
Built in 1544 this was one of many coastal fortifications built by Henry VIII to protect England. It has been a military prison and in the 1820s a lighthouse was built. After the military withdrew from the castle in 1960 the city purchased same as a tourist attraction. To enquire when the castle is open telephone (023) 9283 4744. There is a café on site. Located on the southern tip of Portsea Island there is some public parking nearby. Whilst within walking distance from the city centre, bus 19 from Commercial Road passes by but is not a frequent service.
Royal Marines Museum:
The museum covers the lives of the men and history of the marines over the past 350 years. Medals, including VCs are on display plus paintings of heroes, battles and battleships. There also simulators and inter active games. Apart from the fascinating museum there are special events held. There is a café and shop and opened all year except Christmas. Tickets are £9 for adults, £4 for children and various concessions.
The museum can be found at Eastney Esplanade, PO4 9PX. Buses 1, 2 and 17 pass by frequently. Check out www.portmouth.go.uk for bus info and www.royalmarinesmuseum.co.uk for museum details.
Isle of Wight:
Whilst visiting Portsmouth a trip to the Isle of Wight is worth considering. Ferries from Portsmouth Harbour ply to Ryde pier on the island frequently. Once on the pier head you can walk to the town or alternatively take a train to Sandown or Shanklin on the south of the island. For information on ferry services visit www.wightlink.co.uk.
This is a massive enterprise. HMS Victory. The Mary Rose and the Royal Marines Museum have been mentioned above. However, it also covers Harbour Trips, HMS Warrior, Royal Navy Museum, Royal Navy Submarines Museum, and many more. Check out www.historicdockyard.co.uk for all details.
There are half a dozen night clubs, mainly in the Guildhall and Gun Wharf areas of the city. Among the current popular venues are Tiger Tiger, Wiggle and Liquid and Envy. Like in all cities the club scene is for ever changing and up to date information can be found by checking the internet.
Being both a naval and student city the range of pubs and bars are excellent. As well as the city centre, Gun Wharf and Southsea have an interesting mix of same.
There a couple of casinos within the city. The gay bars are centred on St. Paul’s Road.
The King’s Theatre is a premier venue with music, drama, ballet, comedy etc. being promoted. Full information can be found at www.kingsportsmouth.co.uk or by phoning 023 9282 8282. Located on Albert Drive, Southsea, PO5 2QJ. There is free parking for evening performances at the nearby Waitrose. Buses 2 and 19 pass nearby.
Cinema is provided by Vue at Gun Wharf and Odeon at Port Solent.
There is a concentration of restaurants at Gun Wharf, with many of the popular national chains. Elsewhere in the city centre and Southsea a good mix of food and drink can be found with, being a seaport, an abundance of fish cafes. English, French, Italian and other European, Asian, Oriental and American cuisines to be found. There are also good pubs, shopping malls and hotels selling food.
There are three shopping centres to be found. The city centre with a major department store and Cascades shopping mall. Southsea with a John Lewis department store and other quality shops. Gunwharf Quay with big name luxury and national chain stores.
National, International and Local hotels, together with guest houses, B & Bs and Pubs provide a very good mix of rooms.
Twenty bus routes serve the city centre and south Hampshire area.
There is also a route 700 which connects Portsmouth to Brighton via Chichester and Worthing. National Express Coaches run eight routes from the city centre which cover most of the country and Heathrow and Gatwick Airports.
Bus stations are at Commercial Road and The Hard at Gun Wharf.
Full information can be found at www.portsmouth.gov.uk. +
Located on an island, Portsmouth has a simple system of roads to enter and leave the city. London is reached via the A3, in the city centre, which changes to the M275 as you cross the bridge out of the city and then onto the A27 east and then turning north onto the A3(M).
The M27 leads to Southampton and the west of England and by leaving the road at Eastleigh takes you north on the M3 to Winchester, then A34 to Newbury junction of M4, Oxford and M40. The A27 east leads through to Brighton and on to Kent.
Both London Victoria and London Waterloo are served from Portsmouth. Routes also serve Southampton, Brighton, Gatwick Airport, Bristol, South Wales and Great Malvern. Check out the National Railway website for routes and timetables.
The city is connected to the Isle of Wight, Channel Islands, France and Spain by various ferry companies. For further details check out www.portsmouth-port.co.uk.
Southampton, Gatwick and Heathrow Airports are accessible by coach, rail or car.
Half a dozen cab firms operate within the city.
Stadium: Fratton Park. Frogmore Road. Portsmouth. PO4 8RA.
Chairman: Michael Eisner
Manager: Kenny Jackett
Current League: League 1
Phone Number: 023 9273 1204
The club was formed in 1898 and they immediately joined the Southern League, playing at Fratton Park. The first home match saw a win against local rivals, Southampton, with a 2-0 scoreline. Although the first season saw them become runners up in the Southern League, they did win same in 1901/02. In 1906/07 the FA Cup campaign saw them dispatch Manchester United after a home draw.
The club joined the Third Division of the Football League in 1920, won promotion to Division Two in 1924 and then joined the top flight in 1927. The initial years in the First Division were a struggle with a record 0-10 defeat by Leicester City but they did reach the FA Cup Final, being beaten in that match by Bolton Wanderers. Another FA Cup Final was reached again in 1934 but again ended in defeat, this time by Manchester City. Pre-war and yet another Cup Final, in 1939, when they beat the favourites, Wolverhampton Wanderers, 4-1.
Post war were the club’s glory days, with a Cup semi-final and then the League title in 1949. The same season saw a club record home crowd of 51,385. They then went on to win the League title in 1950. However, all good things come to an end and after slow decline Pompey were relegated in 1959. From that point it was a series of relegations and promotions between Division 2 and Division 3 and then the basement level in 1978. During this period as well as having financial problems the club was also one of a number of clubs with a hooligan element.
Between 1979 and 1987 the club’s luck turned and they climbed from Division 4 to Division 1. When the Premier League came into existence Pompey missed joining the elite by one goal. Again, a bad turn of events saw the club go into receivership in their centenary year. Changes of ownership and managers saw the club promoted to the Premier League in 2003 and they stayed there for six seasons. In 2008 the club won the FA Cup again with a win over Cardiff City.
Unfortunately, history was being repeated, starting with a financial crisis, followed by relegations to the bottom division again. Portsmouth topped the table at the end of 2016/17 and promoted to League 1.
F A Cup Winners:
Charity Shield Winners:
Away fans should contact their own clubs regarding tickets.
The ticket office can be contacted on 023 9277 8559, or at the ticket office via the club’s web site. Tickets can be bought in person at the ticket office in Frogmore Road.
From within the city centre buses 1 ,2, 3, 13, 17 and 19 pass by Fratton Park.
If travelling by train, there is only one track that leads into the city centre, to Portsmouth and Southsea station. You alight at the station before, Fratton. It is then a half mile walk to the ground.
Whichever way you drive to Fratton Park from outside of the city, head for the A27 and turn off at the A2030 junction heading for Fratton. You will eventually see the stadium in front of you. Parking around the ground is very limited.
Southampton and Gatwick Airports are linked by rail to Fratton.
An alternative is by taxi from various city locations.
It is probably fair to say that Fratton Park is an “old school” ground but it does have great character. It is the only ground Pompey have played in and consists of four stands. The largest and most modern of these is the Fratton End, on the western end. The original entrance to this stand is recognized by its mock Tudor façade. The North and South Stands (this one designed by the stadium architect, Archibald Leitch) are both two tiered. The smallest stand is the Milton Stand, at the east end, which was once the only roofless stand in the Premier league. This stand is partly allocated to away supporters and also contains the Big Screen.
Facilities and leg room are not great for visitors but this is made up with a very good, electric atmosphere, albeit with an annoying bell and drum.
Outside of the ground there are various pubs and take aways that welcome all supporters.
Finally, over the years there has been much talk of relocating the club but these plans have all died for various reasons.