As the only island city in the UK, Portsmouth has long had seafaring in its blood – and it's the ideal destination for anyone interested in ships, exploration or naval history. There are also stunning sea views, a lively shopping and dining scene, and plenty of other activities to keep visitors of all ages entertained – making this the perfect getaway for anyone keen on a coastal city break. Choose from a range of stylish hotels and get set to experience the colourful heritage and dynamic contemporary culture of this seaside city.
Portsmouth is perhaps best known for its Historic Dockyard, home to several famous ships and a selection of outstanding maritime-themed museums. Walk the decks of HMS Victory, Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar, as well as the HMS Warrior – a cutting-edge battleship in its day – and the Second World War submarine HMS Alliance; you can also view Henry VIII's ship the Mary Rose, which was raised from the bottom of the Solent some 400 years after it sunk.
Military history buffs are spoilt for choice, and can spend hours exploring the exhibits at the National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth, the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, the D-Day Museum, the Royal Marines Museum and Explosion, The Museum of Naval Firepower, among others. If you feel inspired to take to the waves yourself, set sail on a harbour tour – you may even catch a close-up glimpse of some modern-day warships.
There's lots to see and do on dry land, too. Visit the Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum for insight into the early life of the renowned author, or enjoy the views from Southsea Castle, a waterfront fortification dating from the reign of Henry VIII. Families will find lots to keep little ones entertained at the Cumberland House Natural History Museum and the Blue Reef Aquarium, while those with a head for heights can venture to the top of the impressive, sail-shaped Spinnaker Tower for dazzling views of the city and surrounding countryside.
Portsmouth also boasts a range of excellent options for shopping, dining and nightlife, such as the upscale Gunwharf Quays complex and the elegant Port Solent marina. Both feature an assortment of restaurants, bars and boutique shops, perfect for those looking for a unique souvenir or a satisfying evening out. Culture vultures can then check out the latest offerings at the city's theatres and gig venues – there's something for every taste in this buzzing seaside destination.
Eager to start planning your own waterfront city break? Book a hotel in Portsmouth with Marriott today and get set to explore all the city has to offer.