Get more out of your time in Portsmouth!

Portsmouth has so much to offer as a Student City! We take a look and guide you through some of the places you may not have known about and that you should visit before you graduate!

  • Posted Fri, Aug 25, 2023 2:10 PM

With everything on your doorstep in the city centre it's easy to spend your whole time as a student at the University of Portsmouth without venturing much into the wider area of the city. There are, however, so many awesome places worth visiting that you may of not heard about or thought to go to, from unique green spaces to quirky independent shops, bars and venues!

Find the Vibes

There are some streets in Portsmouth that, while may seem not-obvious, offer some of the best independent shops and restaurants in the South of England. 

Southsea and Old Portsmouth are hubs for creative and independent shops to suit all tastes from Antique and Record stores on Castle Road in Southsea, to the Artist Studios of the Hot Walls in Old Portsmouth, you're sure to have a good time looking around at the curiosities they offer. Southsea is also a hub for charity shops, a sustainable alternative to mainstream clothing stores that may be found on Commercial Road or at Gunwharf Quays. 

For music fans, you're blessed with a selection of small and large venues that regularly hold gigs at fair prices for the student budget. There are multiple venues along Albert Road with a bustling schedule of Music, Comedy and Theatre that are sure to keep you entertained. You'll also find venues towards the centre of Portsmouth for some larger gigs with recent bands performing such as Glass Animals, The Vaccines and The Hives to name a few. You could always try smaller and independent places, such as pubs, around the city host that more intimate gigs, sessions and signings for local artists (and bigger names too!).

There are plenty of nightclubs to keep you partying through the night and if you're not feeling going all out why not head to one of the many pubs around the city that host Pub Quizzes, Karaoke, Live Music and Comedy throughout the week! 

Portsmouth is home to some music festivals too, which have seen performances from some of the biggest names in music. 2022 is no exception, with some massive artists set to take the stage this summer.

Image credit: Joey Thompson (Source: Unsplash)

Try cuisine from around the world!

From Pizza to Curry, Sushi to Tapas Portsmouth is truly a foodie-lovers heaven! There are seemingly endless options for food and drink in Portsmouth whatever your dietary preferences or what taste buds may be feeling! 

Why not have a wonder down Albert Road and Elm Grove, go and give one of the many unique and independent restaurants a try - you're sure to find a place that you will end up visiting more than once during your time at Portsmouth. It's always good to check as many independent bars and restaurants in Portsmouth as they may also offer student discounts making that dining experience that bit more affordable and delicious!

Go for more than your average walk!

Portsmouth has an abundance of green spaces to enjoy at all times of the year. It's more than likely you've stumbled (or sprinted to a lecture) through Victoria Park more than once. If you head down towards the Sea Front you'll be greeted by the vast expanse of Southsea Common. If you head East towards the aptly named area of Eastney, you'll find such attractions as Southsea Rock Gardens, Canoe Lake, Southsea Rose and Japanese gardens and a whole host of arranged flower displays, sports facilities such as tennis and volleyball courts and plenty of seafront and grass seating areas for that Summer picnic you've been dreaming of!

Continue walking down the seafront and make the most of chilling on the beach with friends or perhaps be brave and take a dip in the sea. If you're really up for a walk you can head to Langstone Harbour which is particularly picturesque at Sunrise and Sunset - so have your camera ready for that instagrammable skyline pic!

If you fancy making a day of it and having a longer walk, why not check out Farlington Marshes, just off the island. It's a great place for nature lovers! Head their even during the winter to spot for migratory, overwintering wildfowl.

Canoe Lake, Southsea. Credit: Sean Cairns

Experience Portsmouth's Naval History, past and present!

Portsmouth is renowned as being the rightful home of the Royal Navy, there is an element of this history on pretty much every street in Portsmouth. From the days of the Mary Rose, in Tudor Britain, HMS Victory and to the giant aircraft carriers of today, there is plenty to see and experience in the city! The Historic Dockyard, the D-Day Story (which offers student discount at certain times of the year) and Southsea Castle are all easily accessible and have interesting history relating to Portsmouth's sea faring past, they are well worth a visit to learn more about the history of the area. 

Another completely free way of experiencing the Royal Navy today is by seeing one of the warships that come in and out of Portsmouth Naval Base every week. You can simply check when a ship is coming in or out of the harbour by going online and checking the Portsmouth Shipping Movements page which lists large vessels that sail in and out of Portsmouth on a daily basis. Head down to the Round Tower or another viewing spot in Old Portsmouth where the sight of a Destroyer or Carrier in-particular is a true spectacle to behold!

A US Navy Warship leaving Portsmouth, Credit: Sean Cairns

Indulge in the Local Arts and Culture

Portsmouth is a hub of independent artists and local culture - and you can't go through your time at Portsmouth University without getting involved with something! From national runs, to literary festivals, art shows, music, food and more, all you have to do is keep yours eyes and ears open for something happening. The city is absolutely alive with things to get involved with - so take advantage with all it has to offer! Check out local social media pages and even local notice boards for something to get involved with!

Credit: Milada Vigerova (Source: Unsplash)

The World is your Gallery

Head down almost any street in Portsmouth and Southsea, and you're likely to see the walls adorned in bright colours and incredible pieces of art. As a city which boasts an incredible array of local artists, you don't need a gallery to go and see their work. Head on a walk around the city and see how many different artists you can spot, or if you have a favourite artists, see if you can find all their different pieces of work around the city. Get lost exploring and see what you can find!

Portsmouth may be the only Island City in the UK, but it is so much more than the incredible beaches. It's a place for friends, history-buffs, foodies, artists and best of all, it's a fantastic city for students. Don't be afraid to get utterly lost in all it has to offer and explore Portsmouth - there's a lot more to this great city than first meets the eye!

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