Portsmouth is the pinnacle maritime city on Hampshire’s South coast. You get all the majesty and wonder of the golden age of sea exploration (and warfare), beautiful tributes to the men and women behind the D-Day landings, shopping, shopping!
Spotlight on Portsmouth: 6 Unforgettable Family Activities
But how do you navigate this fantastic city with the whole family? With some of the best family attractions in the South, there is plenty for everyone to get stuck into.
Here we’ve rounded up six unforgettable family activities in Portsmouth that are not to be missed:
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
No trip to Portsmouth is complete without a visit to the Historic Dockyard. Imposing historical warships, impressive museums, and unmissable experiences, you’ll never forget to make this not-so-secret gem a great day out!
Let the family test their physical skills in the Commando Experience at Action Stations. Discover all there is to know about the Royal Navy at the award-winning National Museum of the Royal Navy. Then, wander around the dockyard to see all these fantastic spot offers.
A must-see has to be Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson’s formidable warship, HMS Victory. See stories come to life as you climb onboard, stand in the spot where Nelson famously won the Battle of Trafalgar, and then twenty minutes later breathe his last.
Afterward, head down to the iron-clad HMS Warrior – the jewel in the crown. With actors embodying the remarkable crew that worked on her decks over 150 years ago, kids will love getting swept up in all the action.
The Mary Rose Museum
Nestled in the heart of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, you’ll find the mind-blowing Mary Rose Museum.
The purpose-built museum is home to the remains of Henry VIIIs famous warship, unearthed from the bottom of the Solent in 1982. As part of the most extensive maritime salvage operation of all time, the brilliant archaeological and diving team brought 500 years of buried history to the surface.
Today, you can discover the mysteries of the deep, the 500 crew members who lost their lives on that fateful day and find unusual and well-preserved artifacts that have defied the storms of the sea.
Kids will get a kick out of the interactive aspects of the museum, from the beautiful activity book that takes you on a trail around the museum to trying to pull a long bow.
Step through the airlock on the top floor, breathe in the smells of the Mary Rose, and get taken back through time. From the fascinating DNA and skeletal reconstructions of some of the crew to learn about the odd circumstances that made her sink in the first place, this is a day out you certainly won’t forget!
If you’re looking for a unique, fully immersive experience, you must check out Portsmouth’s favourite escape room, Exciting Escapes.
Journey through the decades, uncover secrets, solve mysteries and overcome tricky challenges! It’s a perfect bonding experience for the whole family as you have to communicate well, listen to each other and put aside all your differences to make your escape.
Do you have what it takes to save Secret Santa in the 1990s-inspired Danger on the Dancefloor? Or test your senses in the 1960s-based Murder at the Movies and thwart an assassination attempt?
With six different games to choose from for an hour of exhilarating adventure, this family activity will stay with you!
One and a half miles of gorgeous coastline stretches along the edge of Southsea. There, you’ll find the classic seaside retreat, Clarence Pier, which boasts all amusements, rides, and activities for the whole family to enjoy.
Ride the Tidal Wave, get soaked on Canyon River, or get dizzy on the classic Twister or Waltzers!
Once you’ve got your fill of all the outdoor fun, head inside one of the three giant entertainment centers and enjoy all the classic arcade games and more.
Emirates Spinnaker Tower
Portsmouth’s most iconic and standout attraction has to be Emirates Spinnaker Tower. Standing at a whopping 560 feet (170 meters), you can enjoy the best-uninterrupted view of the city and city across to the stunning Isle of Wight.
Walk across the glass “Sky Walk” and watch the boats bobbing in the harbor beneath you. Climb the beautiful “Sky Garden” for more panoramic views that cover over 23 miles on a clear day.
Along the way, check out the interactive displays that will take you on a journey through the history of the city and the tower’s extensive origin story.
A must-stop has to be The Clouds cafe. You can indulge in delicious cakes, a welcome coffee stop, and their outstanding High Tea. From abseiling down outside the tower to meeting Santa at Christmas, there is plenty for the whole family to enjoy all year round.
Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery
Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery is home to a treasure trove of exciting and varied displays. Perfect for rainy days and slow afternoons, you won’t struggle to get swept up in all the fun.
A standout exhibition has to be A Study in Sherlock. You’ll go on a journey through the life and times of Arthur Conan Doyle, find out unknown facts about his most beloved detective Sherlock Holmes and sink your teeth into the fantastic “new” mystery, Magnifying Sherlock.
Plus, the fun interactive displays and narration that take a look at Doyle’s enduring legacy are voiced by the marvelous Stephen Fry!
After, explore what makes Portsmouth so unique in the No Place Like Pompey exhibition before wandering through the excellent Story of Portsmouth section. From impressive 17th-century reconstructions to Portsmouth at Play, kids of all ages will be mesmerized in this engaging museum.
Spotlight on Portsmouth: 6 Unforgettable Family Activities
Portsmouth is bursting with adventure, thrills, and all-out fun experiences for the whole family. With so much to see and do, did any of our favorite unforgettable activities make your list?