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Travel Guide 2   >   Europe   >   UK   >   Towns and Cities   >   Portsmouth



Portsmouth is a city on the South coast of England in the UK. As of 2005, the city itself had an estimated population of 189,000, and lies within a larger urban area with a population of 442,252.

Historically, and in fact right to the present day, Portsmouth has been a important base for the Royal Navy, as well as a important commercial base. The city contains the world's oldest dry dock still in use, as well as HMS Victory (Lord Nelson's ship at the Battle of Trafalgar, 1805), the oldest naval ship still in commission. HMS Victory although technically still in commission is permanently located in a dry dock and is a museum ship open to the public.


Key Facts about Portsmouth

HMS Victory:
HMS Victory
Here are some facts about Portsmouth:
  1. Portsmouth is a city on the South coast of England.

  2. The city is located 64 miles (103 kilometers) Southwest of London and 19 miles (31 kilometers) Southeast of Southampton.

  3. Portsmouth is the United Kingdom's only island city, as it is mainly located on Portsea Island.

  4. Portsmouth has been an important naval port for centuries. It is still, to this day, home to a Royal Navy dockyard and base, and is also the site of headquarters of the Royal Marine Commandos.

  5. Portsmouth is also a busy ferry port for both passenger and freight traffic.

  6. Portsmouth's main road links are the M275, the A3, and A2030. The M275 connects to the M27.

  7. Portsmouth has four main rail stations. These provide services to London Waterloo, London Victoria, Brighton, Southampton, and other destinations.

  8. The nearest airport is Southampton Airport. London Gatwick and London Heathrow are however less than 2 hours drive away.

Attractions and Places of Interest in Portsmouth

Some attractions and places of interest in Portsmouth and the surrounding area include:

Weather in Portsmouth

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Books about Portsmouth

Here are some books about Portsmouth:

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Greater Than a Tourist- Portsmouth Hampshire England: 50 Travel Tips from a Local

By Helena Cochran

Independently published
Paperback (82 pages)

Greater Than a Tourist- Portsmouth Hampshire England: 50 Travel Tips from a Local
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Product Description:
Are you excited about planning your next trip? Do you want to try something new? Would you like some guidance from a local? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this Greater Than a Tourist book is for you. Greater Than a Tourist- Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, by Helena Cochran offers the inside scoop on Portsmouth, England. Most travel books tell you how to travel like a tourist. Although there is nothing wrong with that, as part of the Greater Than a Tourist series, this book will give you travel tips from someone who has lived at your next travel destination. In these pages you’ll discover advice that will help you throughout your stay. This book will not tell you exact addresses or store hours but instead will give you excitement and knowledge from a local that you may not find in other smaller print travel books. Travel like a local. Slow down, stay in one place, and get to know the people and the culture. By the time you finish this book, you will be eager and prepared to travel to your next destination.

A Visual Cruising Guide to the Southern New England Coast: Portsmouth, NH, to New London, CT

By James Bildner

International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press
Paperback (272 pages)

A Visual Cruising Guide to the Southern New England Coast: Portsmouth, NH, to New London, CT
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New concept in navigation provides the perfect complement to your charts and traditional cruising guides

This unique cruising guide features aerial photos matched with chart segments to guide you through channels and harbor approaches. Prepared with input from local experts up and down the coast, hazards, safe channels, and key navigation aids are clearly labeled on photos and charts.

A Walking Tour of Portsmouth, New Hampshire

By Doug Gelbert

Released: 2017-02-10
Kindle Edition (61 pages)

A Walking Tour of Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Product Description:
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are preparing for a road trip or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a downloadable walking tour is ready to explore when you are.

Each walking tour describes historical and architectural landmarks and provides pictures to help out when those pesky street addresses are missing. Every tour also includes a quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on American streets.

If you Google “Portsmouth” the Virginia town at the mouth of the Elizabeth River comes up first. But while both towns were named for the port in England, the colony of the Province of New Hampshire was actually founded (although he never actually made it this far south from his landing in Newfoundland) by the captain of the English port, John Mason. In fact, Portsmouth, New Hampshire was settled (1630) and fortified more than 100 years before its Virginia counterpart.

The natural harbor formed by the Piscataqua River has been compared to San Francisco for its advantages, save for a nasty current, and the early residents wasted no time in exploiting the location. Shipbuilding and trade made Portsmouth a favorite stop in Colonial times. And after America won its independence Portsmouth continued to be an important player in the young nation’s affairs. Portsmouth native John Langdon functioned as Acting President of the United States before giving the oath of office to George Washington. Portsmouth was generally considered the wealthiest city in New England and in the first census in 1790 it was the 14th most populous city in the country. Portsmouth would not drop out of the Top 20 until 1830.

The sea captains and merchants plowed their profits into their houses. As one observer noted, “The builders of Portsmouth had an eye for style. Tall, square, and many with hip roof, the mansions were the work of builders who were ever attentive to the molding of chimney caps, to the sweep and proportion of granite steps and coping, and to the detail of iron posts and hand-wrought designs on the railings. Topping many a house is the white-railed captain’s walk, from which the merchant could look into the bay and eagerly watch his ships slip home. Not so ornate as the houses of Salem, or so imposing as the Colonial mansions of Virginia, these dwellings show a delicacy of design that larger houses often lack.”

Fire was the enemy of these early American showplaces and Portsmouth suffered more than most. A 1781 blaze lay waste to important swaths of downtown. A Christmas night fire in 1802 completely destroyed entire blocks of Market Street and another in 1806 crippled Bow Street. Finally a conflagration in 1813 burned across 15 acres of the city and claimed nearly 300 structures. After that the New Hampshire legislature passed the Brick Act that forbade the erection of any wooden building higher than 12 feet, which displeased plenty of folks. Wood was cheaper than stone and brick and not everyone was rich. And the town was chock-full of skilled tradesmen who made their living shaping wood.

The result is two historic Portsmouths, one built of wood and the other built of brick. To launch our explorations of the “Old Town by the Sea” we will begin at the center of the downtown core in a sea of bricks before fanning out into the wood...

A Small City by the Sea: An Artist's View of Portsmouth, New Hampshire

By Sue Anne Bottomly

Piscataqua Press
Hardcover (104 pages)

A Small City by the Sea: An Artist s View of Portsmouth, New Hampshire
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Portsmouth is New Hampshire’s only city on her short Atlantic coastline, and a study in contrasts. Compact, but urban in feel. East Coast old but vibrantly renewing itself. Small enough to explore in a weekend, and a fascinating place to live, work, and play. Walk along with the artist, a New Hampshire native, as she sketches  whatever stops her feet and tugs at her heart.

Sue Anne Bottomley is a New Hampshire native. Raised in NH and Massachusetts, and an art major at the University of New Hampshire, she left the area after her college graduation to live in Washington state, Maryland, and England. After many years away from home, she returned  to live in New London, NH. Her first book is Colorful Journey: An Artist’s Adventure Drawing Every Town in New Hampshire. Pep Talks for the Would-Be, Should-Be Artist is her second book.


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