As a child, I had the unique opportunity to live in Portsmouth, England. It had a profound effect on me. Here are the five best places to visit while you are in Portsmouth. I know. I’ve been there.

H.M.S. Victory in Portsmouth
The H.M.S. Victory in dry dock, Portsmouth, England.
Photo by Jaguar on Wikipedia.

My dad worked for IBM. And in the fall of 1979, we left our home in New York and set out for a two-year assignment overseas. Our destination? Portsmouth, England. We lived in the village of Drayton, in the town of Cosham, in the city of Portsmouth, in the county of Hampshire, in the country of England. It’s a mouthful, right? I went to the local English school, wore the English uniform, and proudly sang the English “God Save The Queen.” I was the token Yank and proud of it.

We spent a lot of time touring the southern to the middle part of England while we there. But my favorite places, still to this day, were in Portsmouth. Even now, I still recall with fondness walking along the Southsea Pier eating ice cream and watching the colorful local Pearlies as they walked by. Here are, by far, the five best places you need to visit if you have time to go to Portsmouth.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard And The H.M.S. Victory

I will never forget the day my parents took me to the dockyard to see the H.M.S. Victory, while in England. It was a step back in time. This English clipper ship was Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson’s world-famous flagship. During the ships heyday, she carried 104 guns and was a deciding factor in the Battle of Trafalgar. I realize now that my love of anything pirate and seafaring during the 1700s came from the tour of this English ship. Today, the dockyards offer visitors more ships than the Victory. The Mary Rose, King Henry VIII’s flagship, is there. Go see her for me.

Charles Dickens’ Birthplace Museum

Growing up on the stories of Dickens and Shakespeare, visiting the birthplace of Charles Dickens in England was imperative. The small terraced English house is where the author was born in 1812 and three rooms are available for viewing. They include the dining room, the parlor, and the room in which Dickens was born. Lovingly restored, the house has a small collection of Dickens memorabilia and displays about Dickens and Portsmouth.

Southsea Castle, Portsmouth

Southsea Castle, Portsmouth
Southsea Castle protects Portsmouth from invaders.
Photo by Geni on Wikipedia.

As part of a line of fortifications along the southern coast of England built by King Henry VIII, Southsea Castle in Portsmouth was built in 1544. It was here in Portsmouth the King watched the Mary Rose sink during the Battle of the Solent against the French. The English castle offers you a beautiful view of the English Channel and Portsmouth. Once you’re done checking out all the historical displays, you’ll want to visit…

Southsea Parade Pier, Portsmouth

I made many childhood memories on the Southsea Parade Pier, including sliding down the Helter Skelter on a burlap bag. This Portsmouth pier is classic and offers families a fun place to go to get away for the day. There is a penny arcade, places to fish, and a small amusement area. Add an ice cream cone and a walk on the pebble beach, and your day is complete.

Portsdown Hill

When we lived in Portsmouth, England our street ended where Portsdown Hill began. This chalk ridge overlooks the city of Portsmouth. On a clear day, you can see the Isle of Wight in the English Channel. There are miles of walking trails on Portsdown Hill with plenty of English wildlife to see. It is also the home of Fort Widley where I learned how to horseback ride.


If you get the chance to go to Portsmouth, England make sure you check out these five places. Then let me know what you think of England.

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