Photo Credit: David Stanley
Portsmouth is a fun and vibrant city right on the south coast in the heart of Hampshire. It’s known for its great nightlife. In fact, Portsmouth has the highest number of bars per square mile in the UK! Sounds like a student’s paradise! Welcome to Pompey.
If you’re new to the city, our Portsmouth city guide will help you find your feet and experience the best of it.
Portsmouth is a fairly easy city to navigate and most of the bars and shops are in the same area.
The University of Portsmouth’s campus is in the city centre and easily accessible. You won’t need any buses from town to this campus. Portsmouth’s other campus though, Lansdowne Campus, is a little further out. The uni offers bus services between each campus.
If you need to get a taxi, there are taxi ranks in the city centre and each journey shouldn’t cost you much more than a fiver. Uber is also available in Portsmouth.
Portsmouth has loads of great things to see and do. Portsmouth is known for its nightlife, but there’s plenty of other things to discover here as well.
The first thing you want to do is take a look at Portsmouth’s iconic landmark, Spinnaker Tower. It’s stunning to look at and is a great addition to Pompey’s skyline. You can go inside and head to the very top, which offers amazing views of the city.
Of course, Portsmouth is known for its connection to sailing and the sea. For some amazing naval history go and see the Mary Rose Museum. This place actually has the massive Mary Rose ship on display. The ship was used the Henry the Eighth’s navy and was sunk in the 16th century. It was rediscovered in the 70’s and is preserved in this museum. It’s truly something you can’t see anywhere else!
If you’re still in the mood to see some more stunning ships, HMS Victory and HMS Warrior are two old vessels you can board and have a tour of. These are absolutely huge and will make you feel like a student Jack Sparrow!
Portsmouth is home to loads of lovely open spaces and parks. The most popular is Victoria Park. It’s a fun place to go for a walk or chill out with mates. It’s also home to loads of pretty statues and memorials as well as a gorgeous fountain. Another good park to check out is Milton Park. It’s got loads of open spaces and is a great place to go for a kick-about with mates!
Now for the fun bit, Pompey’s bars! This city is jammed packed with places to wet your whistle. Lyberry is a great spot to check out. It’s got a cool, neon-lit interior and loads of tasty cocktails to try. Better still, if your parents or lecturers asked where you were last night, you can say: “I was at the Lyberry, all night.” And just fail to mention that this Lyberry has booze instead of books! The Grapes is a stylish place to check out. It’s got an interesting layout and a fun atmosphere. Fancy something a little more upbeat? Check out Kingsley’s. It’s a bit of a hotspot in Portsmouth and is known for its cheap colourful drink and regular karaoke nights!
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Portsmouth has loads to offer when it comes to great clubs. PRYZM is a massive multi-floored superclub that plays a wide range of great music. Any fans of EDM, this is your home. The Astoria is another awesome place to check out. This place specialises in House music and often gets big-name DJs in for club nights. A popular choice for students, you’d be a fool not to give this place a whirl! Tiger Tiger is another cool place to check out. They often host great student nights with tons of cheap drink deals! For LGBT students, Hampshire Boulevard is a fun gay bar to party at! It’s got a lively atmosphere and is the must-see place for gay and lesbian students in Portsmouth!
Looking to pick up a great cup of coffee? Check out Chai Coffee for a refreshing brew. The Garage Lounge is a lovely place to grab a drink. It’s got a gorgeous, rustic interior and serves up delicious desserts along with your cuppa!
If you’re a fan of sports, you’ll have a good time in Portsmouth. Pompey used to fly high in the premier league and have even won the FA Cup. Unfortunately, in recent years they’ve fallen down to the third tier of English football. However, they still play in the huge Fratton Park stadium and battle it out in league one! If you do choose to see a game, don’t mention Southampton! Pomey and Saints are bitter rivals! If you go to any games, keep an eye out for mega-fan John Portsmouth. And that’s not a nickname. This fan changed his legal name to John Anthony Portsmouth Football Club Westwood. I’m not kidding.
Portsmouth is a fairly big city, so you’ll find all the major restaurant chains here.
If you’re looking to share a slice with some mates, check out Circolo. This cosy restaurant is the perfect place to grab some pizza. Its homemade recipes and comfy setting make it an ideal spot for students. Bodrum is a nice spot to see as well. Fancy a tasty curry? Pop along to The Spice Merchants curry house for some delicious Indian grub!
Photo Credit: Fancycrave
Sant-Yago is a great tapas place to check out. Its interior is stunning and the chairs have a modern “paint-splattered” effect to them (think artwork in the Louvre, rather than your Dad’s failed attempt at repainting the front room!).
For vegans and vegetarians, Smile Café is a great place to grab a meat-free meal! Agora is a lovely Turkish restaurant with lots of veggie dishes to choose from.
Portsmouth has got loads of great shops you can visit. It’s got tons of range, from mainstream brands to quirky vintage shops. Whatever you fancy, you’ll be able to find it here!
Gunwharf Quays is a huge shopping centre in Portsmouth. This place will have most of what you need, it’s filled with all the big clothes brands. Portsmouth other shops are all closely located in the city centre and are easy to find.
If you’re looking to pick up some vintage clobber, Dress Code is a cool place to check out. Unleash your inner hipster here by checking out their wide range of vintage vinyl as well! Anything Goes Vintage Fashion is another great place to check out if you’re looking for some old-school gear!
Portsmouth has a large student population, so there’s plenty of great houses ideal for students. Most students tend to live in the Southsea area. Living here will mean you’re close to all of your mates and is a lively part of town.
If you live in Southsea, you can catch a free university bus from Goldsmith Avenue. The roads you’ll likely find student houses on here are Fawcett Road, Elm Grove and Albert Road. There are loads of great bars and shops in this area and it’s Portsmouth most lively area. In Southsea, you’re likely to find a mix of students and working professionals. You won’t be far from your mates, but this area is a real mix of different people. If you’re worried about price, a general rule is that the closer you are to the seafront, the closer the rents will be.
There is student accommodation available in other areas, but Southsea tends to do the job for most people. Some choose to live in the city centre, which does offer good links to the University. Seeing as you’ll likely do most of your shopping in Gunwharf Keys though, it’s a little less likely than normal for students to live here.
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