South coast of Portsmouth  
With a striking blend of history and modernity, Portsmouth is an excellent destination for a city break in England. From Roman settlements, and via Henry VIII's Mary Rose and Nelson's HMS Victory, through to the recent and unmistakable Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth - or Pompey as it is nicknamed - houses a hoard of icons and landmarks.

City life is pretty fun in this Hampshire destination too, with a good shopping scene, decent restaurants, lively bars and plenty to see and do - even when the notorious British weather blows in some wind and rain off the sea. Located on the south coast, Portsmouth is also known for being the UK's only island city, with Portsea Island laying claim to most of the urban area. 

Hotels in Portsmouth are mostly found on the island, with a few notable exceptions in the mainland areas of Port Solent and Cosham.

To gain the easiest access to the attractions, consider Portsmouth hotels on the south-west corner of the island as here you'll find the biggest cluster of places to stay, especially around the beaches of Southsea. This is the place to be if you like your city break with a sea view, and it's a hugely popular destination in summer, so book hotels early in this splendid seaside escape.

Hotels are also available around Old Portsmouth and Gunwharf Quays. The history of the city comes alive in these areas, and the quays now feature a modern range of eateries and shops. You can find some of the well-known hotel brands in the city as Premier Inn and Travelodge sit alongside Marriott, Best Western, Holiday Inn, Hilton and Ibis.

Whatever kind of hotel you like, you will be satisfied by the range of hotels in Portsmouth. Budget hotels can be booked in most areas, with great-value chain hotels offering good rates. Grand old seaside hotels add a touch of charm in Southsea, and there are both modern and traditional luxury hotels that are worth checking in at. The pretty town of Chirchester is nearby and less than 30 miles away.

Top five attractions

Mary Rose

Visit the remains of Henry VIII's flagship which sank in the Solent on its maiden voyage.

HMS Victory

Marvel at the 104-gun spearhead of Lord Nelson's victorious fleet. There are many helpful guides on hand to answer questions about this iconic piece of British history.

Gunwharf Quays

Once a hub of industry, this area is now the stylish home of a collection of shops, restaurants and leisure activities.

Spinnaker Tower

An imposing 170-metre high centrepiece, the tower is the symbol of modern Portsmouth.

Royal Naval Museum

The museum offers a gloriously fascinating voyage through the history of how Britannia ruled the waves.


Southsea Food Festival; July: Prepare to overload your taste buds with a month-long celebration of food and cooking. A food lover's dream come true, you can't fail to be mesmerised by the array of grub and drink backed up by demonstrations, competitions and a wealth of expertise.

Live at the Bandstand Sunday shows; May -August: A brilliant council-run event with music for all the family. Get there early and pitch up with your picnic blanket as, being a totally free event, it can get crowded.

Victorian Festival of Christmas; November/December: Portsmouth's historic dockyard is transformed by the magic of Christmas as you find yourself immersed in a living Dickens novel. It's nostalgia at its best - but with plenty of modern stalls selling everything you need to prepare for the festivities.