Our city has many wonderful places to discover, but Old Portsmouth is a favourite of mine. I never get bored of taking a stroll down the remparts on a cold winter's day or on a warm sunny summer's evening, watching the ships come in and out of the Harbour. The variety of vessels make it such a great place to sit on a bench and watch the spectacle. The rusty and colourful fishing boats alongside the elegant sailing yachts, fighting their way between the giants of the seas, mighty naval ships, cross channel ferries with waving tourists on the decks and the colossal and imposing shipping containers. A guaranteed fascinating place to take time out of your busy schedule to relax and take in the busy harbour atmosphere.
Old Portsmouth is far more than just a ship spotting destination, it is knee-deep in history with remains of the original city of Portsmouth which was constructed in the 11's century and designed by De Gigors.
After admiring the many boats, carry on walking along the Hotwalls (remparts), stop by the Square and the Round Tower which have been painstakingly restored and now welcome the most beautiful artist studios, cafe and shops in their old arches. The work was recently completed in 2016 and is a stunning addition to Old Portsmouth. The studios boast local talent, a wide variety of artists from a textile artisan to a jewelry maker, a print designer, a potter and so much more. Visit HOTWALLS STUDIOS website to discover more.
You can now enjoy a coffee or glass of wine on the terrace over hanging the remparts to take in the stunning sea views and nearby scenery. A place full of history, drama and rather futuristic architectural design. A must see in my opinion.
After wondering the boutiques and enjoying a coffee and a slice of cake, it is time to get back on the trail and wonder through the old cobbled streets, discovering the colourful and picturesque houses. Head through the little door under the Round Tower and wonder through West Street where you will find yourself deep in history. You’ll see some of the oldest houses in Portsmouth as well as the quaint sailing club plus some contemporary and very successful architectural conversions. Head to the tip of the peninsula and a new view opens up to you, the Historic Dockyards next to the very modern Gunwharf Quays shopping centre. A strong architectural dynamic unfolding in front of your very eyes with plenty to take in and a great place to stop at one of the old pubs for a refreshment.
You have reached Portsmouth Point, a very historic area also called Spice Island. Take in the view of Gunwharf Quays, the Spinnaker Tower, The America Cup Head Quarters, Gosport Marina and the many ships passing through the harbour.
On your way back don't forget to take a left and walk around the fishing port. Another spot with a great variety of architecture. Once you reach the fish market take a right towards the Cathedral and enjoy the lovely, quaint cottages leading the way to St Thomas of Canterbury with its striking Roman architecture.
You have come full circle and it's time to decide which direction your next discovery will lead you. Make your way towards Southsea to experience the sea side village feel, or walk to Gunwharf for the ultra modern marina and shops, either way I promise it will be another great destination, through your Portsmouth exploration discovery.