Prepare to splice the main brace, hoist the halyard and potter around the poop deck – Portsmouth is one of the principal ports of Britain's Royal Navy, and the sights of its historic dockyard rank alongside London's Greenwich. Here you can jump aboard Lord Nelson's warship HMS Victory, which led the charge at Trafalgar, and see the evocative hulk of Henry VIII's flagship, the Mary Rose.
Portsmouth was bombed heavily during WWII and chunks of the city feature soulless postwar architecture, but the cobbled streets of the Point still provide a tangible taste of the past. Regeneration at the glitzy shopping enclave of Gunwharf Quays includes the spectacular Spinnaker Tower, which provides jaw-dropping views. Add some superb restaurants and chic sleep spots, and you have plenty of reasons for an overnight stay. The suburb of Southsea, which begins a mile south east of Gunwharf Quays, is rich in good hotels and eateries.
Portsmouth destination guides
Stonehenge, Portsmouth and Winchester Day Trip from London
Watch British history come alive with a full-day sightseeing trip to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, home to the Mary Rose and other venerable warships; the Great Hall in Winchester where King Arthur’s Round Table is located; and the prehistoric grounds of Stonehenge.