Portsmouth

Summer holidays are officially over and I’m back to university for my last year! Moreover, the autumn weather starts to settle down in the UK so it adds up on my post-travel depression. So, I needed to do something just after 3 weeks in London. I need to get away. Have some sunshine and breath from the rush of settling back and starting studying seriously. Portsmouth was a random but good choice for that. I spent a day there full of sunshine and feelings of travel again despite being just 1h30min away from London’s grey sky.

Portsmouth is located in the south coast of England, not so far from London therefore easily connected. There are several trains and buses linking both cities and it takes between 1h30min up till 2 hours journey. A day trip is so possible to make on a week-end, the city is fairly small so only few hours are enough to see the main things and have a walk around it.

I travelled with a Moroccan girl studying in London too. She liked my Facebook page Omar, In A City Near You and did not hesitate to send me a message. Few weeks later, we met and got to know each other and realise this trip together. Once we arrived to Portsmouth, we joined forces to make a plan of things to do during our day there. Our first point of contact with the city was the Gunwharf Quays, a shopping centre that clearly is Oxford Circus of Portsmouth. This shopping centre was surprinsgly the only very busy place in the city and had some amazing sales and outlet stores. I hate shopping although it was interesting to know that prices may actually be cheaper than London’s. It’s maybe worth another day trip for shopping only!

Following the quick walk around the shopping centre, we have confronted the rising white tower, the Spinnaker. It’s a very cool and well designed tower that has an observation deck on its top. I’m sure the view would have been amazing but I passed on that. Tickets were a little bit expensive.

After a lunch at Burger King, I visited the rest of the city just by walk passing by The Canal Side and Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral. A very beautiful cathedral with a nice architecture and a lively green space surrounding it. Since then, the sun was shining bright till we left the city later. Our planning included the City Museum where we stopped for a couple of hours. The museum focuses on local history and traces some of the most important facts about Portsmouth and its region. It also shows how much the city is maritime oriented. Indeed, Portsmouth is the only island city in the UK fully surrounded by water, it has an important port for various activities, a sailing culture and nice beaches for summer.

The museum has some interesting exhibitions some are about Sherlock Holmes, Football in Portsmouth, Art from the region and a room full of items from designers. The entry to the museum is free of charge, it is well maintained even though some objects are quite old. And the staff is friendly and welcoming!

The last part of our day was made of a nice walk around Old Portsmouth. The main thing to see there was probably the Square Tower, built in 1494 as part of the whole fortifications in the same area. Then I walked along the coast to end up in Bath Square. A perfect spot to enjoy the weather and a great view over the sea and the city. This is where my day trip to Portsmouth ended.