Portsmouth Landmarks and Monuments

(Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, UK)

Spinnaker Tower pictureA large city with some of Hampshire's most remarkable landmarks and important monuments, Portsmouth is home to two historic cathedrals, the remains of medieval fortifications, and a renowned university with approximately 20,000 students.

The very modest house where Charles Dickens was actually born in 1812 has now become something of a museum-type attraction cum landmark. Portsmouth is extremely proud of its strong connections with Dickens, particularly since his family used to work for the city's naval forces.

Close-up photo of the Spinnaker Tower

Spinnaker Tower

Address: Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 3TT, England, UK
Tel: +44 023 9285 7520
A relatively new addition to the Portsmouth skyline, the highly contemporary Spinnaker Tower was built as part of the harbourfront's redevelopment and regeneration in the new millennium, being completed in 2005 at the cost of more than £35 million. The Spinnaker Tower measures in at around 170 metres / 558 feet high and can be seen as far away as the Isle of Wight. Designed to resemble the sail of a ship and featuring a triple observation desk, reached by internal and external lifts, the views from the top of the Spinnaker Tower are quite simply awesome.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 18:00
Admission: charge, discounts for local residents (must bring two documents proving residence)

Cathedral of St. Thomas of Canterbury photograph

Cathedral of St. Thomas of Canterbury

Address: High Street, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 2HH, England, UK
Tel: +44 023 9234 1468
The Cathedral of St. Thomas of Canterbury has origins as far back at the 12th-century, although there are only a few remnants of this original structure remaining. Also known as simply Portsmouth Cathedral and dominating much of the waterfront, this religious Church of England landmark has been altered a number of times over the years, with the tower and nave being completely rebuilt at the end of the 17th century. Regular choir recitals take place each week and on Sunday mornings.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, donations happily accepted

Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist image

Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

Address: Bishop's House, Edinburgh Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 3HG, England, UK
Tel: +44 023 9282 6613
Located around 1.5 km / 1 mile to the north of the Cathedral of St. Thomas of Canterbury is the city's Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. Serving the city as the seat for the Bishop of Portsmouth, this landmark took ten years to build and was completed in the summer of 1892. Built out of Fareham red bricks, the architecture is best described as being French Gothic and features a beautiful curving apse, as well as colourful stained-glass windows and fine details within its St. Patrick's Chapel.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, donations happily accepted

Photograph showing the historical area named the Point

The Point

Address: The Point, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, UK
The Point is to be found within the city's historical Old Portsmouth area and is an especially pleasant part of the city in which to hang out, with great views of the naval ships and ferries. Also going by the name of Spice Island, due to being the historical setting where Caribbean spices were once traded, the Point overlooks the waterfront and Gosport, and is home to the Camber Dock, remains of early defences, and a variety of atmospheric pubs.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Round Tower picture

Round Tower

Address: Broad Street, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 2JD, England, UK
Tel: +44 023 9282 7261
One of the city's oldest fortifications still standing, the Round Tower started its life as an 18-gun battery and is sited on Broad Street. Built almost 600 years ago to defend Portsmouth Harbour from possible attack by French warships, the Round Tower became the property of the city, when the Coastal Artillery became obsolete. Step inside to find a surprising vaulted brick ceiling, which was added in the early part of the 19th century and provides much character. The top of this landmark affords an excellent vantage point, with vistas across the harbour.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Square Tower

Address: Broad Street, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 2JE, England, UK
Tel: +44 023 9282 7261
Situated close to the Round Tower and also on Broad Street, the Square Tower dates from the very end of the 15th century and has been used for a multitude of different purposes over the years. As well as defending the city, the Round Tower has stored gunpowder and been a naval store for meat. Many of its original features remain, adding a simple Tudor character to the tower.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Charles Dickens' Birthplace image

Charles Dickens' Birthplace

Address: 393 Old Commercial Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 4QL, England, UK
Tel: +44 023 9282 7261
Furnished with traditional furniture of the period, the Charles Dickens' Birthplace was the home of the world-famous writer for the first three years of his life, before the family left Portsmouth for the brighter lights of London, where he wrote novels such as Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations, amongst many others. Dickens did actually return to the city in 1866, to search for his birthplace, although he was actually unsuccessful. However, today, the Charles Dickens' Birthplace is clearly signposted and therefore is easy to find.
Open hours: February 7th (Charles Dickens' Birthday) - 10:00 to 17:00; May to September, daily - 10:00 to 17:30
Admission: charge, discounts for children, students and seniors, children 12 years old and under are free with paying adult (maximum of two children free per family)

Southsea Castle view

Southsea Castle

Address: Clarence Esplanade, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO5 3PA, England, UK
Tel: +44 023 9282 7261
Known for its paranormal activity and ghost weekends, Southsea Castle was built in 1544 and stands on the very seafront of Portsmouth. Over the years, Southsea Castle has operated as a military prison and even as a lighthouse, and is now a popular attraction and coastal landmark. Just one year after it was completed, King Henry VIII stood here and watched his beloved warship, the Mary Rose, battle against the French and subsequently capsize and sink, with most of its crew losing their lives, being unable to swim the relatively short distance to shore. The castle and its ramparts are now open to the public and can also be hired for functions and weddings. Next door, the Castle Field has the appearance of a natural amphitheatre and plays host to many of the city's public events.
Open hours: April to September, daily - 10:00 to 17:30
Admission: charge, discounts for children, seniors and large groups, children under 13 years old are free when accompanied by an adult

Spitbank Fort image

Spitbank Fort

Address: Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, UK
Tel: +44 01329 242077
Lying in the Solent and just 1.5 km / 1 mile off the coast of Portsmouth, the Spitbank Fort really is quite a subtle local landmark and as such, can easily be overlooked. Built between 1861 and 1878, and recently making an appearance on ITV's 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway', the Spitbank Fort is more like an island than a fortress and was commissioned to provide a further line of defence for the city, measuring around 50 metres / 164 feet in diameter. This unusual fortress features just one floor, along with a basement, and is connected by regular ferries, which depart from Gosport, the Historic Dockyard and the Ferry Pontoon at the Hard. Historical tours and Sunday lunches at the onsite restaurant are two good reasons to come here.
Open hours: daily
Admission: charge

South Parade Pier photo

Portsmouth Piers (South Parade Pier and Clarence Pier)

Address: Clarence Esplanade, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, UK
The two Southsea piers of Portsmouth are just a short distance from each other, although these Victorian seaside landmarks really couldn't be more different. Clarence Pier dates from 1861, when it was officially opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales, and rather than jutting out directly into the sea, actually runs alongside the coastline. The funfair and amusement park at Clarence Pier is a major attraction with holidaying families and has actually appeared within one of the episodes of ITV's Mr. Bean comedy series, starring Rowan Atkinson. South Parade Pier is far more traditional in its appearance, stretching out into the Solent and boasting stunning coastal views. Built in 1879 and comprising a lengthy promenade, South Parade Pier also comes with a fishing deck, a small funfair, an amusement arcade and two large function rooms. Of interest, scenes for the 1975 rock musical 'Tommy' (starring Jack Nicholson, Tina Turner, Elton John and Paul Nicholas) were shot here.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free