If you’re looking for a place to take your family on vacation, you should consider Portsmouth.

There’s plenty of things to do and see in the city. We will talk about what you can do in the area with your family and provide some great suggestions.

The Spinnaker Tower

Spinnaker tower is Europe’s biggest observation tower offering 360° views of the city and beyond. 

View from spinnaker tower in Portsmouth UK
View from Spinnaker tower in Portsmouth UK

On a clear day, you can even spot the Isle of Wight. Each floor has different exhibits, so there’s always something new to see. There are also three restaurants and a ‘Viewers’ bar on the 51st floor where you can relax and savour the views.

 The Historic Dockyard

Portmouth is the UK’s most historic dockyard, maybe that’s why it is home to three world-class maritime museums. You can visit HMS Victory (the Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship) as well as the Mary Rose shipwreck and explore life below decks on a Victorian warship.

Exterior view of the HMS Victory in harbor in Portsmouth
Exterior view of the HMS Victory in harbor in Portsmouth

It doesn’t end there either; for those who like things more hands-on, you can also climb aboard the HMS Warrior from 1860 – one of the world’s first all-iron warships. 

According to Southern Van Hire’s Managing Director, you need a reliable transport system to enjoy your trip in such an areas of Portsmouth. Hiring a van would be a great way to drive around the Historic Dockyard with all your camping gear.

Take A Walk Along The Waterfront

There are beautiful coastal walks in Portsmouth, so we suggest taking your family or dog out for an afternoon stroll along the famous seafront. Plus, there are plenty of places to stop off for a drink or bite to eat along the way if you get peckish.

Take A Walk On Southsea Seafront

Southsea is another area of Portsmouth with lots of things to see and do. It has beautiful views over the city, especially at sunset when it’s bathed in gorgeous pink light. You can also look out towards The Solent, where you are bound to spot some yachts sailing by. People are always jogging up and down here, which makes for great people-watching too!

Visit The Historic Dockyard Museum & Tudor House

This living museum has something for everyone; kids will love dressing up as sailors or Victorian children and playing traditional games, while older children can learn more about what life was really like in the historic dockyard. 

Statue of Admiral Lord Nelson at Portsmouth Historical Dockyard Museum
Statue of Admiral Lord Nelson at Portsmouth Historical Dockyard Museum

Tudor House is a half-timbered Elizabethan merchant’s house, and it allows you to step back in time and experience life in the 1500s.

Take A Day Trip To The Isle Of Wight

The Isle of Wight has beautiful countryside, gorgeous beaches and lots of fun activities for families to enjoy. There are amusement parks (you MUST visit Fantasy Island!), museums, art galleries, and plenty of places to eat if your kids get hungry. 

You could even hire a bike or go on a steam train ride – all family favourites. Although I would recommend leaving enough time to take a trip on the Red Jet across to Ryde, it only takes 30 minutes, and you can have lunch there before coming back.

The Portsmouth Grammar School Museum

Portsmouth Grammar School was founded in 1611 and has been home to many famous alumni, including Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, and H.G Wells.

This museum tells the story of their lives and have recreated an old school room from when they were students. It’s interactive too, so young ones will delight in dressing up as Victorian schoolboys or physicians or having a go at writing with a quill pen.

Take A Trip Over To Portchester Castle

You will find this castle overlooking Portsmouth Harbour, and you can quickly get there using public transport.

The ruins of an old medieval castle in portchester, portsmouth,
The ruins of an old medieval castle in portchester, Portsmouth,

This is another living museum, and children will love exploring it, attending a knight training school, or trying their best at archery!

The City Museum And Art Gallery

This museum has many interesting and unusual exhibits to keep both adults and kids entertained. There’s an original Spitfire airplane, Victorian toilets, old arcade machines, and all kinds of objects from Portsmouth’s long history to look out for. 

You can also participate in one of the daily craft workshops if you want to try something different.

 Take A Visit To The D-Day Museum

The D-Day Museum has interactive displays and games where you can learn all about the history of D Day, find out what life was like for soldiers during wartime, and even dress up as a WWII soldier. You can also climb aboard HMS Belfast, permanently moored in Portsmouth Harbour.

Get Active At Southsea Skate Park

Southsea Skate Park is great fun for children and teenagers alike; it’s free to use if you have your equipment, but there are usually skateboarders hanging around looking to make new friends so that you could organise a playdate here with a group of new mums or dads. 

Alternatively, some shops sell second-hand boards cheaply, which would be ideal for budding skaters.

 The Waterfront

You will find the Waterfront along the seafront, and it is a great place to walk around and watch boats sailing in and out of Portsmouth Harbour.

There are plenty of bars and restaurants here, too, so you could take your children for an early dinner before heading back down to see the fireworks.

Make Portsmouth your next family vacation destination. We hope you find this list of suggestions helpful in planning your time there. Enjoy the beautiful views, fascinating museums, and the rich history that the city offers. 

And don’t forget to take a stroll along Water Street while you are there for some shopping or soak up the scenery with delicious food at one of the many restaurants. Let us know if you have questions about what to see in Portsmouth with your family in the comment section below.