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Portsmouth is a city in Hampshire, United Kingdom, on the shores of the Solent Strait, which separates England from the Isle of Wight. The bulk of the urban population is concentrated on the island of Portsey. In Portsmouth is one of the main bases of the British Navy. The population of the city is about 200 thousand people.
Prior to the shallowing of the English Channel, the main port was located in Portchester: here, in ruins, a stone fortress of the Romans was preserved, which was rebuilt in the 11-12 centuries into a feudal castle. In 1194, King Richard the Lionheart granted Portsmouth a city charter and allowed him to hold a fair in it, which served as a strong impetus to the development of the city.
The main types of fishing for local residents at all times, except fishing, were shipbuilding and ship repair. The importance of Portsmouth increased greatly in the 15th century: a dry ship dock was founded, which, after expansion in 1698, occupied an area of 120 hectares. Most of the locals worked on the dock.
During the Second World War, the city, as the base of the English fleet, was heavily bombed. The ruined town hall building was restored in 1959. Portsmouth houses the home of Charles Dickens.
The modern symbol of Portsmouth is considered the Sail Tower (Spinnaker Tower) - it offers a beautiful view of the whole city, harbor and port.
Prior to the shallowing of the English Channel, the port was located in Portchester en, where the ruins of a stone fortress of the Romans, rebuilt in the XI-XII centuries in the feudal castle en. In 1194, King Richard the Lionheart, preoccupied with the underdevelopment of the English Channel, granted Portsmouth a city charter and allowed it to hold a fair in it. This charter was valid until 1627.
The value of Portsmouth has greatly increased under the Tudors. In 1496 a dry ship dock was founded, which, after expansion in 1698, spread over an area of 120 hectares. Over time, as Britain became a maritime power, shipyards grew into the largest naval base in the metropolis, which had all the resources and capacities to build and equip warships. It was on the dock that most of the Portsmouths worked. In the dry dock, the famous ships of the past are exhibited - the Tudor karaka “Mary Rose” and HMS “Victory” - the flagship of Admiral Nelson. Also in Portsmouth, as a museum ship, is the HMS Warrior, an armored frigate of the British Royal Navy, the world's first all-metal battleship for sailing on the high seas.
During the Second World War, the city was heavily bombed. The ruined town hall building was restored in 1959. After the war, prominent brutal architects designed the sleeping areas of the city. Among the historical monuments are a small, partly Romanesque cathedral (XII century), Tudor fortifications in the resort area of Southsea (circa 1544) and the house in which Charles Dickens was born.
Geography edit |City `s history
The history of the city dates back to the time of Roman settlements in England. Even before the shallow Channel, the port was in Portchester, where the ruins of a Roman stone fortress have been preserved.
Later (in the 11th – 12th centuries), the feudal castle of Portchester was built on the site of the fortress with a one-story stone watchtower, whose history is great and important for the city.
At first it was used as a fortification, then as a prison: in the 17th century, prisoners captured during the Second Anglo-Saxon War were put here, later captured during the War of the Spanish Succession, and in the 19th century, the French captured during the war with Napoleon.
The deceased prisoners were buried right on the coast, which at the moment at high tide is under water. Often, local residents and tourists after severe storms see the remains of deceased prisoners.
In the middle of the 15th century, a bishop was killed by sailors near the castle, who did not pay them a salary, after which the city was anathematized. According to legend, about 50 years after this, the city was haunted by troubles and misfortunes.
The city charter was issued directly to Portsmouth back in 1194 by Richard the Lionheart, who proposed to hold a fair at this place. This charter operated until 1627.
Portsmouth acquired great importance as a ship port during the reign of the Tudors. The ship dock was founded here in 1496, which in 1698 expanded to 120 hectares of area. Most Portsmouth residents worked on this dock.
Now in the dry dock, ships known to many tourists interested in history are exhibited. One of them is the English karaka “Mary Rose”, built in 1510. The ship is famous for the fact that during the war with the French it sank. They tried unsuccessfully to lift it to the surface, but at first this was not allowed by technology.
Later, it was possible to lift the ship from the bottom literally in parts, which are now exhibited in the museum. Another well-known historical vessel located in Portsmouth is the Royal Navy ship HMS Victory. This ship took part in significant historical battles of the English fleet, including the famous Battle of Trafalgar.
It was on board this ship that Admiral Nelson was mortally wounded. Since 1922, the ship has been constantly located in the port of Portsmouth. Now it is turned into a museum and looks exactly the same as it was during the Battle of Trafalgar.
In World War II, Portsmouth was badly damaged due to the constant bombing. Both residential buildings and historic public buildings were affected. After the war, the city was restored by brutal architects.
Currently, Portsmouth is of great importance for the country's economy. In Portsmouth, some historical monuments are still preserved, many buildings attract tourists with their architecture, new interesting sights appear.
Many attractions are connected with the sea and reflect the history of the city as an important seaport. So, most often, acquaintance with the city begins with the Spinnaker Tower with a height of 170 meters, which is made in the form of a sail. From the observation deck at the top of the tower overlooks all the surroundings and the city of Portsmouth.
At the shipyard not far from the tower, the historical ships Mary Rose and HMS Victory described above are moored. The first ship, the hull of which is entirely made of iron, is presented here - the HMS Warrior 1860. Old ships can be seen in the Gosport Submarine Museum, where you can also visit a submarine.
A few other interesting maritime museums include the Royal Marines Museum, the Shipyard History Museum and the Royal Navy Museum.
Among the architectural structures that attract the attention of tourists, Wentworth-Gardner House stands out, as well as houses built in the 18th-19th centuries. Some houses are open to visitors and are interesting not only in appearance, but also in the interior, where you can see antiques and works of art.
Among the religious sites, the most attractive for tourists are the Cathedral of St. Thomas and the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.
Portsmouth is famous for having the famous English writer Charles Dickens living in it. The house where he lived was transformed into a museum and is considered a landmark of the city. Now there is recreated the environment that was during the writer's life, his huge library and Dickens manuscripts are also stored here.
Those who like to enjoy nature should definitely visit the local Staunton park, which is suitable for the whole family to relax: for children there is a huge number of playgrounds, as well as a zoo, adults can relax in the cafe or while walking along the many pedestrian or bicycle paths in the park.
Here is the Blue Reef Aquarium (Blue Reef Aquarium), where you can watch the inhabitants of the underwater world, as well as feed friendly fish.
For lovers of extreme relaxation and attractions, the Leisure Island amusement park is suitable. You can learn golf from your aristocrats at a local golf club.
Food and Drinks in Portsmouth
There are few restaurants in Portsmouth and they are unremarkable, although there is more to choose from in Southsea. In Old Portsmouth, it is best to choose one of the old coastal pubs, which usually have snacks and full dishes.
1). American Restaurant - A stylish bar-restaurant adjacent to the Wighlink ferry terminal, which serves quality food at reasonably reasonable prices. There are places on the sidewalk, as well as a terrace twined with foliage and wrought iron tables. Prices are moderate to moderate. Location: 52 Whitehall Road,
2). Bistro Montparnasse - This place stands out from many restaurants in this part of Southsea, thanks to good quality French dishes and seafood. Closed on Sunday and Monday. The prices are moderate. Location: 103 Palmerston Road, Southsea,
3). Restaurant Country Kitchen - Vegetarian restaurant, open only during the day. Closed on Sundays. Inexpensive. Location: 59 Marmion Road, Southsea,
4). Restaurant Sorrento - A chic Italian restaurant in the prestigious maritime institution of Portsmouth, 6 miles north of the city center, not far from Portchester Castle. The prices are moderate. Location: Port Solent,
5). Hotel restaurant Spice Island Inn - An old hotel, located in a quiet location in the oldest part of the city. Beautiful appearance, comfortable interior. A wide selection of hot and cold dishes is offered. The prices are moderate. Location: Bath Square, Old Portsmouth,
6). Pub Still and West Country House - An adjacent pub with Spice Island, which is just as old-fashioned, with an updated menu of seafood dishes and a wide assortment of beer. There are also tables outside, overlooking the Solent Strait. The prices are moderate. Location: 2 Bath Square, Old Portsmouth,
7). Restaurant Sur La Mer - A good restaurant serving French cuisine and seafood, with a fixed price for a three-course meal of about £ 7 and £ 12. Closed on Sundays. Inexpensive. Location: 69 Palmerston Road, Southsea.
How to get to Portsmouth
Portsmouth is one of the most important railway junctions in the south of the country, so getting here is not difficult from anywhere in the country. The connection with London is better than anything else - the train from Waterloo takes about an hour and a half, the cheapest ticket will cost about 20 GBP. You can also get here directly from Gatwick Airport, travel time is 1 hour 20 minutes. Also, trains connect Portsmouth to the south coast of Great Britain: Brighton, Cardiff, Bath, Bristol and Southampton. Southampton has the airport closest to Portsmouth.
At least 15 express buses leave from London to Portsmouth every day. The road will take two and a half hours, the fare is about 14 GBP. Buses also run between Portsmouth and Southampton (50 minutes), Chichester (1 hour) and Brighton (3.5 hours).
Transport in the city
Portsmouth has a flat landscape and an extensive convenient public transport network, so it’s a pleasure to drive public buses here. Routes also run through the city itself and go beyond its borders, so you can get to Southampton by regular bus. A day pass costs about 3 GBP (valid in the city limits), and for 5 GBP you can purchase the right to an unlimited number of trips by transport throughout Hampshire.
There are no problems with accommodation in Portsmouth - about 40 hotels, guest houses, guest houses and hostels are at the disposal of tourists. Most hotels have a three-star category, but are neat and comfortable in British style. There are also some very high-quality “fours”, where the night will cost an average of 100 GBP, and a lot of starless establishments with a homely atmosphere and sincere service. And in Portsmouth, you can stay in boutique hotels, cottages and lodges - as a rule, these are private mansions with several guest rooms.
Shopping & Stores
The main shopping area of Portsmouth is the area of the old Ganuarf Keyes shipyards. There are both boutiques of expensive brands - Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss and Barbour - as well as affordable M&S, Cadburys, Claire’s and GAP. You can’t count on mega-low prices, although in the off-season discounts here are very attractive. In the business center of the city, you should go to the Portsmouth City Center department store. Souvenirs are sold in abundance at the sights, and on Albert Road you can find excellent antiques, antique gizmos and interior items. In the southern suburbs of Southsea, the Southsea Town Center shopping center “steers” - a mass of boutiques, art shops and interior shops.
Things to do in Portsmouth
Arriving in Portsmouth, staying at the hotel and looking around, the first thing you should do is go see the main local attraction - Historic shipyards. On the area of several hectares, dozens of buildings of the 18-19th centuries are located, including docks with original furnishings, sea warehouses, the Semaphore Tower, the historical police department, the porters pavilion, the rope warehouse, etc. The real treasures of the historical shipyards are three original ships: “ Marie-Rose ”of the Tudor era (16th century),“ HMS Warrior ”built in 1860 and the handsome flagship of the fleet under the leadership of Admiral Nelson -“ HMS Victory ”.
In May 2013, the ultra-modern Marie Rose Museum opened, where you can see more than 19 thousand exhibits related to the ship and its crew.
In the bowels of the HMS Victory, you can visit the captain’s cabin, from where Nelson monitored the Battle of Trafalgar, residential decks where more than 800 sailors lived, and the cabin where the admiral passed away. Well, the world's first steel ship on steam and sailing “HMS Warrior” still stands on the water, at the pier of Portsmouth docks.
The modern attraction of Portsmouth is the 170-meter “Spinnaker” tower, with three viewing platforms located at a height of 100, 105 and 115 meters, offering breathtaking views of the city and the sea.
Back in Portsmouth, you should visit Southsea Castle, built by Henry VIII in the 16th century as part of the city fortifications, the Royal Navy Museum, the Cathedrals of St. Thomas and St. John (the first is Anglican, the second is Catholic) and the Blue Reef Aquarium. Charles Dickens House Museum is located in the building where the future writer was once born. Take a walk in the fresh air and head to the 6-km Southsea Promenade.
The Isle of Wight, which can be reached from Portsmouth by ferry in about 1 hour, in recent years has turned into a place of "otvyaznoy" hangouts - there are thundering music festivals, and nightclubs and discos are famous throughout the south coast.