Portsmouth: A Town Of Rich History and Modern Education
Updated: May 24
You are probably thinking where is this place and why was I here? Portsmouth is a small town, about 2.5 hours away ( by car) from London Heathrow Airport. I visited this town as an exchange programme student at the University of Portsmouth and my college. Yes! as the name suggests, the University covers most of the area of the town with different campuses spread all over. The population is mostly of college-going students, ( eerily similar to Manipal University where I studied!). It was a study-cation, during which I not only learnt about dentistry but also made memories of a lifetime.
A picture of me learning new procedures at the University of Portsmouth Dental Academy (UPDA)
As you enter Portsmouth, you see pretty houses, quiet lanes and beauty all around!
The narrow lanes, beautiful architecture and the calm breeze touch your soul!
Away from a big city and the hustle, this town feels like heaven.
Walking around the town is the best way to get to know it, we walked to get everywhere and covered the whole town in 10 days (there were multiples visits to the markets, hehe!!)
There are two main shopping centres in Portsmouth, one is the Gunwharf Quays and the other is the City Centre. Gunwharf Quays has stores of over 90 well-known brands from Swarwoski, Gap, Ralph Lauren to Karl Lagerfield to many others. The shops close around 5:30 PM. The place is known for cafes, eateries and clubs as well. Some of the well-known cafes are Cafe Rouge, Cafe Nero, Zizzi etc., Rainbow Gnocchi at Zizzi Cafe was something different I tried (PS-they have amazing Hot Chocolate and Pasta!). The Liquorist is a well-known club, packed on Saturdays! The crowd is great, the interiors are beautiful and music is amazing. Spinnaker Tower, which is right next to Gunwharf is an important landmark. You can stand at the harbour and see it, you can even go to the top of the tower.
From right to left- Spinnaker Tower, The Liquorist at Gunwharf Quays, My Meal at Zizzi Cafe at Gunwharf Quays
The City Centre has two sides- Commercial Street and the Cascades Shopping Centre. We usually shopped at Commercial Street. The shops close by 6:00 PM but UK's Favourite Primark is open till 8:00 PM. On this side of the town, we tried 7 Bones Burgers Co., a casual burger joint, with whacky interiors and a really good vegetarian menu!
From right to left- Me at City Centre Market, My Meal at 7 Bones Burgers Co., Beautiful Lanes of Portsmouth
Most of our time was spent at UPDA and lunch and dinner was served at the halls (Our hostel/dorm) we were residing in. There as well, we tried some new English dishes that we never had before! Just down our halls was a beautiful beach, from here you could really appreciate the sunset.
While walking around the town we visited a few more cafes and tried different things, Viet Quan is a Vietnamese cafe where we had Vietnamese Paper Rolls and some Vietnamese herbal tea, Dolphin Club is one of the oldest establishments in Portsmouth where I enjoyed a hot cup of Macchiato and Chilli poppers snack. We had lattes at Chambers Cafe and at Bennetts, enjoyed some English Tea at the Parade Tea Room.
My Breakfast at the Reese Hall, Macchiato at Dolphin Club, Vietnamese paper rolls at Viet Quan.
Portsmouth is historically very relevant for it was the Naval Base for British armies during many battles. Being a Port city, it was known for its harbour, which now a tourist attraction site, the "Portsmouth Historic Dockyard", many historic buildings and ships can be explored by the public. There are various ticket options for different attractions. The most known is HMS Victory and HMS Warrior, which are some of the oldest battleships! One can take a whole tour of these old beauties and experience how they were run!
You can even get married on these ships! The Museum of the Dockyard also displays a various number of artefacts from the Navy.
Another attraction in Portsmouth is for you my book lovers! The Sherlock Holmes Museum! Yaaasss! You read it right! Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote A Study in Scarlet and You Don't Know Sherlock, Yet while he was at Portsmouth. The whole of the ground floor of the Portsmouth Museum is called the Sherlock Holmes Museum and is dedicated to the series.
The Portsmouth museum shows how life changed in this town over centuries all with life-like exhibits. Another fact for literary lovers- Sir Charles Dickens was born in this town! His house is also a tourist attraction.
A click as I stood on the HMS warrior, Sherlock Holmes Museum, the beautiful walk to the beach.
I made some of the most beautiful memories during my stay in this town, it was my first trip without my parents, I travelled with two of my batchmates and they turned to be the most amazing travel partners of all times. The memories we made on this trip will be remembered forever.
PS- I travelled to a few more well-known towns and cities of the UK, about which you can read on my next post!
Till then toooodles grasshoppers!