After dipping my toes into the realm of UK travel last year and discovering two of my favourite cities (Edinburgh and York, you are beauties), this year I have vowed that I will see more of our glorious little nation.
My first port of call in 2017 was the “Island City” of Portsmouth – did you know Portsmouth is technically an island? I didn’t – you learn something new every day!
Myself and my buddy Alex jumped in the car early one Saturday morning to visit our uni-going friend Graceybum (who would probably prefer to be referred to by the name Grace but that’s boring) and we had the BEST weekend.
I am now very concious of the fact that Grace has shown my blog to her uni buddies and they are probably sniggering at the fact that someone could write a travel blog post about Portsmouth… shut up guys, I promise I have super exciting posts about Morocco and Canada coming up.
When I returned to work, all I heard was “what is there to do in Portsmouth!? That must have been boring” – oh how wrong they are! When you live somewhere, you don’t tend to truly explore the area like a tourist would, so we decided to make Grace visit all of the touristy areas!
Get ready for the ultimate tourist-fest!
First job of the day was to jump in the car and drive our ass’ to Portsmouth – it takes us around 2 hours to get to Portsmouth from our near-coastal towns in Essex, so it’s the perfect journey for a weekend! Alternatively, Portsmouth has great train connections to London and the surrounding areas.
Grab an Amazing Late Breakfast / Brunch
Before arriving in Portsmouth, Grace had expressed that she wanted to visit The Tenth Hole for breakfast/cake/both. We obviously happily obliged and I shouted from the rooftops to anybody at work who would listen about how amazing the cake in this cafe looked, so obviously this was our first stop.
I opted for the the breakfast bruschetta followed by a GIANT slab of chocolate fudge cake and they were both incredible!
(If you’re reading this The Tenth Hole, please have your bakewell in stock next time I visit – the photo on your website looks TOO good to be true)!
Play a Round of Crazy Golf (… or two)
The Tenth Hole is situated on a golf course, which lead to the revelation that Alex had never played golf of any kind before (not even crazy golf), which obviously meant we had to enlighten her on the sport of champions.
So we headed down to Treasure Island Mini Golf and completed both crazy golf courses like the absolute cool kids that we are.
If crazy golf isn’t your thing (I refuse to believe that you visited the sea-side if you didn’t play a spot of crazy golf), there are fairground rides and Clarence Pier in this general area – or you can skip to the next stage of the journey…
Enjoy the Beach!
A beach? In England? In February? Yep, you’re right, we were blessed with some freaky weather during this weekend and a stroll across the beach was just what the doctor ordered.
Splash The Cash at Gunwharf Quay
A few years ago, you could count on me for a shopping trip, I’d have been recently and I’d know exactly what each shop is selling at that present moment right now, I couldn’t care less. So it’s very strange for me to really enjoy a little shopping area!
Gunwharf Quay is an outlet designer shopping centre right in the middle of the city – it’s sleek, it’s modern and it’s surrounded by loads of fab looking restaurants – perfect!
Take a Trip Up the Spinnaker Tower
Now, for perhaps the most touristy item of all – if you’re only in Portsmouth for a short period of time, it would be rude not to visit the Spinnaker Tower really! This led to lots of freaking out on my part while trying to get onto the glass floor section of the viewing area – note to self: you don’t like heights.
Annoyingly, the Spinnaker Tower’s windows are tinted blue and whilst the view is fab, taking photos is an absolute nightmare!
More Amazing Breakfast… Duh
After yesterday’s amazing breakfast, we knew that day two’s breakfast would have to be pretty damn good to top it. We headed to Feed and the food was unreal – I opted for the Eggs Benedict (apparently I had an fixation with eggs this weekend) but all of the full English options looked amazing!
The Historic Dockyard
Another big “must” if you want to be the ultimate Portsmouth tourist is a trip to the Historic Dockyard to see the likes of the likes of the Mary Rose and the HMS Victory. Tickets looked pretty pricey, but as we were entering, a nice security man told us that there’s a free ticket available if you just want to wander around and not actually enter any of the ships – so we opted for that!
Slowly running out of ideas for things to do in Portsmouth, we turned to trusty old TripAdvisor and decided to take a drive up Portsdown Hill for pretty views of the city and the opportunity to play with horses!
Grace says that the view from Portsdown Hill is even prettier at night when the city is all lit-up and pretty!
On the way up to the viewpoint on Portsdown Hill, we drove past Fort Nelson and were sold at the “FREE ADMISSIONS” sign glaring in our faces, so on our way back down the hill, we decided to make a pit-stop.
The fort was MUCH bigger than we had expected and is the perfect activity to fill a few hours without breaking the bank (although you would need to drive there).
Take a Trip to Southampton
On the weekend of our visit, Southampton’s Westquay was having a “Festival of Light“, so we decided to head down in the evening to check it out and attempt to take some nice photos (emphasis on the word “attempt”).
Eat More Food
We tried so hard to find Bills, only to be turned away at the door (apparently everyone else at the festival also wanted to eat in Bills) but we stumbled across Thaikhun and fell in love with their Thai food – I’m very upset that they don’t have any Essex / London branches!
With very full stomachs, we jumped back in the car to start our 2 hour journey back to Essex. After a surprisingly good weekend (tourist attraction-wise, I knew the company would be good!), I’m looking for more UK cities to explore for the weekend – where would you recommend?
Have you been a tourist in your own city recently? I’d love to hear about it!
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.
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