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One of the best issues to do in Portsmouth with youngsters

In the event you’ve solely handed by Portsmouth on the best way to catch a ferry, you’re lacking out – from historical past to seashores and household points of interest, you’ll discover loads of issues to do in Portsmouth with youngsters.

The harbour area and Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth on a sunny day - my pick of the best things to do in Portsmouth with kids
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I’ve been visiting since I used to be a baby myself, wowed by the possibility to see a real Tudor shipwreck, in addition to visits to stroll the decks of HMS Victory, discover Southsea and the south coast forts – to not point out quite a lot of stops on the best way to the Isle of Wight.

There’s been a lot improvement through the years (though it nonetheless shocked me to understand the Spinnaker Tower is almost 20 years previous!) with ever extra locations to go in Portsmouth with youngsters, in addition to conventional favourites together with two piers. Right here’s my choose of the very best.

Mary Rose Museum

I vividly keep in mind visiting this Tudor ship once I was a baby, not lengthy after it was raised from the seabed in 1982 – centuries after Henry VIII’s flagship sank in the course of the Battle of the Solent off Portsmouth, the place she was constructed.

Since then, the museum has had a multi-million pound revamp to indicate off among the 19,000 artefacts which have been excavated together with the wreck – together with nit combs full with nits and a skeleton of a small canine – and among the info archaeologists have discovered.

With interactive shows to maintain youngsters engaged, it’s an interesting household time out, in addition to being nice in the event you’re visiting Portsmouth within the rain with youngsters.

Purchase tickets to the Mary Rose Museum with free cancellation, or it’s additionally included in Final Explorer tickets together with entry to different points of interest together with Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Exterior view of the HMS Victory - a visit to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is one of the best things to do in Portsmouth with kids

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

The Hampshire coast is outlined by its naval historical past, from fortresses defending towards invasion to ships within the harbour – so a time out on the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is the proper introduction.

The HMS Victory, Nelson’s flagship on the Battle of Trafalgar, is probably the very best recognized ship right here but it surely’s solely one of many historic vessels you’ll be able to uncover, alongside HMS Warrior, the world’s first iron-hulled warship, plus others from the First and Second World Wars, not least a submarine.

There’s additionally a museum and different household actions on the location, together with the Horrible Histories Pirates exhibition – two websites, in reality, with some throughout the water in Gosport. A waterbus can take you from the displays in Portsmouth harbour, or strive a harbour tour.

You too can purchase Final Explorer tickets for entry to a number of points of interest together with the Dockyard and Mary Rose, or a ticket for HMS Victory solely, each with free cancellation.

Spinnaker Tower

At 170m excessive, the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth is taller than Blackpool Tower or the London Eye – and on a transparent day, you’ll be able to see for 23 miles.

Head as much as gaze out from one among three viewing decks, with info on simply what you’re , and an awesome panorama together with the ships crusing out and in of port.

The best, the Sky Backyard, has a mesh ceiling so you’ll be able to really feel the breeze. Or look right down to the harbour by the glass ground of the Sky Stroll – solely 6cm deep, it could actually maintain the equal of two black rhinos. For essentially the most excessive adrenaline thrills, teenagers aged 14 and over can abseil down the facet (accompanied by an grownup!).

If that doesn’t attraction, there’s additionally additionally a digital actuality expertise and The Sail of the Solent animated movie. If the climate takes a flip for the more severe and the tower is misplaced within the mist? In the event you can’t see all three Solent forts on the day of your go to, you will get a free ticket to return one other day (inside three months, communicate to the responsibility supervisor on the day).

You’ve additionally received all of the outlets and eating places of Gunwharf Quays on the doorstep, plus different household enjoyable together with bowling and a cinema

View of Portsmouth and the Spinnaker Tower from the ferry to the Isle of Wight - one of the great things to do in Portsmouth for families

Portchester Citadel

First constructed within the late third century, Portchester Citadel is the best-preserved of the Roman forts on the Saxon Shore, as this stretch of the South East has grow to be recognized.

There’s an exhibition within the Hold concerning the citadel’s historical past, from its earliest Roman days to Saxon settlement, Norman citadel, medieval royal palace and past – in addition to a free audio tour to hearken to as you discover.

Henry V launched his invasion of France from right here, however then for a whole lot of years its position was a prisoner of struggle camp, together with for a gaggle introduced from the Caribbean within the 18th century and 1000’s held throughout the partitions in the course of the Napoleonic wars.

In the event you can’t get sufficient of historic artillery, head to Fort Nelson as nicely, which homes the Royal Armouries’ nationwide assortment of historical past cannon and artillery – free to go to however prebooking tickets is really useful

Southsea Citadel

Step again in time at Southsea Citadel, a historic fortification constructed by King Henry VIII as a part of a sequence of coastal defences towards French invasion within the sixteenth century – in reality it’s right here that he watched the Mary Rose sink beneath the waves.

You may stroll alongside the historic ramparts, take some enjoyable images with the cannons, and luxuriate in wonderful views over the Solent.

The citadel sits on the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour, so you will get an awesome view of ships passing by, together with among the spectacular Royal Navy fleet – Portsmouth Naval Base is dwelling to virtually two-thirds of the Navy’s floor ships, together with plane carriers and destroyers.

Or head underground and be part of one of many guided excursions of the tunnels (small teams solely, so do e-book), in addition to seeing gadgets recovered from the wreck of the Mary Rose and studying about native historical past.

The citadel is open between April and October every year and is totally free to go to, making it the most effective issues to do with youngsters in Portsmouth if you’re on a price range.

Southsea castle at sunset - one of the historic places to visit in Portsmouth with kids

Portsmouth Museum & Artwork Gallery

For some of the enjoyable and academic issues to do in Portsmouth with youngsters, head to the Portsmouth Museum and Artwork Gallery.

From the Roman invasion to the current day, Portsmouth Museum introduces guests to the town’s wealthy historical past, with loads of interactive displays and enjoyable household trails that can hold guests of all ages engaged.

The museum additionally homes the world’s largest Sherlock Holmes exhibition, as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote his first two books whereas dwelling within the metropolis. Little detectives may also take pleasure in investigating the particular Sherlock path across the museum’s grounds. 

And for younger soccer followers, the museum’s Soccer within the Metropolis exhibition explores the historical past of Portsmouth FC and its gamers.

Cumberland Home Pure Historical past Museum

Uncover the wonders of the pure world at Cumberland Home Pure Historical past Museum. The museum is free to go to and has a variety of displays which are excellent for youngsters, together with shows on dinosaurs, sea life, and native wildlife.

One of many highlights of the museum is the various interactive displays. Little ones can contact and discover numerous specimens, together with fossils, bugs, and animal skeletons.

From Could to September, you can too stroll by the museum’s butterfly home too, recognizing the gorgeous newly hatched butterflies.

The workers on the museum are pleasant, educated, and all the time glad to reply any questions that youngsters might have. There are additionally common occasions for households, reminiscent of workshops, craft classes, and academic talks.

Blue Reef Aquarium Southsea

We’ve visited just a few of the Blue Reef Aquariums across the nation – together with Hastings simply alongside the coast and Newquay in Cornwall – they usually’re a beautiful choice in the event you’re visiting Portsmouth within the rain with youngsters (or year-round, in the event you occur to have a small Octonauts fan).

With rays, sharks, jellyfish and turtles, in addition to the otters, there’s a lot to find past the fish as nicely at Blue Reef Aquarium Portsmouth, simply outdoors the town in Southsea.

Time your go to for one of many talks or feeding occasions, discover Nemo among the many clownfish or peer on the piranhas, in addition to discovering out extra concerning the marine life in rockpools… supreme in the event you’re additionally planning to hit the seaside later.

View of Portsmouth beach and seafront, with the Spinnaker Tower just visible in the distance - there are plenty of family attractions in Portsmouth right on the water's edge

Clarence Pier Amusement Park

What’s a British seaside city and not using a pier!? And Portsmouth is fortunate sufficient to have two; Clarence Pier and South Parade Pier, each positioned on the Southsea seafront.

Clarence Pier is dwelling to the most important amusement park on the south coast, making it the most effective household days out in Portsmouth.

There are many rides and points of interest for youngsters of all ages, from bumper automobiles, mini-golf and a merry-go-round to bigger rides for older youngsters just like the thrilling Twister and stomach-churning Tornado. Plus, don’t neglect your 2p’s for the traditional indoor arcade machines.

The amusement park additionally has quite a lot of household pleasant meals on the pier, together with conventional fish and chips, sweet floss, ice cream, and plenty extra – and an opportunity to mess together with your senses within the Upside Down Home.

South Parade Pier

South Parade Pier is one other Victorian pier on the Southsea coast – with a turbulent historical past! The pier has burnt down 3 times throughout its lifetime… however fortunately every time, it’s been rebuilt and restored to its former glory.

Regardless of its most up-to-date renovation being solely in 2017, South Parade Pier feels extra like a conventional British seaside pier than Clarence Pier. 

It has an amusement arcade and a household fairground with just a few small rides which are greatest fitted to youthful youngsters. There are additionally a number of outlets, eating places, bars, and a reside music venue alongside the pier.

And don’t miss the possibility to take a stroll alongside the pier’s promenade, recognizing the various fishermen alongside the best way and having fun with the views out over the Isle of Wight and down the Portsmouth shoreline.

Canoe Lake

Within the coronary heart of Southsea, Canoe Lake and its surrounding parkland make the proper spot for a household picnic or a soothing stroll on a sunny day within the metropolis.

Whether or not you fancy heading out on the water or sticking to dry land, there are a number of actions to strive as you discover the park and lake – from feeding the geese with little ones, to taking part in within the youngsters’s playground with its sand pit and zipwires, and having fun with a experience on the swan pedal boats.

Go to in spring and summer season and you may usually see cygnets right here because it’s a favorite place for swans and their younger.

There may be additionally a splash pool, which is good for cooling off on a scorching day, in addition to an exquisite rose backyard and the Southsea Mannequin Village. All in all, an awesome place to spend a leisurely afternoon with the household in Portsmouth.

View of the pebbly beach at Hayling Island on a sunny day - one of the best beaches near Portsmouth with kids

Hit the seaside

In the event you’re in search of seashores in Hampshire with youngsters, they might not be as well-known as among the different stretches of England’s south coast, however there are nonetheless loads of choices for just a few sandcastles and paddling.

The mainland coast has lengthy stretches of shingle – pretty Southsea seaside has sand at low tide and joins as much as Eastney seaside as you get nearer to Portsmouth. 

Or Hayling Island has sheltered stretches for swimming in addition to nice windsurfing for older youngsters at West Hayling. You’re solely round half-hour from among the greatest sandy seashores in Sussex for youths, together with West Wittering.

For extra nice sandy seashores close to Portsmouth, hop on the Wightlink ferry to Fishbourne for a string of pretty seashores on the Isle of Wight.

The D-Day Story Museum

In case your youngsters are keen on army historical past, they’ll love Portsmouth’s The D-Day Story Museum.

The fascinating museum is a good place to be taught concerning the D-Day landings in 1944 and the position that Portsmouth performed in the course of the Second World Struggle.

There are audio-visual displays, touch-screen video games, and wonderful real-life artefacts, from tanks to army uniforms, which assist to convey historical past to life for youthful guests.

And to actually hold little ones entertained, the family-friendly “Resist! Path” may have your complete household working collectively as a crew to search out clues and clear up puzzles across the museum to help the French Resistance.

Don’t neglect to examine the museum’s occasion schedule to see if any household occasions are developing, reminiscent of craft workshops and demonstrations.

Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum

Portsmouth’s Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum is the proper place to introduce kids to the works of some of the well-known authors in historical past.

The museum is ready inside the home the place Charles Dickens was born and raised, and it has been restored to look simply because it might need accomplished when he lived there within the mid-1800s. Children will love exploring the rooms and seeing the Regency-style furnishings, toys, and different objects from the Victorian period. 

The museum additionally has a small assortment of memorabilia, together with Dickens’ snuff field, inkwell, paper knife, and character illustrations.

Walking path along the waterfront in Portsmouth during sunset - one of the best ways to explore in Portsmouth with kids

Self-Guided Dickens Path

If the Birthplace Museum wasn’t sufficient Dickens for sooner or later, you can too take the household on a self-guided Dickens strolling tour round Portsmouth. 

The path – which you’ll be able to obtain right here at no cost – takes you round 14 completely different websites linked to the well-known British creator and his life within the coastal metropolis. 

You’ll move by better-known landmarks such because the museum and the statue of Dickens on Guildhall Sq., in addition to some extra hidden spots, reminiscent of a number of buildings that served as inspirations for his work.

Household actions in Portsmouth

In addition to the household points of interest, there are many locations to get lively with youngsters in Portsmouth. If a trampoline park tops your loved ones’s listing, Flip Out Portsmouth has trampolines and airbags in addition to mushy play, plus classes appropriate for little ones.

In the event you’re in search of extra play areas and mushy play in Plymouth, you’re spoiled for selection although. PlayZone is the most important indoor play space and leisure centre on the south coast – there are gentler choices for toddlers, in addition to teenagers right here, and it’s solely round a brief drive from the town centre.

Or Exploria sits proper between the D-Day Story and South Parade Pier, if you wish to match some baby pleasant enjoyable in between sightseeing. There’s a child and toddler zone, in addition to a bounce exercise zone, and one other play zone with ball pits and climbing.

It’s price figuring out that the Pirates and Princesses mushy play on Clarence Pier is now closed, however one other attraction could also be changing it.

If the solar is shining, there are additionally a string of splash pads in Portsmouth that are excellent for cooling off in the course of the summer season.

Days out close to Portsmouth for youths

It’s not laborious to fill a weekend in Portsmouth with youngsters (or longer) however the metropolis additionally makes a superb base for exploring in Hampshire, together with these enjoyable days out close to Portsmouth for households.

The New Forest

One of many loveliest spots in England, the New Forest is full of fairly villages, picturesque walks and most excitingly for youthful youngsters, ponies which roam freely – to not point out just a few donkeys.

In the event you’re exploring the New Forest, the probabilities are you’ll see some alongside the best way however a superb place to identify them is close to Brockenhurst, round Beachern Wooden. And it’s all the time a superb motivator to go out on a stroll, a cycle experience on one of many off-road trails and even canoeing.

Take a look at our day biking from close by Beaulieu to Bucklers Onerous and canoeing within the New Forest.

There are additionally some pretty animal points of interest, from the New Forest Wildlife Park which specialises in British wildlife to the toddler-friendly Longdown Exercise Farm.

View of Southampton from the water including buildings along the pier and ferry - a great option for a day out from Portsmouth with kids


The UK’s greatest cruise port isn’t simply someplace to hop on a ship and sail off into the sundown, with an entire string of issues to do in Southampton with youngsters.

And Portsmouth’s neighbouring metropolis is simply half an hour away, so it’s attainable to squeeze each into a brief break. There’s extra unbelievable historical past to find, from the Mayflower to the Titanic, plus wartime plane and medieval partitions.

To not point out loads of probability to get outside and plenty of points of interest for households, together with snowsports and an indoor journey park.

Discover extra issues to do in Southampton with youngsters right here

The Isle of Wight

In addition to a string of ferries crossing over the Solent to the Isle of Wight, you can too hop onto a hovercraft to whisk you from Southsea to Ryde in simply 10 minutes.

With its personal little microclimate which suggests the solar appears to shine extra right here than on the mainland, you can too hunt for dinosaurs and go to a string of animal points of interest and theme parks, in addition to discovering to pure landmarks and castles.

Plus seashores galore after all, together with some seashores near Ryde.

For extra concepts of the very best issues to do on the Isle of Wight with youngsters, try my prime picks

My daughter with bucket and spade on the beach at Appley near Ryde, looking back towards Portsmouth - the Isle of Wight is a great day out from Portsmouth with kids

Paultons Park & Peppa Pig World

In the event you’re a mum or dad, likelihood is you’ll already know of Hampshire’s prime theme park – as Paulton’s Park is the house of Peppa Pig World. However in addition to the mild rides and probability for toddlers and preschoolers to fulfill Peppa and George, there’s a lot extra heart-racing enjoyable.

There are over 70 rides, acres of grounds and animals to identify, in addition to a number of themed areas: Misplaced Kingdom is all about dinosaurs, whereas Critter Creek is nice for youthful ones, so there’s one thing for older and taller youngsters who need some adrenaline thrills in addition to much less scary choices.

Take a look at my ideas for visiting Peppa Pig World and Paultons Park.

Butser Historic Farm

It’s tough to know fairly find out how to categorise Butser Historic Farm other than being a unbelievable time out in Hampshire with youngsters – half outside museum, half historic website, half animal attraction, it’s a novel mix of all three.

Set within the South Downs Nationwide Park close to Petersfield, this experimental archaeology website options reconstructions of historic buildings from the Stone Age and Iron Age by Roman Britain and into the Anglo Saxon period. There are additionally prehistoric crops, in addition to uncommon animal breeds reminiscent of goats and sheep which the unique inhabitants on these properties would have recognised.

Children may also strive the household trails and quizzes, in addition to some actions with a distinction, together with mosaic making and wattling fences, plus some particular occasions throughout holidays.

Fishbourne Roman Palace, Fishbourne, West Sussex

Fishbourne Roman Palace is likely one of the oldest and most full Roman palaces in all of Britain, full with some wonderful mosaics and gardens.

It isn’t recognized who the luxurious palace belonged to however that doesn’t take away from the enjoyable in any respect.

For the children, there are some actions to finish as you go to too, together with Mosaic Bingo and Palace Puzzles.

If one Roman dwelling isn’t sufficient, Bignor Roman villa is round half an hour away, with extra mosaics to see, whereas Brading Roman Villa on the Isle of Wight is a good place to discover in case your youngsters love historical past too

Red panda sitting in a tree at Marwell Zoo - one of the fun days out near Portsmouth with kids

Marwell Zoo

The 140-acre Marwell Zoo simply outdoors Winchester has over 1,200 animals to find, in addition to a stamp path for youths to comply with alongside the best way.

There are sometimes further household points of interest and exhibitions in the event you want an added cause to go to (or return) – reminiscent of Brickosaurs at Marwell Zoo, a string Lego dinosaurs amongst the real-life inhabitants.

The zoo can also be dwelling to 4 journey playgrounds, little street and rail trains, in addition to the animals themselves – from amur tigers to zebras, to not point out cheetah, crimson pandas, penguins and extra.

For extra concepts of issues to do in Hampshire with youngsters, try my choose of the very best

Disclosure: This publish incorporates affiliate hyperlinks – any purchases you make are unaffected however I’ll obtain a small fee

Spinnaker Tower/Isle of Wight seaside/Marwell Zoo copyright MummyTravels, all different photos courtesy of Depositphotos


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