How do you rate Portsmouth?
Living in Portsmouth
There’s always been a busy atmosphere to Portsmouth. It’s a large south-coast town with a strong navy flavour from it’s long history of sea warfare. However, boats aren’t all you’re going to see if you attend the University of Portsmouth... although we’ll be honest, you will see a lot of them.
When you’re exploring Portsmouth, the seafront is a good place to start. It’s about a 10min walk from the university and is used by the locals as well as tourists and students, so you can start getting a flavour for the place. Portsmouths position on the Solent (the channel of water that runs between the mainland and the Isle of Wight) makes it a good place to launch ships from, so there's almost always something happening down here. There’s a good beach, a funfair on Clarence Pier, some food outlets and shops, and as you head east to South Side Pier you’ll also find a beach and amusements including a boating lake, skate park and mini-golf. Half way between the two are Southsea Castle and Southsea Park.
For shopping you’ve got a lot of options. The Southsea area, particularly Albert Road, is know for it’s quirky shops housing independant traders, boutiques, craft shops, and retro gear. Commercial Road is more of your standard ‘high street’ shopping area. Finally, for those times when some serious retail therapy is needed, you have the Gunwharf Quays. This is a massive complex with over ninety designer outlets and big name brands, all in one area.
Portsmouth’s entertainment scene is large and varied so when night rolls around you’ve got some great venues to choose from. The Kings Theatre in Southsea often hosts touring West End shows, while the New Theatre Royal in the city centre houses performances from across the arts; from music and guest speakers to comedy and dance. For music and comedy acts you’ve got larger venues like the Guildhall down to more intimate places like the Wedgewood Rooms, as well as a host of pubs and clubs.
Getting active in Portsmouth is easy thanks to its great location. As well as all the obvious watersports and outdoor activities you’d expect in a town this size, the nearby Isle of Wight is an internationally acclaimed location for sailing. The most famous is Cowes Week, which sees over a thousand boats take part and the area around the Solent buzzing with visitors.
I really like boats
- HMS Victory: The flagship of half-blind, one-armed Lord Nelson (which makes him sound like a mad pirate. We promise he wasn’t) is moored there and it’s actually possible to go onboard and have a tour, just to remind you how much nicer your student halls are to live in!
- Mary Rose: a sunken Tudor warship that was brought up from the sea. She’s under constant restoration but often on display in a huge misty tank, used to keep the hull damp.
- HMS Warrior: This Victorian battleship was an absolute beast in her day - Britain’s first ever iron-hulled armoured warship. All three ships can be visited at the Historic Dockyard, however they do go off for maintenance sometimes so check their websites to make sure you don’t miss your favourite.
I really DON’T like boats
- Spinnaker Tower: At 170m high, this eye-catching landmarks is taller than the London Eye, and from the open-air viewing platform at the top, the views are epic.
- Gunwharf Quays: As well as all the shops. this massive retail complex houses a gallery, restaurants, cinema, nightclub, and a gym. That should keep you busy for a few hours!
- Go outside: For a good view of from the top and a bit of exercise you could always go up Portsdown hill. And then come down again and spoilt it all with some fish and chips!
Read Portsmouth Reviews
Portsmouth is an affordable city and students go clubbing on Purple Wednesday's - a time when student's get into venues for less. Uber Eats let's you order deliveries 24/7 and is very convenient. Otherwise, there'll likely be a Tesco Express within walking distance of your accommodation. There's even a uni bus that goes around southsea and is useful if you live further away from campus in private accommodation. It's free for all students; you'll need to show the bus driver your student ID first though.
Portsmouth is quite small and so the city centre is about 20 minutes away from the beach. There are loads of parks and A LOT of places to eat, as well as an insane amount of pubs and clubs to go to. Houses are general university prices, however they are cheaper than other cities such as Oxford and Bristol. It’s also only a 45 minute train journey away from London and a 40 minute train journey from Southampton so is easy access to other areas. Also the train from Southsea to Harbour or Fratton is a lifesaver as it allows easy access to other areas of the city.
Such a compact city, didnt even need to use local buses as it was possible to walk everywhere! Great prices for the south too and some amazing restaurants and cafes about. I still visit often even though i have graduated
Even though the cost if living isn't hugely cheap, in Portsmouth most of the town caters for students so whether it's a night out or a bite to eat there's always somewhere affordable. The nightlife is amazing and you feel like you are there in a bubble with students.
The town is great as it has a lot of nice independent delis and cafes around southsea and Gunwharf Quays has most of what you’d want out of a shopping centre however some parts of Portsmouth are dodgy (Fratton and upwards) so be careful. The buses are a little over priced but the university supplies the students with a free bus that goes around southeast and fratton
Portsmouth is a lovely little city. The beach is always pleasant wvwn though its not sandy. The island is rich with history and great for photography. The social scene is amazing: loads of places to hang out, drink, shop and public transport is decent! + the uni bus takes you around most of the island for free.
Portsmouth is the best city I’ve ever lived in. Free uni bus, can walk everywhere otherwise, cheapest Uber’s, cheapest and most fun nights out in the south, cheap house rent, banging places to eat and drink - just don’t bother the crackheads
Lovely city, mix of shops and beaches. Very few concert venues and not many concerts if you're into alternative music (Enter Shikari does come to Portsmouth sometimes though). Buses are expensive but it's easy to walk because the land is mostly flat
Safe place, if you know where not to go at night. Cheap ubers and local taxies. Very easy to navigate. Can walk absolutely anywhere. Great night life! Freshers events are amazing. There’s a free uni bus. So many beautiful places to go. The place has rich history. If you stay a bit after submissions you can enjoy the beach like you’re on holiday!
Cost of living is quite expensive especially halls like Catherine house who are so over priced. However moving into a house after first year proved to be much more cost effective. Plenty of places to eat out. The night life is really good, a couple different clubs to choose from. Loads of different shops from high street to designer. Public transport services are great especially they uni bus.
Complete range You have an outlet, with super fancy shops, and a town center with the cheaper basic shops. A vue cinema (the cheapest of cinemas) Pleanty of clubs and bars Lots of connecting busses Some places are a little bit pricy, but nothing extortionate. But also, cheap places too. Clubs have good discounted nights and are very busy Pleant of things to do that arent drinking too Beach near by, cinema, swimmimg pools, rock garden, bowling, many resturants, game bars, pub quizzes, shopping and so much. Worth a look on groupon, lots of cheap day out things here that a lot of people dont realise is here. Keep and eye out for events, like christmas market and vintage kilo sales. A lot of students miss these and its a shame.
Portsmouth is quite an underrated city and I really enjoyed living there. You’ve got all the big supermarkets to choose from and most accommodation for students is right on campus. I do not really care about nights out, but the times that I did go everywhere was extremely crowded, which will definitely want to make you want to stay at home if like me you do not like to be smushed in a crowd of sweaty strangers...
There are multiple train stations and loads of buses to get you around. The main night clubs are all close together meaning the night life is great as you can hop around & go to wherever is best! Portsmouth has some great shopping experiences with Gunwharf Quays located a 15-20 min walk from university accommodation and the town centre 5 minutes in the other direction.
Not much public transport but no need as you have two large shopping complexes every single shop you will ever want or need, and every restaurant and fast food you’ll need, and supermarkets and everything you could possibly want
Uni has a free bus from Mo-Fr which is great otherwise everything is a walking distance. The coastal part of city, Southsea is beautiful full of shops, pubs, restaurants. I love that Portsmouth is full of independent shops.
I wouldn't eat out too often unless you have some money coming in as you should try and cook to gain some experience but there are lots of nice places to eat out if you have the money! - I hate clubbing and prefer pubs hence why nights out is only one star for me personally but public transport and everything else is great.
Plenty of places to go and plenty of places to eat, plus Gunwarf at your disposal! Many food shops and supermarkets to shop at spread over many areas making them very accessible. I mostly used the uni bus, but there are plenty of public buses running on a good time scale and there are 3 train stations (fratton, Portsmouth and Southsea, Portsmouth harbour). Shopping is great- Gunwarf, commercial street and Southsea mall