A rich heritage
Portsmouth is the home of Britain’s naval heritage. It has been a naval base since the 12th century and the centre of one of the most powerful sea-borne fighting forces in history. The city is the home port of the Royal Navy and consequently was heavily bombed during World War II.
The Historic Dockyard is the final resting place of some of our most celebrated warships. Naval officers guide you round Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory to recall the appalling conditions on board and see the spot where Nelson died in battle. Close by is the world’s first iron-clad battleship, HMS Warrior, launched in 1860. Rescued in 1982 after sinking in 1545, Henry VIII’s warship Mary Rose is constantly sprayed to prevent its timbres from disintegrating.
Portsmouth’s first harbour, the Camber, is still a working dock. The Round Tower and Square Tower have guarded the harbour’s entrances for 500 years and make good vantage points.
Gunwharf Quays is a mixture of designer shopping, eating and drinking places and entertainments, and the venue of international maritime events. The original town of Old Portsmouth, with its cobbled streets, was badly bombed in 1940–1 but there remain fine Tudor and Georgian houses.