out and about

My Favourite Things to do in Portsmouth

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Post by Brad

My favourite things to do in Portsmouth

When I am not crafting websites and attending network events for We Are Jungle, or sat on the sofa watching Curb Your Enthusiasm for the 100th time, I am more than likely going to be spending time with the family out and about in Portsmouth.

If you’re a Portsmouth local, most of these places will probably be no surprise to you, but I thought I’d use this blog to pay homage to some of my favourite places in our glorious city.

Portsmouth Museums

Before having children, an uncultured swine like myself would have done this blog about local pubs as it’s the only place I knew in Portsmouth. But as soon as you have children, you get thrown into the world of garden centres, woodland walks, and museums. Living in a city with such historical heritage means the access to museums is 10 to none, and some of these are free—yes, they cost no money to go inside and see all of the marvelous events inside. Our favourites are the Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery and the Cumberland House Natural History Museum.

Cumberland House Natural History Museum

Cumberland House has been a firm favourite for my little boy since he was able to walk. It’s home to The Butterfly House, a purpose-built greenhouse that is home to a whole host of brightly coloured neo-tropical species from Central and South America. It is also home to Emily the dinosaur, a massive Iguanodon that they have in the dinosaur exhibit. Additionally, it has exhibitions featuring local animals, adding to its charm.

Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery

We have only discovered this museum in the last year or so, but it is home to some fantastic exhibits and events that are great for all of the family. It’s also home to The Battle of Southsea by E. Dugan, a fantastic artwork depicting the Battle of Southsea where locals burnt barriers on the common, and police and army were dispersed to get rid of them. Additionally, it showcases the history of Portsmouth FC, the Navy, and Charles Dickens, providing a comprehensive insight into the city’s rich heritage. It’s a treasure trove of knowledge and history. Being in awe of this painting led me on to find a brilliant artist residing locally called Pete Codling. Pete produced his own contemporary version called Ye Plagues of Southsea 2020.

Staggeringly Good Brewery

Since I have hit my mid-30s, I have tried to stay away from too many beers, but this doesn’t stop me from trying to get to Staggeringly Good Brewery’s tap house The Rex Arms. Whether it be a Sunday out for a roast dinner supplied by smoked BBQ supremos Bear Bones BBQ, where you can take the whole family and our favourite thing to do is play the free arcade machines. When you’ve got rid of the kids for the evening, you can get down to the open mic nights on Thursdays. If you fancy something a bit different, they have hip-hop bingo or going to club night Bloody Grungers.

Special shoutout to the Makemake Brewery, who also have guest food trucks on the weekend and have live DJs playing on some weekends.

Art and records meet

If you travel down Albert Road heading to Eastney, you will stumble across this gem on 37 Highland Road. Business owners Alex and Lewis have combined forces to open a space selling records and art – what’s not to love?

Nothing Ventured Vinyl

Nothing Ventured‘s ethos is simple: to provide Southsea with a hub for like-minded people to meet, buy records, chat, and share ideas on how to better the local music scene. Whenever you go in there, expect to see an array of people rummaging through an eclectic mix of underground music.

Joy Fantastic

Joy Fantastic’s inception is rooted in a shared passion for art and a deep appreciation for the artists who give life to their visions. Their journey began with a simple belief: that art possesses the remarkable ability to inspire, provoke thought, and bring joy into people’s lives. Driven by this belief, they embarked on a mission to unite artists with art lovers, offering a platform where creativity knows no boundaries.

Joy Fantastic showcases some of the best local artists and has exhibitions that captivate visitors with their diversity and depth. It’s not just a gallery; it’s a vibrant space where art comes to life, sparking conversations and igniting imaginations.

Spark Community Space

Discovering the Spark Community Space has been a game-changer for me. It’s more than just a physical location—it’s a beacon of inclusivity and support. At Spark, there are no barriers; it’s a pay-what-you-want space, ensuring that everyone feels welcome and valued.

The dedicated team of workers and volunteers at Spark are the heart and soul of the space. Their tireless efforts are making a tangible difference in the lives of those seeking a safe haven to express themselves freely.

One of the highlights of visiting Spark is indulging in their delightful offerings—whether it’s enjoying a slice of cake, sipping on freshly brewed coffee, or savouring a comforting cheese toastie. Trust me, it’s more than just food; it’s a testament to the positive energy and community spirit thriving within these walls.

But Spark is more than just a space; it’s a sanctuary—a place to belong, to find solace, and to forge meaningful connections. It’s where friendships blossom, wounds heal, and individuals rediscover their intrinsic worth. Here, the journey towards self-empowerment begins, igniting a spark of hope and vitality in each person who walks through the door.

Fish Portsmouth

I love this place; I like to pretend that I am on an episode of Come Dine With Me when I am in there selecting the seafood that I’ll be cooking that night. They have had a recent revamp in there and it looks fantastic, offering a lot more variety of options to accompany your lobster thermidor or oysters, with a range of stocks, sauces, and vegetables. It’s like stepping into a culinary playground where creativity knows no bounds.

All the fish landed by our fleet is sorted, electronically graded, and weighed in our modern refrigerated fish market building, before it is offered for sale to our clients. At present, 90% of the vessels landing to BNFS are small inshore “day-boats”, which land fish to the market within hours of capture. This ensures that our fish and shellfish are of the highest quality and freshness.

Brad’s Final Thought

These are just a glimpse of the places in Portsmouth that hold a special place in my heart. While I could easily list more, these are some of the gems that truly stand out for offering unique experiences beyond the ordinary. I must give a special nod to Fratton Park, Baffins Pond, Game Over, Hotwalls, Aspex Gallery  and the enchanting Model Village, each adding their own charm to our vibrant city. And let’s not forget the welcoming pubs and places to eat with their friendly faces, and the rich tapestry of cultures that weave together to make Portsmouth the dynamic seaside city it is. There’s always more to explore and appreciate, making Portsmouth a truly special place to call home.

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