Portsmouth is the country's only island city (much of the city lies on Portsea Island where the Solent joins the English Channel), Portsmouth was a significant naval port for
centuries. Today it is still an important naval base as well as home to a thriving
ferryport serving Gosport, the Isle of Wight, the Channel Islands, France and Spain.
In recent years the city has reinvented itself as a shopping and tourism destination
with the development of Gunwharf Quays, a waterside retail and restaurant complex
perhaps best known for its Spinnaker Tower which has become an iconic image of
Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard, which features such famous ships as HMS Warrior,
Mary Rose and HMS Victory, has had a recent facelift. Other tourist attractions
include the birthplace of Charles Dickens, the Blue Reef Aquarium and the Royal
In addition, many of the city's former defences have been adapted
into museums and venues.The city has two theatres, while music venues include The Guildhall and The Wedgewood Rooms.
Spice Island, part of old Portsmouth and the oldest part of the city, was once infamous
for its lawlessness, but today is charmingly picturesque. Southsea seafront is worth a
visit, so too is Southsea Common which runs parallel to the shore from Clarence Pier
to Southsea Castle. But do not miss wandering among Southsea's delightful lanes of
eateries and boutiques.