the height of the spice trade, when its wharves and stores were thick
with the aroma of exotic spices from the East, Old Portsmouth (named then
was a place of dread and danger. Throughout Europe it was infamous for
its hundreds of pubs and brothels. To defend the entrance to the Portsmouth
Harbour Henry V in around 1417 ordered the building of the Round Tower.
The Square Tower dates from the time of Henry VII, and was originally
the official residence of the town's military governor. It later became
Portsmouth's main powder magazine and in 1642, during the civil war, Governor
Goring, who was loyal to the king, surrendered Portsmouth to Commonwealth
troops. In order to defend the five thousand barrels of gunpowder stored
inside he hurled the keys into the sea. Both Towers have become the traditional
points for farewells as warships and merchantmen ease through the narrow
harbour entrance. The Round Tower is such a popular vantage point that
a view finder has been installed to help visitors identify landmarks.
In 1545 Henry VIII's flagship the 'Mary Rose' sank before his eyes in
Portsmouth Harbour on its way to fight the French. It was recovered from
the seabed in 1982 and now you can see her for yourself at the Historic
Dockyard as well as HMS Victory the flagship of Lord Nelson, see the actual
spot where Nelson died. The Dockyard is also home to HMS Warrior, The
Royal Naval Museum, and the Dockyard Apprentice Exhibition. Portsmouth
is crammed full of maritime history and also hosts International Maritime
After dark you can set the night alight, choose from lively bars, live
music, night-clubs or world class restaurants. The New Theatre Royal hosts
everything from drama to jazz evenings and boasts one of the most beautiful
auditoriums in the country. Or perhaps see a movie at the 14 screen multiplex
cinema. If you wish to take off to the shops there's a whole variety to
in Portsmouth is plentiful, choose from a 4 star hotel, a friendly guest
house, a cosy pub or self-catering apartment. Visit the Isle of Wight
from Portsmouth Harbour either on the Wightlink catamaran or car ferry.
Go for just the day and be tempted to stay longer. For those wanting to enjoy all the fun of a seaside holiday whilst keeping Portsmouth's historic and cultural attractions near at hand plenty of accommodation is to be found Southsea, Portsmouth's resort area.
Use the map of Portsmouth below to zoom in or out to view directions or click the satellite button for an aerial view. For a larger version of this Portsmouth map Click Here.