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Portsmouth is a lively waterfront city in Hampshire – an interesting blend of old and new, thanks to a rich naval and maritime heritage, a wealth of great visitor attractions and unique shopping destinations galore! The only island city in the UK, HMNB Portsmouth is considered to be the home of the Royal Navy, with two-thirds of the UK’s surface fleet in residence here. The city also features some famous ships including HMS Warrior, the Mary Rose and Horatio Nelson’s HMS Victory, the world’s oldest naval ship still in commission.
The birthplace of author Charles Dickens and engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Portsmouth is among only a few British cities boasting two cathedrals – the Anglican Cathedral of St Thomas and the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St John the Evangelist. Most of the city’s landmarks and tourist attractions are related to its naval history, from the Fort Nelson Royal Armouries and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, to Gunwharf Quays, with its mix of outlets stores, restaurants, pubs and cafés. It is dominated by the impressive Spinnaker Tower, one of the UK’s tallest structures at 170 metres, completed in the summer of 2005. Viewing platforms provide views towards the Isle of Wight on a clear day. The nearby seaside resort of Southsea is another hotspot – it houses a traditional pier amusement park as well as a medieval castle!
A tenth of the city’s workforce is employed at Portsmouth Naval Dockyard, which is directly linked to the city’s biggest industry, defence, with the headquarters of BAE Systems Surface Ships located in the city. Portsmouth helped to build HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, the largest ships to have been constructed by the Royal Navy. There is a major ferry port that handles both passengers and cargo, and Portsmouth also has a dedicated fishing fleet consisting of 20 to 30 boats that land fish and shellfish daily, most of which is sold at the quayside fish market. Unrelated to its docks, Portsmouth also plays host to the European headquarters of multi-information technology company, IBM.
Portsmouth Harbour has passenger ferry links to Gosport and the Isle of Wight, while Britain’s longest-standing hovercraft service still runs from Clarence Pier to Ryde. Meanwhile, local bus services are provided by Stagecoach South East and First Hampshire & Dorset, serving the city and its surrounding towns. Portsmouth lies on two different direct South Western Railway routes to London Waterloo via Guildford and Basingstoke. The city used to have its own airport, Portsmouth Airport, until its closure in 1973. The nearest airport now is Southampton Airport, which is a little less than 20 miles away.
The University of Portsmouth enrols 23,000 students and is ranked among the top 100 modern universities in the world. There are several local colleges, such as Highbury College and Portsmouth College, along with 63 schools at the last count. There is also a cohort of independent schools within the city. The oldest, founded in 1732 by the Mayor of Portsmouth, is the Portsmouth Grammar School, which has been rated as one of the best private schools in the country.
The average price for property in Portsmouth stands at around £217,427, which reflects a fall of 3.81% in the last few months. In terms of property types, flats in Portsmouth sell for an average of £176,307, while terraced houses fetch around £206,239.
Football fan? You’ll be likely to know that Portsmouth has its own team. Portsmouth Football Club have won two Football League titles (1949 and 1950), as well as the FA Cup in 1939 and 2008.