A student’s guide to Portsmouth

Just arrived in the city and not sure what to do or where to go? Don’t worry, you’re not alone!

Portsmouth is a great place for students, there’s so much to see and do, and with everything in walking distance, you’re never far from anything.

We’ve put together a handy little guide on where to go when you fancy something to eat, where to take your parents, where you can get those perfect shots for your Instagram and how to make the most of the discounts available.

Things to do and see

There’s so much to do in Portsmouth and it’s worth checking out in your first year before you just become a permanent visitor to the library.

For shopping, head to Gunwharf Quays for the ultimate outlet shopping. It’s only a 5 minute walk from the town centre and is full of shops with lots of bargains to be had. As well as the shops, Gunwharf Quays is also home to an array of bars, restaurants (including that all important Nandos) and of course, Emirates Spinnaker Tower. We are actually running a 20% Fresher’s Fortnight discount from 15th – 29th September, just show your student ID when you book!

If shopping isn’t your thing, then head to Southsea seafront where you can enjoy four miles of sunny beachfront. It’s a cool place to walk, cycle or swim (if you’re brave enough!) and full of lots of independent bars and restaurants.

Credit: Visit Portsmouth

Where to eat

For that comfort of home, Gunwharf Quays is where you’ll find your Bella Italia, Nandos, Las Iguanas and Five Guys. For something a little different and independent, then head to Southsea where you will find lots of cool and quirky cafes, bars and restaurants.

For a curry, head to Albert Road, a road famous for curry houses! For quirky cafes and restaurants, Marmion Road and Castle Road are where to go and both are within a 5 minute walking distance of each other.

If you like sushi, then try independent sushi restaurant, Sakura on Albert Road for fresh, tasty food that is an absolute bargain!

Also, not forgetting that all important seaside fish n chips; you’re by the beach so it’s basically law that you eat them! Try The Fisherman’s Kitchen on Clarendon Road, Deep Blue on South Parade Pier or the Waterfront Café (we may be biased but we do think ours is pretty good…).

If cake is your thing, then *the* battle of the cakes in Portsmouth is between Parade Tea Rooms on Southsea common and the Tenth Hole tea rooms situated in Eastney; try them both and take your pick!


Take the parents to…

Emirates Spinnaker Tower for a birds-eye view of your new home. Why not get them to treat you to a high tea in our spectacular Clouds Café? Or a Tower and Sparkles package so you can enjoy a glass of prosecco and the view.

Take them to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, the home of the Royal Navy and where the Mary Rose is situated for an action-packed, educational day.

For a quirky, Instagrammable lunch, head to Pie and Vinyl in Castle Road Southsea which is quite literally a shop full of fresh, local pies and vinyl records. For dinner, try Gin & Olive on Albert Road for a wide range of gins and some amazing steak platters (vegetarian options also available).

Hangover spots!

Portsmouth has its fair share of amazing cafes and brunch spots. Some of the best places to cure that hangover are Parade Tea Rooms (in Gunwharf or Southsea), Baffled Coffee on Fawcett Road, Smile Café in Marmion Road and Waterfront Café at the base of Emirates Spinnaker Tower. Enjoy a signature Spinnaker Stack, a traditional full English or pancakes if you have a sweeter tooth. Plus, with views of Gunwharf Quays harbour, it’s perfect for the ‘gram!


Don’t miss…

  • 20% off student entry to Emirates Spinnaker Tower 15th September – 3rd October.
  • Gunwharf Quays student shopping night on Thursday 3rd October, 5-9pm.
  • City Lights at Emirates Spinnaker Tower. Live music, drinks and night-time views every Sunday from 13th October – 17th November.
  • Great South Run on the 20th October. If you’re a runner or not, head on down to Southsea to join in the fun!

Portsmouth is a lively place with something for everyone, come rain or shine, and we know you’re just going to love your time here!