What to do in Portsmouth when the Great South Run is on

With less than three weeks to go until the Great South Run, discover the best things to do in Portsmouth and plan your perfect weekend. Whether you’re a runner or a spectator, find out where the best carb-loading haunts are, where the best vantage spots are to watch, what the unmissable sights are and how to get the best deals.

First thing’s first…food

Everyone needs carbs, if you’re running 10 miles or not! Portsmouth is a foodie’s haven, with a huge variety of trendy, independent restaurants and a good selection of trusty chains.

For a rustic Italian meal, head to Osborne Road (a five minute walk from the Great South Run start line), where you can choose from two independent eateries, Soprano’s and Circolo Pizzeria. Choose from great menus full of fresh, homemade pizzas, pastas and risottos as well as some tasty specials and scrummy desserts.

If you’re fancying a spot of tapas, head to Sant Yago on Osborne Road (again not far from the action), or delve a little bit further into the heart of Southsea to Nicholsons, a tapas restaurant at the far end of Albert Road, near the Festing Pub.

For the ultimate taste of the seaside, you need to sample some fish and chips, and it’s no surprise that fish and chips are served in abundance around Portsmouth. To see the fish being delivered, head to the Camber Dock to see the boats come in as well as your chance to see a traditional fish market. If eating fish is more your thing, head to the Fisherman’s Kitchen on Osborne Road or The Deep Blue on South Parade Pier for an authentic seaside experience. At the Spinnaker Tower, we serve a tasty beer battered cod and chips in our Waterfront Café, with the fish caught by the local fishermen at Johnson’s Fisheries.

Beer battered cod and chips served at the Waterfront Café

Where to watch the Great South Run

There are loads of places you can stand to watch the action, but there are a few standout points that ensure you have the best view:

  • For a chance to catch them twice, stand near South Parade Pier and you’ll see the runners after they’ve passed mile 6 and then again on the final mile.
  • Just before the Mile 6 mark is The Jolly Sailor Pub. It sits on the bend of Clarence Parade and has a great view point, with the bonus being that you can have a drink and bite to eat whilst you watch them do the hard work!
  • Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is home to the Royal Navy and home to historic ships such as HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and King Henry VIII’s flagship boat, The Mary Rose. You can cheer the runners on from the cobbles whilst surrounded by magnificent maritime history.
  • Or, if you fancy a bird’s eye view and to see the spectacle of runners taking over the city equivalent to the size of ants, head up to View Deck 1 of the Spinnaker Tower, 100 metres up and really take in the perspective of the sheer size and popularity of the 10 mile race.
  • For your taste of community spirit, join the party at Henderson Road, 7.5 miles into the run. Maggy Baker turns her house into a party complete with DJ and a 40 people strong crowd all cheering the runners on.


Whilst in Portsmouth, make the most of the fabulous attractions on offer. For a saving of 20% on the top attractions, check out the Portsmouth Pass which gives you admission to Emirates Spinnaker Tower, admission to The D-Day Story, an annual Pass to The Mary Rose museum and an annual pass to Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard.

If shopping is more your thing, Gunwharf Quays outlet shopping is full of the best fashion no matter your age and style. Shopping can be thirsty work too, so take advantage of the variety of bars and restaurants on offer at the stunning waterfront location.

For some more history, head to the birthplace of Charles Dickens which has been curated into a museum full of memorabilia and stories about his life.

Grabbing a celebratory drink

Once the race is done, the celebrations need to begin. There are bars aplenty in Portsmouth with different vibes for everyone.

For the more mainstream bars such as Slug and Lettuce and All Bar One, head to Gunwharf Quays. For quirky bars and pubs, check out Albert Road, Osborne Road and Palmerston Road; all within walking distance of each other.

For a special experience, treat yourself and a loved one to the Tower and Sparkles package and raise a glass to the spectacular 10 mile running route from above, where you can see exactly where you ran (or spectated from!) and get a fantastic perspective of your new-found achievement.

The team at Emirates Spinnaker Tower wish everyone running the Great South Run the best of luck!