Students walking past Clarence Pier

Get to know Portsmouth better

Whether you're new to the city, or have been here for a little while, check out our challenge

Like any good island, Portsmouth is full of treasures. This is your chance to to get to know your way around and find places you’ll love.

Student Seafront Challenge

We’ve put together a trail that takes in ten of the most iconic places across Old Portsmouth and Southsea.

You’ll start in the city’s historic trading and seafaring heart, stroll to some of the seafront’s best sights, and end in a little haven of calm – with plenty of stops for ice cream on the way. You can do the whole thing in one morning or drop in to different places as you like during the week. 

Explore the trail

Student Seafront Challenge map

The 10 destinations

Our trail is a loop so you can start and finish it anywhere you'd like.

Spice Island B Roll Shoot

1 | Bath Square

This is the historic tip of Old Portsmouth. The area was once known as Spice Island, a hangout for sailors seeking ‘spicy’ experiences to make their time onshore memorable.

29/05/2020.Portsmouth..All Rights Reserved - Helen Yates- T: +44 (0)7790805960.Local copyright law applies to all print & online usage. Fees charged will comply with standard space rates and usage for that country, region or state.

2 | Round Tower

Built in 1418, this formidable structure was designed to defend Portsmouth Harbour and stop French ships from successfully mounting raids on the city. Today it hosts craft markets.

Press & Media; Portsmouth locations; 15th July 2019

3 | Square Tower

Originally the residence of Henry VII’s military governor, this Tudor structure went on to be a naval ammunition store, meat store, semaphore tower and – these days – a wedding venue.

Royal Garrison Church in Old Portsmouth

4 | Royal Garrison Church

Dating back to around 1212, part of the roof was destroyed by a Nazi firebomb raid in 1941. Stained glass windows show scenes from World War Two and the church’s earlier history.

Dave By The Sea
Portsmouth City Imagery

5 | Clarence Pier

One of the largest amusement parks on the south coast, the first of Portsmouth’s two Victorian piers is unusual because it extends along the coast, instead of out to sea.

Lighthouse at Southsea Castle

6 | Southsea Castle

Henry VIII ordered this fort built to defend England from invasion. From here in 1545 he saw his flagship, the Mary Rose, sink during the Battle of the Solent, against French invaders.

Large rock pile at end of path
Southsea Rose Garden - City Guide 2022

7 | Rock Gardens

Sheltered from coastal breezes but just a stone’s throw from the bustling promenade, this little haven of calm dates back to the 1920s, when rock gardens were very fashionable.

8 | South Parade Pier

Whether you want a place to eat, to shop, to watch live music, to fish, to ride the fairground or just enjoy spectacular sea views, you’ll find it on Portsmouth’s second Victorian Pier.

A person sat on a bench looking at Canoe Lake

9 | Canoe Lake

A peaceful park set slightly back from the seafront, this is a perfect place to enjoy a picnic. The famous swan-shaped pedal boats reflect the lake’s status as a nursery for young swans.

10 | Southsea Rose Garden

Planted on the site of an old fort, you’ll now find around 40 varieties of beautiful, colourful roses. Be sure to visit the Japanese Garden and climb the steps for amazing sea views.