Considering moving to Portsmouth? You’re in good company! Here we detail some of our highlights of this wonderful city. Moving house and home is no easy venture. But a city like Portsmouth has so much to offer in terms of entertainment, education, living, and personal growth prospects, that any doubts and reservations should be cast aside to make way for the joys of exploring it. The port city of Portsmouth, nicknamed Pompey for reasons as of yet unclear even to residents, is a treasure trove of unique experiences.
Built beside an ancient roman fort called Portus Adurni, Portsmouth is believed to have been founded in 501 by a rogue warrior named Port. In time, it became the world’s most heavily fortified town and the first line of defence against continental invaders. Mere centuries later, the city with the oldest dry dock became a beacon of the Industrial Revolution. Perched on a stretch of land just off the coast of Hampshire known as Portsea Island, it’s effectively the UK’s only island city. It’s here that some 200,000 people live today, in the UK’s most densely populated urban area, with historic ships, museums, and even a submarine close by.
But let’s put history aside and focus on the here and now, because Portsmouth is more than a collection of marine artefacts and cobbled streets. After all, the pubs may be ancient, but the entertainment is not.
The Housing Market in Portsmouth
With increasing numbers of people moving to Portsmouth in recent years the demand for houses has been soaring with a relatively low housing stock.
At the top of eMoov’s hotspot index, Portsmouth is becoming a prime destination for Londoners hoping to get on the housing ladder. Luckily, prices have not gone up much yet. In fact, according to PlumPlot, the average property price is £281,000, which is below average for England and Wales together.
Also, even though English house prices rose by only £3,200 in 2018, the average price change in Portsmouth was nearly four times that much, making homes in this area a viable long-term investment. However, Portsmouth property demands such interest, that it would be wise to move quickly.
The average house in Portsmouth is only on the market for about three months, according to Home. And with a bit of research, you may be able to find property in more affordable areas, such as PO1.
Schools in Portsmouth and the Suburbs
Portsmouth has a variety of schools where students meet the expected standard of education. According to the Compare School Performance service, pupils at the The Victory Primary School near Watersedge Park are doing remarkably well in reading and maths.
Over in Cosham, the Beacon View Primary Academy is also achieving excellent results in reading, as is the St. Swithun’s Catholic Primary School in Southsea.
Children at The Flying Bull Academy in Buckland also seem to be doing well in Maths. But the schools with the most children to achieve a higher standard of education are currently St. Jude’s CofE Primary in Old Portsmouth, and Craneswater Junior School in Southsea.
A variety of schools in
Portsmouth are rated Outstanding by Ofsted, including the Cliffdale Primary
School, College Park Infant School, and the Mary Rose special school. As for
secondary schools, St. Edmund’s in the city centre seems to be doing very well
in the school tables this year. The three most highly rated schools in
Portsmouth, according to Schoolguide, are: The Portsmouth Grammar School, a large
mixed school for ages 3 through 18, Portsmouth High School for girls 3 to 18
years of age, and St. John’s College.
Of course, Portsmouth wouldn’t be the city it is today without its university, which dates to 1908 and focuses on a wide range of disciplines, including Pharmacy, Palaeontology, and Criminology. This world-leading university provides excellent research in Physics and Health, and it’s also recently been named the most affordable city for students in the UK.
Leisure and Retail Options in Portsmouth
Portsmouth may only be the size of 14 square miles, but it’s packed with fun things to do, much like neighbouring Southampton. The list of attractions ranges from theatre to promenades, and there’s a hint of its rich nautical history at every corner.
There’s the D-Day Museum bringing back the days of the Normandy landings, there’s Cumberland House, with its natural history exhibits, and you also have Portsmouth City Museum, with a lovely exhibition dedicated to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote his first two novels featuring Sherlock Holmes while working in the city.
The Mary Rose Museum showcases Henry VIII’s beloved ship, which sank defencing Southsea Castle from European invaders, and lay for nearly five centuries on the bed of the Solent. The historic dockyard is awash with tourist attractions, including the HMS Victory, the HMS Alliance, and the HMS Warrior 1860.
A short stroll away is Gunwharf Quays, which has transformed over the years into a bustling shopping centre with bars, eateries, a bowling alley, and a cinema. Hovering above it is the Spinnaker Tower, where visitors perched atop its viewing platforms can see up to 23 miles away on a sunny day, or defy gravity and nerves on the safe side of a see-through glass floor.
Top 3 Restaurants in Portsmouth
Whether you have a soft spot for the local cuisine, or you like your nibbles exotic, you’ll find a wide array of eateries in Portsmouth to soothe your cravings. Most restaurants operating in ‘Pompey’ have a British feel, but there are countless places to savour Indian, Chinese, Italian, Thai, and fusion feasts.
Restaurant 27 in Southsea is just such a place, where French, British, and other flavours combine. It stands today where Murray’s, a Portsmouth institution, once stood. It’s arguably not the cheapest restaurant in town, but it’s about as forward-looking as they get. In fact, there’s even a 3D rendition of the restaurant and the kitchen on the website, in case you’d like to pop your VR set on and give the place a once-over before you book.
Not many people have the time to board a flight to the Mediterranean whenever they’re feeling peckish, but Algarve’s Grill in Southsea, by the pier, is the next best thing. If the suspended car doesn’t do it for you, then rest assured, the steaks and tapas here come in generous portions and the bar is the way everyone likes it – full. For pure British grub, pop into Monty’s on Castle Road, the restaurant and wine bar that serves the local cuisine, but with an international twist.
There’s no shortage of Asian delish dishes either, and that’s what restaurants like Haldi, Spice Merchants, and Sakira specialize in.
Top 3 Bars in Portsmouth
The nightlife in Portsmouth is anything but wanting. If you’d like a quick pint after your shift, the Barley Mow is ready to serve up a British brew to get you firing on all cylinders again. It’s on Castle Road, a stone’s throw away from the pier, and it’s got the best tipples in town.
The Lyberry, open later than most and literally swimming in tipples, is a local favourite. Students agree that all the city’s late-night good vibes are there, as are the budget-friendly drinks. If you’re not one for quizzes, then Monday nights may not be for you, but if Sunday is when you get your groove on, then do drop by. If you haven’t had your fill when the Lyberry closes, then there’s always The Astoria, ready for a sequel. If you like your parties glitzy, then you’re in the right place; there’s always a crowd and the entertainment is incandescent.
Speaking of sparks and star dust, why not give the Hong Kong Charlie’s Vodka Bar a go? It may not be in the city’s top 3 bars, but it’s certainly a colourful waterhole – the proper place for a stag do or any other event one would rather not write home to mum about. This just about concludes our brief guide to moving to Portsmouth. We wouldn’t dream of recommending only the sites and attractions featured here, though.
So, by all means, do come and visit the city before you move to Portsmouth and let it speak to you the way it does to the residents and students who make it their home. With so much to offer, such a rich history to share, and such a glorious legacy of progress and unity, this city will no doubt connect to you in a way no earthling can put into words.
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