10 Best Family Days Out: Portsmouth Edition

View of the Portsmouth coastline with the Spinnaker Tower as a main focal point.
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Portsmouth is one of the south coast's most interesting cities, and there's plenty of fun things for families to do in this Hampshire gem.

As the UK's only island city, Portsmouth has a rich maritime history and has played a very important role in the development of Britain. This rich history has helped make "Pompey" one of the UK's best cities for interesting museums, but there's plenty of other great family attractions in this coastal city too.

Portsmouth is a fantastic seaside town, and some of the best things to do this summer can be found on Britain's best beaches. If you feel like becoming an expert while on your seaside stay-cation, check out our collection of interesting facts about our coastal areas.

Always check the attraction's website before you go for the latest information on COVID updates.

Parents and son admiring the view from the top of the Spinnaker Tower.

Experience The Coast From Above

Standing at 170 metres tall in Portsmouth harbour is Spinnaker Tower. You can see for 23 miles on a clear day, including the Isle of Wight and most of Hampshire.

Where Is It? Spinnaker Tower, Gunwharf Quays.

Parking: Gunwharf Quays underground car park, PO1 3TZ.

Food Options: There are two cafes, one on the ground floor, and one higher up which is currently only available with a pre-booked 'High Tea' ticket.  

Toilets And Baby Changing Facilities: There are toilets and baby changing open and available.

COVID-19 Measures: Social distancing must be maintained. The staff asks that customers wear masks and there are hand sanitising stations.

Prices: £11.95 for adults, £9.50 for children aged 4-15, and under-3s can visit for free.

Learn About Military History

Delve into one of the most important days in British history at The D-Day Story. This interactive experience guides you through the things that took place during the D-Day invasion in 1944.

Where Is It? The D-Day Story, Southsea.

Parking: D-Day Story car park, PO5 3NT.

Food Options: There's a cafe selling drinks and snacks, with an outside terrace.

Toilets And Baby Changing Facilities: There are toilets and baby changing open and available.

COVID-19 Measures: The museum has implemented social distancing, a one-way system, and hand sanitising stations.

Prices: £9 for adults, £4.50 for children aged 5-17, and under-5s can visit for free. There's also a family ticket for up to 2 adults and 3 children available for £22.50 online.

View of Old Portsmouth from above, set on the waterfront with colourful houses.

Take A Stroll Through Old Portsmouth

The beauty of the historic city remains in Old Portsmouth. Stop off in an old pub for a delicious lunch before ambling along the quiet seafront. It's a great place for kids to see the remnants of the city's past, making it one of the best free things to do in Portsmouth.

Where Is It? Old Portsmouth.

Parking: Broad Street car park, PO1 2JD.

Food Options: Nearby restaurants include The Canteen, Spinnaker Cafe, and The Bridge Tavern.

Toilets and Baby Changing Facilities: Public toilets at Clarence Pier, as well as local pubs and restaurants.

Prices: Free.

Enjoy A Day At The Beach

Nothing beats days out on a Portsmouth beach! This shingle beach near the heart of the city is a lovely place to relax. Stretching out to sea is Southsea Pier, which has shops and arcades sure to keep the kids entertained.

Where Is It? Southsea Beach, Southsea.

Parking: Seafront Esplanade car park, PO5 3AP.

Food Options: Southsea Beach Cafe offers beautiful sea views.

Toilets and Baby Changing Facilities: Public toilets at Clarence Pier, baby changing available at Southsea Beach Cafe.

Prices: Free.

Get Back To Nature At Staunton Country Park

Located just a short drive away from Portsmouth, near Havant, is Staunton Country Park. This 1,000-acre park has beautiful scenery perfect for family activities and walks. There's plenty of things to see and experience with kids in this country park near Portsmouth.

Where Is It? Staunton Country Park, Havant.

Parking: Staunton Country Park car park, PO9 5HB.

Food Options: Onsite shop and takeaway cafe are now open.

Toilets and Baby Changing Facilities: The toilets and baby changing are currently closed.

COVID-19 Measures: The farm has reopened, although you can't feed or touch the animals currently. Kids can still see all the animals though, as well as run around in the outdoor play area.

Prices: Entry to the park is free. Entry to Staunton Farm and Gardens is £9 for adults, £5 for children aged between 3-15, and under-3s can visit for free.

Little girl standing with her hands against the fish tank looking at a big fish at Blue Reef Aquarium.

Visit Blue Reef Aquarium

Discover more about some fascinating underwater creatures at Blue Reef Aquarium, one of the top attractions in Hampshire for learning more about marine life.

Where Is It? Blue Reef Aquarium, Southsea.

Parking: Seafront Esplanade car park, PO5 3AP.

Food Options: Driftwood Kitchen Cafe is an onsite cafe selling plenty of food.

Toilets and Baby Changing Facilities: Public toilets at Clarence Pier, baby changing available at Southsea Beach Cafe.

COVID-19 Measures: Social distancing is maintained at the aquarium. There are regular cleaning sessions and hand sanitising stations available.

Prices: £10.35 for adults, £8 for children aged 3-12, and under-3s can visit for free.

Spend Days In The Sun At Canoe Lake

Canoe Lake is one of the best things to do in Portsmouth with kids. There's a large lake where you can rent pedalos, lots of outdoor sports activities available, and even a miniature model village too.

Where Is It? Canoe Lake, Southsea.

Parking: Canoe Lake car park, PO4 9RG.

Food Options: There's an onsite cafe called Canoe Lake Cafe.

Toilets and Baby Changing Facilities: Public toilets and baby changing available at the park.

COVID-19 Measures: The staff sanitise the boats and other activities in between customers.

Prices: Free.

Rock Out On The Rides At Clarence Pier

One of the most exciting family attractions in Hampshire, Clarence Pier is an amusement park home to a variety of fun arcade games and rides that are sure to keep the kids entertained all day long.

Where Is It? Clarence Pier, Southsea.

Parking: Clarence Pier car park, PO5 3AP.

Food Options: There is a range of cafes and restaurants nearby.

Toilets and Baby Changing Facilities: Public toilets and baby changing are available very close to the Pier.

COVID-19 Measures: Face masks are required inside the arcades. Social distancing is recommended, and cleaning rotas have increased.

Prices: Range from £10-£25 based on which type of ticket.

An old map of England focusing on Portsmouth on the coast.
Image © iStock

Explore Maritime History

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is home to some of the Royal Navy's greatest ships. The Royal Navy has a host of amazing family attractions to experience as part of their 'Full Navy' ticket - a must-see for anyone looking for activities and things to do in Portsmouth.

Where Is It? Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth Harbour.

Parking: Historic dockyard car park, PO1 3GW.

Food Options: There are multiple cafes and picnic areas at the site.

Toilets and Baby Changing Facilities: Toilets and baby changing is available at the car park and multiple sites in the Dockyard.

COVID-19 Measures: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is currently preparing to reopen following the COVID pandemic.

Prices: There are different ticket options based on how many attractions you want to visit. Prices range from £18-£36 for adults and £13-£23 for children aged between 5-15. Under-5s can visit for free.

Immerse Yourself In History At Fort Nelson

Learn about the days when Portsmouth needed to be protected from attack by visiting Fort Nelson, one of the best family attractions near Portsmouth. With so much to see and learn, this is the perfect day out for kids with an interest in history. With its authentic artillery and battlements, it's one of the best things to do in Portsmouth.

Where Is It? Fort Nelson, Portchester.

Parking: Fort Nelson car park, PO17 6AN.

Food Options: The cafe is not currently open but there is a smaller refreshment kiosk with plenty of outside seating available.

Toilets and Baby Changing Facilities: Toilets and baby changing is available in the Visitor Centre.

COVID-19 measures: Fort Nelson is currently preparing to reopen following the COVID pandemic. It will reopen on 11 August.

Prices: Free.

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things, that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents. 

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it's important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.  

Kidadl provides inspiration for everything from family days out to online classes, arts, crafts and science experiments. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong. 

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All prices and product availability were correct at the time of publication.

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