The Insider’s Guide to Living Your Best Life in Portsmouth

The Insider’s Guide to Living Your Best Life in Portsmouth
Portsmouth is best known throughout the UK as a major harbour and shipping port - it’s where you can board a ferry to France or Spain, and it’s home to a major Royal Navy base. It’s actually on an island (Portsea Island) just off the coast of mainland UK, though if you were just visiting to access the harbour you might not realise because it’s so well connected by road and rail.

Locals living in Portsmouth, though, know that there’s far more to this historic city than somewhere you can catch a boat! It’s a vibrant, thriving city that’s home to over 250,000 people and if you’re thinking of moving to Portsmouth there are loads of great reasons to do so.

1. Portsmouth has everything you need on its doorstep

Portsmouth has grown and extended beyond the island onto the mainland in Hampshire, where you’ll find the Farlington Marshes nature reserve and the Queen Mary Hospital. 

On the island itself, a decent park and ride scheme gives you easy access to:
  • the city centre (where you’ll find all the usual high street shops in the Cascades Shopping Centre and along Commercial road), 
  • Gunwharf Quays (an outlet village with designer brands at reduced prices, cinema, club, bowling alley and restaurants), 
  • the Spinnaker Tower (an iconic viewing platform overlooking the harbour and sea) and 
  • the Historic Dockyard.
To the south of Portsmouth city centre lies Southsea, where you can find a range of independent shops, restaurants and plenty of places for coffee and cake! There are weekend craft and artisanal markets along Palmerston Road, and there’s a boho vibe on Albert Road any day of the week thanks to the diverse range of eclectic shops, bars and restaurants. 

It’s easy to get around in Portsmouth. The city centre is compact enough to be easily walkable, and there are good train and bus networks across the island and up on the mainland. If you fancy a trip across the sea, you can catch a hovercraft to the Isle of Wight, or the ferry to France or Spain. London Waterloo is 1.5 to 2 hours away by train, so commuting to the city is a viable option.

We have two storage facilities in Portsmouth - one on Portsea Island (Portsmouth) and one on the mainland (Portsmouth North Harbour) and both are conveniently located for student, personal or business storage in Portsmouth - ideal if you decide to move here and need somewhere to keep your belongings safe until you’re settled.

2. There’s bags of history here

Pompeys (native Portsmouth-dwellers) are proud of their naval history. There’s a really interesting museum in Southsea, The D-Day Story, where you can learn about Portsmouth’s role in one of the most famous events of World War II as well as its role in other major naval campaigns. The Historic Dockyard is home to an interactive museum retelling the story of the Tudor ship, the Mary Rose, and visitors can see Royal Navy ships including HMS Queen Elizabeth (when it’s at Portsmouth Naval Base) and Nelson’s HMS Victory.

As a major port, Portsmouth has always needed to be heavily protected and fortified against invasion. Henry VIII built Southsea Castle in 1544 and visitors can now learn about its history in the Keep, sightsee over Southsea Common or the Solent from the Ramparts, or take a tour in the Tunnels.

Famous historical residents of Portsmouth include Charles Dickens (there’s a museum designed as his home would have looked at the height of his writing career), Rudyard Kipling, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Plus, there’s a lot of music heritage in Portsmouth. The Guildhall has been host to countless major acts including Take That, Manic Street Preachers, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, whilst the Wedgewood Rooms (“the Wedge”) is where several major acts performed before they became global phenomena - Pulp, Oasis and The Killers amongst others.

3. There’s a high ranking university here

Whilst not a Russell Group university, Portsmouth University is nonetheless highly regarded. The Times Higher Education Rankings places it within the top 25 for student satisfaction and rates it as one of the finest young (under 50-years-old) universities in the world. There’s plenty for students to do in the area - shopping, bars, cafes and plenty of live music events are great for students and residents alike. The presence of so many students keeps Portsmouth feeling youthful and vibrant, and many graduates choose to remain living in the area to access jobs in the city’s main industries:
  • Maritime and marine
  • Defence and aerospace
  • Engineering and manufacturing
  • Digital and creative
Portsmouth students come from all over the country, and from overseas, to study here. If you move to Portsmouth to study, you might find it handy to rent a self storage unit for a few weeks between terms to keep your student belongings safe if you go home for the holidays. We have student storage offers at our two Portsmouth stores. 

4. There’s plenty of open space

Although Portsmouth is densely populated, there is still plenty of open space to enjoy, including Southsea Common and Milton Common. On the mainland, you could take a picnic up to the top of Portsdown Hill and spend all afternoon admiring the view across Portsmouth towards the sea.

If you’re keen on the idea of coastal living, you could live anywhere in Portsmouth and smell the sea on the wind; you could visit any of the beautiful shingle or pebble beaches, spend time at the Harbour, buy fresh fish from the Fish Market, or enjoy the sight of the ever-changing Solent.

Thinking of moving to Portsmouth?

If you’re tempted to move to Portsmouth, the housing stock is varied so you’ll be sure to find housing that suits your needs and budget. It’s considerably cheaper than other parts of Hampshire and London, so if you’re moving here to save money on your mortgage or get away from the city, you’ll find you can afford a good standard of living here.

If you’re ready to move and your new home needs renovating or redecorating, we have two stores in Portsmouth where you can keep your belongings safe until you’re ready to move in properly. If you’re downsizing, you could also consider using self storage for the long term, to store excess belongings like sports gear, camping equipment, seasonal items etc, rather than find room at home. 

We’re here to offer no-obligation advice and information if you’re considering using self storage in Portsmouth, so please get in touch if you think we can help.    


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