A new city, new friends, new memories and, of course, new experiences: this is the Fresher’s Guide to Portsmouth.
Portsmouth has much more to offer than just the seaside and Gunwharf Quays although they are sometimes regarded as being the city’s USP. Gunwharf Quays is the first stop of many which University of Portsmouth students will make. It is almost a rite of passage to get involved with the Student Lock-In that happens at the end of every September. Gunwharf Quays is also more than just a shopping outlet; it boasts a brand new ‘Hollywood Bowl’ complex, Vue Cinema and abundance of restaurants that would make any student salivate. All in all, Gunwharf Quays has a lot going on.
“110 metres above the harbour, the Sky Garden hosts the tower’s highest viewing deck.”
Staying close to home in Gunwharf Quays, Spinnaker Tower is one place to take family and friends when visiting. A high-speed lift to the top of Britain’s best viewing tower will cost students £7.10 and a general adult ticket is £7.95. If booked online, there is a saving of 15% as well. The Sky Walk at the top of the tower is where thrill-seekers have the most fun, with views from a glass platform to the harbour 100 metres below. 110 metres above the harbour, the Sky Garden hosts the tower’s highest viewing deck. With its exposure to the elements, it’s the perfect chance to sit back, relax and enjoy the sea breeze.
If you want to maintain the sea theme, Fresher’s – you are in luck. South Parade Pier has recently been re-energised with a full renovation in April 2017 having its traditional Pier appearance restored. It is a pleasure pier, offering typical seaside attractions such as arcade games, souvenirs and candy floss, as well as two fishing decks. The walk along the seafront to get there is an added bonus. Open all year round, even on those chilly, rainy, winter days, Southsea beach and South Parade Pier are a winner with locals and students alike.
“Coffee shops on Albert Road will make your tastebuds tingle at the smell of freshly brewed coffee.”
Venture away from the waterside and into Southsea and you will find an assortment of hidden gems; cafés, theatres, independent boutiques, museums and more. Take a stroll along Elm Grove which leads you onto Albert Road. Along here, you will find at least one coffee shop or restaurant which will make your tastebuds tingle at the smell of freshly brewed coffee, or just-out-of-the-oven cooked goods. If pancakes are your guilty pleasure, The Garage Lounge is your place to go. The Southsea Coffee Company is somewhere you cannot go wrong for typically, a coffee, but much more as well. Al Burrito is Southsea’s favourite Mexican eatery, and many have spotted their famous bus sat outside The Pyramids Leisure Centre along Southsea beach. Their authentic take on street food is a must-try.
The King’s Theatre is located on Albert Road and showcases performances, plays and pantomimes all year round. This month, you will find 8 out of 10 Cats comedian, Jon Richardson, at the King’s Theatre on Tuesday 17th October and Wednesday 18th October, as well as The Madness Musical – Our House running from Monday 30th October through to Tuesday 4th November. Christmas Pantomime’s are always a crowd favourite, and this year’s festive show is Snow White, starring Melinda Messenger as Fairy Sparkle and Marcus Patrick as The Huntsman. Book tickets early as always to avoid disappointment.
The Wedgewood Rooms on Elm Grove is not far from the King’s Theatre either. The Wedgewood Rooms host a variety of music and comedy events and have previously hosted events from up-and-coming British pop and rock artists such as You Me At Six and Kasabian to name a few. It is not a place to miss if you enjoy a music and comedy venue with more intimate and personal gigs. The month of October will see Wedge Comedy Club on Friday 20th, Liam Fray on Tuesday 24th October as well as many more.
“Most importantly – do not forget the power of your student discount!”
Portsmouth’s Guildhall may be a little closer to home for Freshers, especially those living in halls. Guildhall also hosts an array of shows and performances similar to Southsea’s King’s Theatre. Friday 27th October will see Swedish superstar Zara Larsson make an appearance as part of her European Tour.
If sight-seeing, taking in the local heritage and museums are more your scene, then Portsmouth is able to help you with just that. Most obviously is Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, as well as its Naval Museums. A visit to the Navy Dockyard lets you wander around HMS Victory and HMS Warrior 1860 and even hop on board to get a real sense of their power and history. On Sunday 29th October, there will be a fireworks spectacle at the Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower. This event is ticketed so be sure to visit the website for further details at www.historicaldockyard.co.uk.
Freshers, welcome to Portsmouth. Take your time to explore what the city has to offer. There is a lot to see and do over the next three years, and most importantly – do not forget the power of your student discount!