Sightseeing, shopping and style | visiting Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and shopping at Gunwharf Quays
A couple of weeks ago my daughter and I headed down to Portsmouth for the weekend, we drove down on Saturday morning and headed straight to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (PR invite) to enjoy lunch and explore a little. You might have seen my photos on my Instagram. We had been invited to share our experience of the visit and we had such a super-fabulous weekend that I decided it was one to write about on my blog too and share a little bit of 'what I wore'!
My daughter and I love doing things together and Portsmouth wasn't somewhere that we had considered before. We did look at getting the train from London where she is currently living but it is such an easy drive that we settled on taking the car.
This was a PR invite. My post includes some affiliate links.
Things to do in Portsmouth
There is so much to do in and around Portsmouth and I fully intend to go back! Both my husband and son would like to visit the new 4D immersive theatre experience at the Mary Rose Museum - Dive the Mary Rose and I'd love to do the D-Day Story, a visitor attraction at nearby Southsea, that tells the story of Operation Overlord.
Then of course there is the outlet shopping at Gunwharf Quays, full of designer brands with up to 60% off! Emily and I enjoyed our Sunday morning wander!
There is also the Spinnaker Tower where you can enjoy fabulous views of the Solent.
Above: Lunch at Boathouse No 4 with a lovely view of the harbour in Portsmouth
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is an area developed around the HM Naval Base and contains an impressive selection of historic buildings and ships.
We visited ...
Boathouse 4 - first stop was lunch! Inside Boathouse 4, overlooking the harbour or with views of the boatbuilding exhibition, is an impressive and newly renovated brasserie, Boathouse No.4 offers lunch, afternoons tea or simply enjoy a drink! The menu has been created by award winning chef Ruth Hansom and uses fresh, local ingredients. The venue is also available for private hire for events.
Boathouse 4 itself is a fabulous attraction with hands-on, interactive exhibits suitable for the whole family. It is also home to a new exhibition, 'The Forgotten Craft' tells the heroic stories of the small boats ... from the wooden cutters that ferried Lord Nelson to the Cockleshell Heroes in their canoes and the powerful motorboats that helped to win WWII.
HMS Victory - after lunch we visited the Royal Navy's most famous warship. HMS Victory was Nelson's flagship from the Battle of Trafalgar. Once left to rot away, it has been impressively restoried and is now a fascinating visitor experience. We loved wandering around listening to the story of HMS Victory on the hand-held audio guides. We saw where Nelson fell and where he subsequently died and heard the history of how HMS Victory limped back to Gibraltar and learnt about life on board.
The Mary Rose - who doesn't remember the raising of the Mary Rose back in 1982? It was all over the news! Well it is now safely displayed inside the state-of-the-art, fully interactive, Mary Rose Museum. The Mary Rose was King Henry VIII's favourite warship and you can learn about it's crew of nearly 500 men and how it sank in the Solent and how, when it was discovered and brought back to the surface, the archeologists were able to learn so much about the history of that period from the artefacts found preserved in the mud.
And opening in spring 2023, there is the new exhibition, Dive the Mary Rose 4D, which will give visitors the never-seen-before chance to explore the history of when the Mary Rose sank right up to the present day. It will tell the stories of those who helped bring the Mary Rose to the surface and explain the meticulous excavation and recovery process. My husband and son are really keen to go so I am hoping we will go back when it is open!
The Victory Gallery - before we left we had time to have a wander inside the gallery which displays previously unseen objects from the famous ship including the original mainmast damaged at the Battle of Trafalgar. We enjoyed watching a short film which explained how the ship was restored and opened to the public by King George V in 1928. And even to this day it is still a fully commissioned ship in the Royal Navy and serves as the flagship of the Naval Home Command.
MInd your head I was told - don't worry I'm too short - and then promptly bumped my head!
Ultimate Explorer Ticket
By buying an Ultimate Explorer ticket visitors and families can visit all ten attractions within Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Fantastic value for money, it allows ticket holders the chance to return as many times as they want to for 12 months. Which is fantastic if you want to enjoy the restaurants and use the waterbus service from the dockyard to Gosport where there are two further attractions - step onboard the only remaining Second World War era submarine - HMS Alliance. You can also enjoy the Harbour Tour.
What I wore for our weekend in Portsmouth
Warmth and comfort were top priority for Saturday sightseeing, however we were lucky and it wasn't as cold as we expected. But these Gabor boots from a previous collaboration with Elizabeth Rose in Tunbridge Wells have proven to be extremely comfortable, practical and stylish with jeans or dresses. My Uniqlo Seamless Down Parka in Off White is great as I always always want a hood on a showerproof coat, although off-white isn't an ideal colour to keep clean but it does look good! I always recommend Uniqlo for coats, I especially love their lightweight down but I just wish they'd include a hood (hidden is fine) with all their styles. My daughter is also wearing a Uniqlo coat (but in petite/kids sizing, she is a size 6 and only 5 ft ... well I am only 5 ft 2 inches so not exactly tall!
My scarf is pre-loved from Vintage & Vogue and my cream knit (above) is the Vara Wool Blend Jumper from the new season at Baukjen, it was warm and is an ideal transitional style. Get 15% off at Baukjen using my code FIFTYANDFAB15.
I have so many of these cross-body bags with fun co-ordinating straps now, this is the double zip version in burgundy but I love how I can mix and match to suit an outfit. My daughter has also taken to buying a similar style, in a smaller size, from Meg & Bee.
Staying at the Marriott Portsmouth Hotel
As part of our PR invite we were treated to an overnight stay at the Portsmouth Marriott Hotel, it meant we could relax and not worry about the drive home on the same day and it was also an ideal opportunity to visit Gunwharf Quays the next day. Proving that Portsmouth is a fab destination and has something for everyone.
After having such a delicious lunch we didn't want to go out again so we relaxed in our spacious room, we had two double beds and I got the opportunity to try out my new cotton PJs and Robe from Rooh London.
Shopping at Gunwharf Quays
Gunwharf Quays is Portsmouth's waterfront outlet shopping destination and we loved it! There are over 90 shops and 30 restaurants, it is right beside the Spinnaker Tower and boasts a fabulous view of the Marina and the Solent. It was still a little chilly on the day we were there, although the sun did appear later on, but I could imagine it buzzing with life as the weather warms up.
Parking was easy and the shopping area is vibrant and modern and boasts brands such as All Saints, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, The White Company, Kate Spade, Molton Brown .... I can't list them all but suffice to say it is an impressive selection and worth a visit!
We had a cup of tea (and a side of Smarties) overlooking the Marina before driving home!
I wasn't sure I wanted to admit that my coat is from F&F - I'd been looking for a neutral, long coat for ages and just hadn't found the right one, they were either too long, not the right colour or poorly made, cheap fabric. So I was pretty surprised to find such a bargain - and (in my opinion) a much better quality coat from F&F (via Next - I really can't bring myself to go to Tesco)! My daughter even commented that my outfit looked bang on trend and she loved it! Still loads in stock - F&F Natural Formal Crombie Coat.
My trousers, again a style I have been searching for, and so difficult to find for me due to being 'petite' but these are the Hampshire Trousers from Boden and of course come in a short leg. My jumper is the Jheel Top from Baukjen, it is a slinky, fine knit, fitted but not tight and I think it'll work well with black leather trousers and with white jeans!
My trainers are from AND/OR at John Lewis and I chose them because they have a slight 'platform' a chunkier sole to give me a bit of height and I loved the gold finish (now out of stock but they have similar in white - Eloise leather flatform trainers fro AND/OR at John Lewis.
So all in all a fantastic weekend and lovely place to visit! Ideal for mum and daughter trips, family outings, couple time, somewhere to take the grandchildren or just an excuse to get away by yourself and go shopping!
Have you been to Portsmouth recently?
Disclaimer: I was gifted 2 x entry tickets to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and an overnight stay at the Marriott Hotel and asked if I would share my experience on my Instagram. This post contains some affiliate links.
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