Portsmouth, a dynamic harbour city on the southern coast of England, is renowned for its maritime heritage and vibrant cultural scene. It offers a broad spectrum of attractions and activities that cater to families and children of all ages. 

From historical ships to interactive museums and exciting escape rooms, Portsmouth promises an enriching and enjoyable experience for all. Whether you’re planning a day out or a longer stay, this guide will help you discover the best family-friendly activities in the city.

Historic Dockyard: A Journey through Maritime History

A Treasure Trove of Naval Heritage

The Historic Dockyard is an essential visit for families exploring Portsmouth. It serves as a gateway to over 800 years of naval history, offering access to world-famous ships, interactive exhibits, and engaging workshops.

HMS Victory and the Mary Rose

Key attractions include the HMS Victory, Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar, and the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s warship that was raised from the seabed after 437 years. Both offer fascinating insights into naval warfare and life at sea.

Action Stations and Dockyard Apprentice

Beyond ships, the dockyard’s Action Stations feature simulators and physical challenges that appeal to older children and teens, while the Dockyard Apprentice exhibition lets younger visitors experience the life of a trainee shipwright in the early 20th century.

Southsea Castle and Promenade: Coastal Explorations

A Historic Fortress by the Sea

Built in 1544 by Henry VIII, Southsea Castle is at the heart of Portsmouth’s seafront. Families can explore the ramparts, enjoy panoramic views, and learn about the castle’s role in defending the coast.

A Vibrant Seaside Promenade

Adjacent to the castle, Southsea’s promenade is perfect for a leisurely stroll. With open spaces, playgrounds, and the Canoe Lake, it’s a great spot for a family picnic or to simply enjoy the seaside atmosphere.

Insight into Portsmouth’s Past

The Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery presents exhibits that feature the city’s rich history, from its notable literary figures to its football legacy. The Arthur Conan Doyle collection showcases the creator of Sherlock Holmes and his links to Portsmouth.

Interactive and Artistic Exhibits

The museum also hosts temporary art exhibitions and interactive installations that are both educational and engaging for children, fostering an appreciation for history and art from an early age.

Blue Reef Aquarium: Underwater Adventures

Discovering Marine Life

The Blue Reef Aquarium offers a window into the mysteries of underwater life, featuring marine species from local waters and exotic environments like tropical rainforests and the Amazon.

Interactive Rock Pool and Talks

Children can experience the interactive rock pool, where they can touch starfish and crabs under supervision. Regular talks and feeding demonstrations provide further insights into marine conservation.

Spinnaker Tower: A View from Above

Soaring Above Portsmouth

The Spinnaker Tower stands as a modern symbol of Portsmouth, offering breathtaking 360-degree views. The glass skywalk is a thrilling experience, allowing visitors to ‘walk on air’ 100 metres above the harbour.

Educational Yet Entertaining

While the view is the main attraction, the tower also provides educational insights into the city’s geography and landmarks, making it a fascinating visit for families.

Exciting Escapes Portsmouth: An Adventure for the Brain

Interactive Fun for the Family

Exciting Escapes Portsmouth offers families a unique opportunity to bond and work together. Themed escape rooms challenge participants to solve puzzles, uncover hidden clues, and decode mysteries to ‘escape’ within a set time frame.

Themes and Stories for All Ages

With various themes that cater to different interests and age groups, there’s something for everyone. It’s not only an enjoyable activity but also a great way to develop problem-solving skills and creative thinking in a fun environment.

Portsmouth Pyramids Centre: Aquatic Adventures

Splash and Play

The Pyramids Centre, with its fun pools, flumes, and wave machine, offers a perfect indoor water adventure for families, especially on less sunny days. It’s a great way for kids to expend energy and for families to enjoy aquatic fun together.


Portsmouth stands out as a destination that wonderfully combines education with entertainment, history with modernity, and maritime significance with cultural richness. 

The city caters to families with children of all ages, ensuring a visit filled with discovery, adventure, and fun. Whether stepping back in time at the Historic Dockyard, exploring marine life at the Blue Reef Aquarium, or solving puzzles at Exciting Escapes, there’s no shortage of activities that promise memorable experiences for the entire family. 

Plan your journey to Portsmouth and create lasting memories with your loved ones amidst the compelling blend of attractions the city has to offer.