A port city with a historic dockyard and naval base, Portsmouth is much loved for its combination of city antics and coastal adventures, all adding to the experience on a spa day or break.
Historically, Portsmouth has had an important role to play. It’s been one of the main homes of the Royal Navy since 1194 and continues to be strongly influenced by its maritime heritage. Many of its most popular sightseeing destinations relate to its naval past. Perhaps most famous of all are the remains of the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s favourite ship, retrieved after it notoriously sank in the Solent in 1545.
Other popular attractions include Portchester Castle - a Roman-Saxon shore fort, the Wedgewood Rooms for live music and comedy, Portsmouth Football Club, Baffins Pond for wildlife watching. The Spinnaker Tower rises nearly 600 feet above the Solent and gives you incredible views of the area; the Round and Square Towers dating as far back as the 15th century give a centuries-old view of the harbour. Meanwhile, in addition to the Mary Rose, you can explore the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, which is also home to the official National Museum of the Royal Navy and the ships HMS Victory and HMS Warrior.
There’s plenty of water sports to take part in, and you could even hop on Hovertravel, the only scheduled Hovercraft operator in Europe, and head over to the Isle of Wight! Portsmouth has a healthy nightlife too, from clubs and bars to the Hollywood bowl for a retro night of bowling with friends.
With all that in mind, it’s definitely worth including a day of exploration in Portsmouth when you visit one of the spas in the area or close by. Nearby Southampton is home to the likes of the elegant eforea spa at Hilton Southampton and the chic Southampton Harbour Hotel and Spa. Macdonald Elmers Court Hotel and Resort in Lymington is also worth a visit, while New Park Manor Hotel & Spa in the New Forest is a little further afield and perfect for a longer getaway.