Joined: 4 May 2001
From: Bristol Rhode Island USA
I am going to break down my trip report into 2 parts, Portsmouth and then The Isle of Wight, as they are 2 totally different places.
From Heathrow, it was an easy trip to Portsmouth Harbour. I bought, from the Central bus station, a ticket through to the harbour (I could have gotten one that took me all the way to Shanklin - that would include the ferry and the train on the island). I took a bus to Woking and transfered to a train down to the old harbour.
I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, which was the only hotel in the immediate area. It is right on the Old Quay. That area is basically 2 parts. There is a new section that includes an outlet shopping area, plenty of restaurants and the Spinnaker tower. The other section is the old naval yard and several historic ships and museums. There is also a nice walk along the coast.
There are quite a few stores in the mall, but other than Whittard's Tea and Cadbury , they did not hold much interest for me. The restaurants were really varied, covering a good variety of ethnic food. I had lunch in an old pub (shepards pie) and dinner in a French cafe (boulibaisse and tarte tatin )
I went up the Spinnaker tower. I took the enclosed lift, but there is a panoramic lift. The view from the top is fabulous. The weather was not too clear that day, but I could still see quite far. It was worth the £4.95 fee.
I visited a museum that had the remnants of a sail that was on a ship that fought in the Battle of Trafalgar. I don't remember what ship. Sorry, I am not nautical. I really went because of Hudson, looking for some info on naval history for him. Saw the HMS Victory, Nelson's ship. Sorry Tudor, I did not see The Mary Rose - Henry VIII's ship.
If you are interested in naval history, there is plenty to see in Portsmouth. There are harbour tours that will take you to see old destroyers and other warfare ships.
I have tried to post some pics, but I don't think it is working. I will try to figure this out.
The next morning, after breakfast, I headed back to the docks and caught the passenger ferry to Ryde on the Isle of Wight.