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Things to do in Gosport, Hampshire

View along the Solent of the impressive defensive walls, known as the Battery, Portsmouth, Hampshire.
The Battery Defences ©Shutterstock /BasPhoto

The town of Gosport is on the south coast of Hampshire bordering Portsmouth Harbour. It was founded in the 13th century and was probably called Gooseport, being an area where wild geese would gather.

Throughout the Middle Ages it was a small port town with a few hundred inhabitants who made a living as fishermen.

In the 15th century Fort Blockhouse, a defense tower, was built overlooking the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour. By the 16th century the local industry was sailmaking and shipbuilding but the English Civil War brought turmoil to the town in 1642.

Benches in a square in Gosport Business District,Hampshire
Business District ©Shutterstock /Dan Bernard

Portsmouth was a Royalist stronghold and Gosport supported the Parliamentarians. They set up guns at Gosport and bombarded Portsmouth into surrender. In retaliation, Gosport was sacked by the Royalists in 1645.

In 1694 Gosport finally got its own Church of the Trinity and became a separate parish from nearby Alverstoke.

As Portsmouth expanded, Gosport built storehouses, timber yards and ropewalks where rope was made by the mile for shipping. A brewery and an iron foundry followed, both essential for keeping Portsmouth dockyard running smoothly!

The town continued to develop with weekly markets and a workhouse. A gunpowder magazine was built near Priddy's Hard Fort which was safer than its previous store in the square tower in the centre of Old Portsmouth!

The waterfront at Portsmouth showing the Spinnaker tower, Gunwharf Quays and harbour
The Waterfront at Portsmouth showing the Spinnaker Tower, Gunwharf Quays and Harbour ©Shutterstock /Jane Rix

The only downside to the pleasant life in Gosport was the press gangs that arrested locals from time to time and forced them to join the Navy.

In 1905 the submarine base was built at Gosport. Portsmouth was heavily bombed during World War II. 11,000 houses in Gosport were damaged with 111 locals killed and 289 wounded.

HMS Victory, Nelson
HMS Victory, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard ©Shutterstock /Paul J Martin

Present Day Gosport

Figurehead of Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson from HMS Trafalgar on display at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Hampshire, UK.
Lord Nelson Figurehead, HMS Trafalgar ©Shutterstock /Ron Ellis

Gosport's population today is around 80,000. The town has 24 miles of waterfront, scenic promenades and many viewing points of Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

The Holy Trinity Church is a local landmark and focal point of the community on the waterfront. Dating back to 1696 it has a striking belltower and a Handel organ.

Outside the church is the Timespace Millennium sundial. It not only indicates the time but also the date with a small circle of light. The mosaic perimeter shows a dateline of Gosport's historic events.

Most of Gosport's employment is in skilled manual labour in construction, manufacturing and marine industries as well as Royal Navy training establishments.

Although Gosport has no railway station, the Gosport Ferry links the town with Portsmouth Harbour railway station.

Passengers on the Ferry which runs from Gosport to Portsmouth across Portsmouth Harbour
Gosport Ferry ©Shutterstock /BasPhoto

Things to Do Around Gosport

Gosport Discovery Centre is in the old library building which was opened in 1901.

The HMS Dolphin Royal Submarine Museum is an interesting museum with local connections. Explosion! is a museum of naval firepower in the old armaments yard at Priddy's Hard.

Aerial view of Portsmouth Harbour and Navy Dockyard from the Spinnaker Tower. Hampshire. England
Portsmouth Harbour And Navy Dockyard From The Spinnaker Tower ©Shutterstock /Nick Hawkes

Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard is a fantastic attraction and passes include entry into a variety of museums, access to the Mary Rose, a rescued Tudor warship, and a narrated tour of the naval dockyard by boat.

Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth has three viewing platforms and is surrounded by the excellent shops and dining on Gunwharf Quays.

The area has some beautiful sandy beaches and fishing, boat trips, sailing and watersports are readily available.

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