Portsmouth is full of great spots for people watching, from cafes and bars to the great outdoors. Here are some of our favourite places in Pompey to chill out for a little while and watch the world go by.
Soaring 170 metres, the Emirates Spinnaker Tower – taller than the London Eye, Blackpool Tower and Big Ben – will give you a bird’s eye view over Portsmouth Harbour and the Solent. The perfect people watching spot.
Gunwharf Quays, PO1 3TT – spinnakertower.co.uk
Canteen – the latest addition to the Hotwalls Studios – have transformed a prestigious historical monument into a social hub, offering artisan sandwiches, fresh pastries and coffee, as well as a stunning sea view. You can sit on the waterfront deck in good weather – bliss.
Point Battery & Barracks, Broad Street, PO1 2FS – facebook.com/thecanteen
Pie & Vinyl
Pie & Vinyl is a cosy little cafe with some great tunes playing, where you can tuck into locally sourced pie and mash, read the music papers and magazines and check out the Record Room. A great spot for people watching, and they sometimes host live music too.
61 Castle Road, PO5 3AY – pieandvinyl.co.uk
This picturesque stretch of coastline offers a mix of iconic attractions, heritage landmarks, festivals and activities, including live music at the Bandstand and crazy golf. Watch people swimming, flying kites and skimming stones and then check out Clarence Pier, one of the largest amusement parks on the south coast.
Southsea Beach, PO4 0SP – facebook.com/southsea.beach
Palmerstone Road markets
Palmerston Road is home to the Love Southsea market, Hampshire Farmers Market and an Art & Collectables Market, where you can eat, drink and watch the hustle and bustle of market life.
Love Southsea Market, Palmerstone Road, PO5 – lovesouthsea.co.uk
Canoe Lake and Rose Gardens
Past the Canoe Lake – famous for its swans, crabbing, paddling and now swan boat rides – you’ll find the historic Southsea Rose Gardens, where you can relax with a book or a picnic and take in the sights.
Canoe Lake Leisure, St Helens Parade, Southsea, PO4 9RG – canoelakeleisure.co.uk
Southsea Coffee Company
For independent speciality coffee and feel-good food (including some delicious raw cakes) head to Southsea Coffee Co, where you can indulge in a little people watching with your flat white.
63 Osborne Road, Southsea, Portsea Island, PO5 3LS – southseacoffee.co.uk
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Situated within a working Naval Base, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is home to a collection of attractions, historic ships and museums, so there’s plenty to see and do. There are lots of options for eating and drinking too, including The Mary Rose Cafe and The Georgian Tearooms.
Visitor Centre, Victory Gate, HM Naval Base, PO1 3LJ – historicdockyard.co.uk
Gun Wharf Quays
This retail destination boasts 90 outlet stores and 30 restaurants, bars and cafes, but when you’ve had enough of watching shoppers you can sit in the sun at the Marina and observe the groups taking powerboat rides.
Gunwharf Quays, PO1 3TZ – gunwharf-quays.com
The Still & West
A relaxing country pub with stunning views overlooking the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour, The Still & West is still many a local’s favourite and can be seen from approaching ferries. Sip a seasonal ale outside on the Spice Island seafront and soak up the views.
Bath Square, Old Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 2JL – stillandwest.co.uk
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Main image: Instagram / @phdockyard