Surrounded by sea, studying in Portsmouth is like being on your own little island. The city’s history and culture are entwined with its docks and ports.

Portsmouth is small enough to walk or bike almost anywhere. Different areas have different characters. Portsea is an older area with a focus on the sea and sailing, Fratton is more residential, and Southsea has many independent businesses and the seafront. Gunwharf Quays is an amazing shopping centre with restaurants and cinema, and is really close to the Historic Dockyard where HMS Warrior and Victory both sit. (Second year student, University of Portsmouth)

What Portsmouth's famous for...

The Royal Navy

Her Majesty's Naval Base Portsmouth is the oldest and most important of the Royal Navy’s three bases.

Portsmouth nightlife, according to students

Guildhall Walk [is] most popular among students, and walking distance to halls of residence. Here students will find nightclubs such as Pryzm and Astoria, as well as bars including Mr Miyagi's, Dockyard, and Zanzi Bar, with student budget-friendly drink deals. Secondly, there is Elm Grove/Albert Road offering a range of restaurants, pubs, and bars with live music. This area is used by both students and the public, and typically closer to students living in privately rented accommodation. Finally, there is Gunwharf Quays, with plenty of restaurants and cocktail bars – however this does tend to be more pricey. (Third year student, University of Portsmouth)

Arnie

The Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, lived in Portsmouth in the 1960s, while training as a bodybuilder. He was even a member of a gym in Southsea.

Arnold Schwarzenegger star

Portsmouth nightlife, according to students

Guildhall Walk is popular for ‘Purple Wednesdays’, the student club and society night with all bars and clubs within 100m. On Fridays and Saturdays, there is a ‘Safe Space’ in Guildhall Walk doctors’ surgery, where volunteers and paramedics are if you get lost, need help, need a rest, or even need some flip-flops. (University of Portsmouth student)

Spice Island

Learn about this area of 'Old Portsmouth', which lay beyond the city’s laws in the 17th and 18th centuries, and had a seedy reputation for gangs and brothels.

Portsmouth Spice Island

Student life in Portsmouth

Local gems, tips, and things to do, as recommended by students.
Low on cash
Victoria Park near the Guildhall has a small animal sanctuary, and the walk along the south coast has many interesting things to see. (Second year student, University of Portsmouth)
Treat yourself
Gunwharf Quays is the place to go for a celebration! They have a variety of great upmarket shops, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and casinos. (Second year student, University of Portsmouth)
Friday night out
The Astoria links up with the bar next door, Mr Migagi’s [on Fridays]. Pay entry once for both venues. The biggest night there is. (Third year student, University of Portsmouth)
Sunday chilling
The canoe lake in Southsea is beautiful! There are swan paddle boats, a playpark, and the beach, all within 20 metres of each other. (Second year student, University of Portsmouth)
When family visit
When my family visited, we went to Spinnaker Tower which has amazing views. Sometimes [it has] night shows. (University of Portsmouth student)
Feeling cultural
Number 6 Cinema is a quaint independent cinema located in the heart of the historic dockyard. Visiting the Mary Rose Museum and HMS Victory are also must-dos. (Second year student, University of Portsmouth)
Catch up with mates
Dice is a fantastic board game cafe where you can relax with friends, learning to play new games. (Third year student, University of Portsmouth)
Grab a bite
Outside-In is a pop-up food court that offers a range of cuisines from all over the world, as well as hosts events, live music, and cocktails. I usually go to the Jamaican vendor, and order the jackfruit burger with peri-peri fries and a malt shake. (Second year student, University of Portsmouth)

Portsmouth in pictures

Spinnaker Tower

One of the main landmarks in Portsmouth. (Emily, third year student at University of Portsmouth)

Southsea Castle Lighthouse

The lighthouse near Southsea Castle. (Emily, third year student at University of Portsmouth)

Living in Portsmouth, according to students

Fratton – this area is good as it’s close to both a train station and lots of big supermarkets. The houses are generally larger and cheaper than in Southsea. It is also a short walk from all of the uni buildings. (Second year student, University of Portsmouth)

Portsmouth Harbour

The Harbour is a great place to sit and think. (Emily, third year student at University of Portsmouth)

The beach

It's where I like to hang out most of the time. (Emily, third year student at University of Portsmouth)

Living in Portsmouth

Housing, travel, and budgeting tips.

Living in Portsmouth, according to students

Southsea – a moderately-priced area [that's a] 25-minute walk to university, with a free bus stopping ten minutes away, a few nice local pubs, and Southsea's Albert Road [a] short walk away, so good for a night out. (Second year student, University of Portsmouth)
Where you'll find students
  • Gunwharf Quays
  • Southsea
  • Fratton
Local transport
  • Weekly ticket: £18
  • First Group Portsmouth First Week (Adult) ticket
  • Bus

Student money tips

The cheapest nights out are Pound Party Mondays at Pryzm – with everything costing just £1, including all drinks for £1.50 – Sunday Funday at Miyagi’s, and the official student night at Popworld on Wednesdays. (Second year student, University of Portsmouth)

The cost of living as a student soon adds up, us our budget calculator to find out roughly how much you'll need each month.

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