Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Mini Break to Portsmouth

Hubby and I have had another fabulous time. We always go away between Christmas and New Year, when our children were young our trips were to London to see a show, now it's just us two we pick somewhere new each year ..... and this year was Portsmouth.

After the Christmas fun had quietened down we drove south, I think most of the UK had the same idea as although it was Sunday it was like rush hour.

We found our hotel and parking with ease, we like Accor Hotels and so chose their Ibis near the centre. The reception staff were very friendly, great bar area and lovely clean rooms. Some reviews have said they are small and yes the bathroom was cosy but for a budget hotel it had everything you could need - we use Accor Hotels in France and occasionally I did wonder if I was overseas again, as the interior is so similar !!

Sunday afternoon/evening we went for a stroll and found just across the road The Brewhouse and Kitchen - it would have been rude to pass by without stopping for a craft beer, especially as there was a live band playing.

Brewhouse & Kitchen
Micro brewery
A short walk towards the sea brought us to Gunwharf Quays which is a shopping outlet centre, every brand you could think of had an outlet shop. After lots of browsing we decided to have dinner at Carluccio's. Although we've seen this restaurant in other towns we have never eaten there but having joined their mailing list online and subsequently receiving a free bottle of wine voucher it seemed the perfect time. The food and wine were just lovely added to by the view of the Spinnaker Tower lit up. We'll be visiting again !

Spinnaker Tower
Monday morning we were up bright and early and walked back to Gunwharf where we enjoyed a super breakfast at Café Rouge - vouchers again as when we visited them in Leamington the receipt had on a 'Two for One' breakfast voucher - hee hee.

Café Rouge
And so to the Historic Dockyard - all I can say is WOW - we have visited before but there is so much more to do. The last time we visited The Mary Rose Museum was 25 years ago - the weekend before our wedding. They have done so much more restoration with even more to come. HMS Victory was so full of history (low ceilings and steep stairs), amazing how they lived and fought; and HMS Warrior 1860 was a real surprise. A wooden ship a little similar to HMS Victory but in the basement a huge (and I mean huge) steam engine with massive pistons working !!.

It's hard to put in words so here's a few of our photos at the fantastic Historic Dockyard.

HMS Victory
Nelson's Uniform and table
Ship's Wheel
Eat, sleep and maybe your overboard coffin?
Gun deck
Captain's windows
White ensign as HMS Victory is still in service
HMS Victory in full - taken from the museum window

The Mary Rose (pipes are to dry her out)
Mary Rose cannon
The Mary Rose length ways

Mary Rose anchor
HMS Warrior 1860
Masts and semaphore flags
Fire power
HMS Warrior 1860 ship's wheels
Ready steady .... fire
Muskets at dawn
Officers room
Piston power
After our amazing visits back in time we took a harbour tour just as the sun was setting. A beautiful trip round the harbour, along side some of the modern, currently serving Navy ships. Fabulous views of all the ships and boats and Spinnaker Tower.

Royal Navy
Spinnaker Tower
After all the excitement of the day we called at Brasserie Blanc for a much needed cocktail - Long Island and Long Beach - perfect

Brasserie Blanc cocktails
To finish our day we called back at The Brewhouse and Kitchen for dinner, the best starter ever - pork crackling and apple sauce. In fact we were so impressed with the pub we called back the next morning for breakfast too.

Pork Crackling starter
Before travelling home on Tuesday we called at Porchester Castle and St Mary's Church. The castle itself is only open at the weekends but you can walk around the grounds and through to the water's edge. The church is open and serves tea and coffee. Another beautiful place, so much history and great views across to Portsmouth.

Porchester Castle
St Mary's Church
The Altar
Portsmouth in the mist
What a lovely way to end 2014 - I am so lucky in the places we visit - thanks so, so much to my lovely Hubby Nick. As you can see we always have a good time :)

Happy New Year - here's to many more adventures in 2015


  1. It's always nice to view historic places and be able to see where our forebears have walked before. Lovely clear pics, you picked a sunshiney day to visit the harbour. Xxx

  2. A lovely short break, Clare. I've been to Portsmouth but not the historic dockyard. Must add it to my 'to see' list. Agree with you about Accor hotels - always comfortable and you know what to expect.

  3. Looks like a lovely break Clare. David's Granny used to live in Portchester so we often went there, but never ventured down into Portsmouth


I'm so pleased you're enjoying my travel and wine ramblings - I love reading your replies too, thank you for posting a comment