By the British Dockyard

Portsmouth Travel Blog

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Overview at Gunwharf development
October 5

After a long crossing, by early dawn we saw the lights of England... but it would take still hours before we reached and sun would rise by the time that we dock. The sun started rising while we passed next to the Isle of Wight and entering the straight that led us to Portsmouth harbour. Though it was still a dead morning with not too much activities, some ships arriving, other departing that is it.

By after 7am, the ship was docking and not long after we were driven out to the terminal. Of course, I was feeling a bit tired and such after you had a sleepless comfortable sleep outside bed. I relaxed in the terminal as it was early and also cold  outside. Looking at the maps to try to memorise my way downtown and using the restroom to clean up a little.
Market Square at Gunwharf Mall
When the sun was slightly higher in the sky I ventured outside but I must admit that you could really feel that autumn was arriving as it was slightly chill outside.
I made my way downtown to the Gunwharf area, passing next to the Dockyard, which I wasn't sure if it was paid or not.

I sat by a bench next to the new marina in Gunwharf eating a bit of my lunch and napping there while the city was waking up, as well as the new trendy architecture mall right behind me. Then I walked around and first I got really amazed by this new development and new architecture, just by the shadow of the Spinnaker tower.
The new regeneration going on in Gunwharf was a thrill for a young town planner like me, and it was a concrete realisation of most of what I studied in books and supported as the future of my profession.
Water scene Gunwharf dock
So I was really amazed and loved Portsmouth!
At first, I had absolutely no idea of what to expect of Porstmouth and was not even expecting spending more than few hours in town moving by the afternoon to another place, Southampton or simply back to Poole. It revealed that I got particularly attracted by that city, both the older part than the new development. It seemed that even though Portsmouth sounded like it would  have been a direct target for destruction in World War II (which it has been) and that usually English cities rebuild in the 50s and 60s are quite horrid, I liked Portsmouth and found some really nice sight in the city.

The sun was shining and the day became more warm as it went by. I walked back to the Historic Dockyard and finally it revealed that only a few exhibits were toll, so I walk the rest and instead, visited the free ones and watched the ships from the outside.
Development building at Gunwharf
  I made my way till the end, where the actual Army Marine base still stands, giving views on Aircraft Carriers and destroyers as well as some standing in dry dock for historic purpose (see pictures). It was also there that stood the 'Victory' in dry dock, the ship that was commanded by Admiral Nelson at Trafalgar Battle.

I watched a free exhibit about the life of the Dockers Builder, and had an overlook at the 'Warrior' first steel ship standing by the exit gate. That was a bit enough as it was already getting past noon and I had not seen the rest of the city.
I immediately walked inland into the historic downtown centre, passing next to the university buildings and made my was to the City Hall building square. A huge building looking a bit like a capitol facing a totally modern and ugly extension building for the administration of the city.
Guild Civic Hall
.. but with one amazing thing. That new building made of steel and glass reflects the historic one, which makes nice divergence photography (all that with Queen Victoria standing in the middle of the square).
I decided to continue my tour by going through a tiny gate by the City Hall, which was a gigantic monument for all the troops of the World War and made me end up in 'Victoria Park'.
People and students were just relaxing there during this lunch break which gave a smooth atmosphere to the city, another thing I enjoyed and that you don't see in many cities but that would be such a great way to create 'life' for everyone in a tiny way of the urban life was the huge cage including different birds and other animals which is a major distraction for children and others who want to change their mind from their appartment life.
Reflexion from the past on the Civic centre


Another feature of that park was all the major war monuments standing here and there all around the park, totally marking out the link that Portsmouth is having with warfare history. English death during the Boxer conflict, the Boer conflict, the African Conquest, The Falklands ... a stolen Chinese Church Bell etc... Landmark of a nation that has never stopped terror and conquest all over the globe.

I walked back to the sea side and started following the Jubilee/Millennium path from Gunwharf Quay eastward along the harbour and coast towards SouthSea, passing by the departure ferry port to the Isle of Wight and reaching the remains of the fortification of the city.
A huge wall and fortress protecting the shore which you can walk on the wall and have an overlook on the ships entering the city and leaving as well as other landscape elements such as Gosport (the other side of the channel entrance), the Isle of Wight and some lone fortress standing in the middle of the Channel well fortified and protecting the harbour against potential enemy of the past.
War monument view


Finally, I realised it was already getting late afternoon and that I would have been spending all my day in Portsmouth and didn't regret it as I would even have continued to walk along the coast and discover more feature of that vibrant city. Though I called Dave who was going to help me moving out of my flat in Poole, host me for the week end and keep my furniture stuff at his home... as it was my leaving day from my flat today I absolutely needed to start making my way to Poole soon. So I walked into town and fearing that hitching would be complicated and long (going through Southampton and such... not knowing the way) I bought a train ticket and board the next train to leave.

I then made my way to Parkstone, the nearest station and home finishing packing my things and waiting for Dave to come over later that night to pick me.
Victoria Park Doggie
We talked a bit at his home and I watched TV on his many movies and series that he has from the Internet while cleaning my stuff about what I will be carrying with me for the coming weeks I will spend on the road.


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Overview at Gunwharf development
Overview at Gunwharf development
Market Square at Gunwharf Mall
Market Square at Gunwharf Mall
Water scene Gunwharf dock
Water scene Gunwharf dock
Development building at Gunwharf
Development building at Gunwharf
Guild Civic Hall
Guild Civic Hall
Reflexion from the past on the Civ…
Reflexion from the past on the Ci…
War monument view
War monument view
Victoria Park Doggie
Victoria Park Doggie
Animals corner at Victoria Park
Animals corner at Victoria Park
Social life in Victoria park
Social life in Victoria park
Historic dockyard
Historic dockyard
Gunwharf dockyard crane
Gunwharf dockyard crane
Spinnaker tower
Spinnaker tower
Spinnaker tower
Spinnaker tower
Just out of Gunwharf dock
Just out of Gunwharf dock
Warship entering the harbour
Warship entering the harbour
Warship and the ferry in Portsmout…
Warship and the ferry in Portsmou…
Gunwharf mall
Gunwharf mall
Gunwharf mall overview to the mark…
Gunwharf mall overview to the mar…
Monument at the market square of G…
Monument at the market square of …
Aircraft carrier and warship at do…
Aircraft carrier and warship at d…
The Victory
The Victory
Old pub next to the dockyard
Old pub next to the dockyard
Wightlink ferries and spinnaker to…
Wightlink ferries and spinnaker t…
A fisherman by the dock
A fisherman by the dock
Fishery stuff next to the cathedral
Fishery stuff next to the cathedral
Along the Gunwharf dock
Along the Gunwharf dock
Brittany Ferries ship leaving the …
Brittany Ferries ship leaving the…
Portsmouth
photo by: Hannah1982Bug