If you arrive via public transport you will find yourself at a transport hub of train, bus, taxi and ferry. To your left is Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard which deserves a post of its own and straight in front of you are a line of old buildings, many were taverns serving the sailors from Victorian times to present day, but several have now been converted to shops and offices.
Turning right at the transport hub is the entrance to Gunwharf Quays previously a derelict Naval site but now a regenerated extravaganza of entertainment, shopping, upscale homes, the Holiday Inn Lipstick Tower and a raft of eateries. There is nothing better on a sunny day looking out at the boats with a Grey Traveller signature Sauvignon Blanc.
But stop to cross the road to Ordnance Row and you will see a line of pretty mews houses and a cobbled square leading to St George’s Church. Ignore Gunwharf for the time being and follow your nose along the wall that once edged the Naval Yard and you will pass the Wightlink. ferry terminal to Fishbourne and the fish market which welcomes visitors whether wholesale or individuals or photographers like myself.
Fishermen are busy here mending baskets and nets and the fishing boats eventually give way at King James Quay to posh yachts and gin palaces.
You have arrived in Old Portsmouth, the arches in the sea walls have recently been converted into art studios and The Canteen is a great place to stop off to eat or drink with seats on the square or on their terrace high on the harbour wall.
Take time to walk round this area before returning to Gunwharf and Spinnaker Tower and some deserved retail therapy.