The Ultimate Guide to Living and Working in Portsmouth

Here is everything you need to know about Portsmouth, use the list below to jump between the relevant sections!

Portsmouth insights
Portsmouth’s population
House price’s in Portsmouth
Is Portsmouth a nice place to live?
Is Portsmouth safe?
The best neighbourhoods to live in, in Portsmouth
Travelling in Portsmouth
What are the schools like in Portsmouth?
University of Portsmouth
Eating and drinking in Portsmouth
Shopping in Portsmouth
Hotels in Portsmouth
Top 10 things to do in Portsmouth
Need a Locksmith in Portsmouth?


Portsmouth Insights

Portsmouth is a waterfront city with copious amounts of maritime heritage located on the south coast of England, opposite the Isle of Wight. It is just under two hours to reach London by car or train. It is also the only city situated on an island (Portsea Island) in England.

Founded in the Middle Ages in 1180 by John of Gisors and is famous for many things including Charles Dickens birthplace, one of Henry VIII’s famous fortifications – Southsea Castle and the historic dockyard which homes Lord Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory among others.

spinnaker tower at sunset across the water

Portsmouth’s Population

In 2020, it was recorded that Portsmouth had a population of 238,137 people. The census reflected a 10% growth from 2001. Its population in 2021 therefore estimated to be 249,956. As a result of the increases in Portsmouth’s population throughout the years and key differences in demographics, the city’s population is expected to see constant growth.

how many people live in Portsmouth

Average House Prices in Portsmouth

The average house cost in Portsmouth stands at £251,323 in 2021, which has fallen 0.5% compared to the past year. The following table shows average cost to buy a property in Portsmouth, along with the value change throughout 2021.

Property TypeCurrent Price Paid (£)Current Average Value (£)Value Change (%)
Flats 202,657196,5682.52

Renting in Portsmouth

In 2021, the average rent cost in Portsmouth stood at £1,363 per calendar month (PCM). The following table shows how much it costs to rent in Portsmouth by property type.

Property Type Average cost per calendar month (PCM)

The following table shows how much it costs to rent in Portsmouth by number of bedrooms:

No. Of BedroomsAverage cost per calendar month (PCM)


Is Portsmouth a Nice Place to Live?

Portsmouth is a vibrant city with plenty to do as it boasts a Victorian promenade, a designer outlet shopping centre and of course the historic dockyard and naval town.

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) Portsmouth residents rated their happiness levels higher than the national average, resulting in a score of 7.6 out of 10! The results for life satisfaction scored a smidge higher at 7.7 out of 10 and anxiety levels at a low score of 2.8 out of 10!

It must be mentioned that as an island there isn’t much room for growth within Portsmouth so there are multiple tower blocks of flats and not much green space per person, resulting in Portsmouth being the most densely populated city outside London.


Is Portsmouth a Safe Place to Live?

As you’ll find anywhere there are good and bad neighbourhoods within Portsmouth. Crime levels are higher in the city compared to the rest of the South East with violent crime and anti-social behaviour taking the top spots for most amount of crime reported so it is important you do your research in which area’s to avoid if you are thinking of moving here. The higher crime rates may be linked due to the historic naval elements as famous gangs formed years back and the city’s passion for their football club Pompey F.C. whom rival neighbouring Saints, Southampton F.C.

The areas with the worst reputation which may influence your move are Somerstown, Buckland and Paulsgrove.


What are the Best Neighbourhoods in Portsmouth?

There are a few more neighbourhoods in Portsmouth with good reputations but here are three we recommend below:


Baffins and neighbouring Milton is a great place to bring up a family in Portsmouth. Surrounded by good schools and lots of areas of greenery and Milton Lake, of which Hayling Island sits opposite. Property prices range from just under £100,000 to £400,000 (July 2020).


North of Baffins lies Copnor so this district also benefits from greenery of Great Salterns and the Lake across from Hayling Island. It is also one of the three villages on Portsea Island that was listed on the Doomesday book! Property prices range from £82,000 to £465,000 (July 2020).

Drayton and Farlington

Located in the North of Portsmouth and across the bridge from Portsea Island lie Drayton and Farlington. The area benefits from more space compared to the packed city on the island and enjoys views across the lake and the harbour from Farlington Marshes Nature Reserve. Prices range from £130,000 to over a million!


Travelling in Portsmouth

There are plenty of options to travel in and around Portsmouth. Take a look at your options below:

Park and Ride

If you are visiting Portsmouth for the day your best mode of transport is the park and ride. Opened in 2014 the state of the art facility is located on the M275 entrance to the city and the service runs every 12 minutes during peak times.

The buses are a hop on hop off service with stops at all the major attractions so you can travel the city at ease and without the worry of getting stuck in traffic.

Portsmouth to London

Travelling to the centre of London from Portsmouth takes around two hours and around an hour to reach the outskirts via car and train.

Is there a Train Station in Portsmouth

There are four train stations in Portsmouth. They are Portsmouth and Southsea which is located in the town centre, Portsmouth Harbour which is located in the historic naval part of the town and next to Gunwharf Quays, Fratton which is the train station you want if you are visiting the football club and Hilsea which serves the northern part of the island.

You can get a train directly to multiple main London stops from the Portsmouth stations which takes around a couple of hours.

Buses in Portsmouth

There are two major bus companies that run in and around Portsmouth other than the park and ride. They are First Bus and Stagecoach, you can use the My Journey website to find out the routes you need to take whilst travelling.

As well as the local buses you can also catch coaches from the main stations that run across the whole of the UK, National Express and Megabus are the ones that operate in the city.

Portsmouth by Sea

As an island city there are plenty of options of travel by sea in Portsmouth. From Portsmouth International Port you can reach the ports in the north of France and the Channel Islands. From smaller ports across the island you can also reach Gosport, Hayling Island and the Isle of Wight via ferries and hovercrafts.

Where is the Closest Airport to Portsmouth?

The closest commercial airport to Portsmouth is Southampton Airport (SOU). It takes just 26 minutes to reach Southampton Airport from Portsmouth via car and around 45 minutes via train.

Where is Portsmouth’s Closest Hospital?

Queen Alexandra (QA) Hospital is Portsmouth’s main hospital. It is located on the hill above Portsmouth and is in easy access of the M37 and A3M. Portsmouth is also home to St. Mary’s hospital but is smaller than QA.


What are the Schools Like in Portsmouth?

There are 61 primary schools, 18 secondary schools and 8 schools and colleges that offer education to 16-18yr olds. Cliffdale Primary Academy, King’s Academy College Park (Infant), and Mary Rose Academy are amongst the most popular when it comes to primary schools and have an Ofsted rating of “outstanding”. The Victory Primary School and Beacon View Primary Academy are also well known with an Ofsted rating of “good”.

As for secondary schools, St Edmund’s Catholic School is one of the most popular in the city with an Ofsted rating of “outstanding”. There are many other independent and special schools you can choose from.


University of Portsmouth

The University of Portsmouth first opened its doors in 1908 and over the years has developed into the institution it is today. The University ‘excels in research areas from cosmology and astrophysics to cyber security, forensics and sport science.’

The University of Portsmouth achieved number 24 out of 121 universities in the UK in the Guardian University Guide, 2021. It achieved 84% course quality satisfaction amongst their students in the “Post Graduate Taught Experience Survey” in 2021.

The University of Portsmouth buildings and campuses are located in the west of the island, with one exception the Institute of Marine Sciences which is located in the far east of the island next to the sea and the lakes.

Living and Studying in Portsmouth

There are plenty of options to choose from when picking your accommodation whilst studying at the University of Portsmouth. There are 14 different halls of residence all conveniently located close to the lecture halls. All of the rooms are singles and are rented to you for the entire year so very private. Each room comes with a bed, desk and drawers, broadband is included in the cost and the majority of the rooms are en-suite.

Prices start from £99 per week to £173 a week.


Eating and Drinking in Portsmouth

These are the top three restaurants in Portsmouth:

1.      Huis

Popular for its vegan and vegetarian options on the menu, Huis is also known for their extensive Belgian cruise main dishes which served alongside one of the finest Belgium beers. The restaurant’s decorations are very homey, offering a relaxing atmosphere to its customers after an exhausting work day.


2.      Minnie’s Kitchen

Minnie’s Kitchen is a charming family-owned restaurant in Portsmouth and Southsea that offers warm, attentive service, delectable, beautifully presented food, and amazing wine! Allow yourself to be pampered with a fun and classy meal. They also have lots of tables in the chic upstairs dining area.


3.      The Rocka Restaurant

If you are looking for a tasty but healthy meal, The Rocka Restaurant should be your top choice. They offer lots of different cuisine choices, including seafood, Mediterranean, and European. Their authentic hospitality and lively atmosphere is what they are highly reviewed for.


Top 3 Pubs in Portsmouth

These are the top three pubs in Portsmouth:

1.      The Still and West

This pub serves fresh food all day, from an appetizing breakfast menu to seafood platters and mouth-watering evening dishes. On the bar, there’s an extensive wine list menu offering exceptional and special bottles from all over the world. Private events can also be hosted in the pub, to date they have seen a range of corporate events, celebrations, meetings, and even weddings taking place!


2.      Spice Island

With a clear view of Portsmouth’s famous Gunwharf and the yachts, the Spice Island offers you the best combination of views and delicious food and best drinks. Venues are also available for hiring, including wedding venues.


3.      The Ship Anson

The Ship Anson is a well-organized and locally owned bar in Portsmouth. The bar offers a diverse selection of beverages, including beers, wines, whiskies, and more. The Ship Anson is a traditional British pub that serves substantial British meals, beverages, and sports televisions.


Shopping in Portsmouth

There is lots of shopping to be done in Portsmouth, from designer outlets, shopping centres and independent shops there is something for everyone.

Gunwharf Quays

Gunwharf quays is a designer outlet shopping centre located on the west side of the island. As well as the shops you will find Vue cinema, Hollywood Bowl, Aspex art gallery, a casino and boat tours as well as lots of eateries so you are guaranteed a fun day out!

Port Solent Boardwalk

There are a couple of independent and sport shops found at Port Solent as well as a cinema, health club and plenty of restaurants. Although very specific for shopping, it is worth a visit to Port Solent to walk around the boardwalk and admire the yachts parked in the bay.

Portsmouth City Centre

In Portsmouth’s city centre you will find a variety of high street chain stores, a couple of independent shops and cafe’s including Cascades shopping centre. There is also a market in the middle of the centre most days.

Southsea High Street

Similar to Portsmouth’s town centre is Southsea high street where you will find similar types of shops and cafes.

The Hotwalls Studios

Recently redeveloped the Hotwalls Studios consist of thirteen artist studios where they create and sell as well as a waterfront cafe the Canteen. This is a lovely spot to browse local art and grab and ice-cream as you continue your walk through Portsmouth’s historic old town.


Hotels in Portsmouth

These are the top three hotels located in Portsmouth:

1. Duke of Buckingham

The Duke of Buckingham, located in the centre of Old Portsmouth and surrounded by a wealth of seafaring history, is the top reviewed place to stay at. Their stylish accommodations with free parking service are ideal for a weekend getaway or even a longer visit. Besides Gunwharf Quay, they are just minutes from the beach and the lively dock.

2. Seacrest Hotel

This hotel offers luxury boutique rooms along Southsea seafront. It achieved the number two spot out of 41 hotels in Portsmouth with many  reviews highlighting their relaxing stay and facilities provided, such as 24 hours operating reception and cosy bar!

3. Royal Maritime Club & Hotel

If you’re searching for a peaceful and quite hotel in Portsmouth, the Royal Maritime Club is the place to go. Visitors at the Royal Maritime Club can visit HMS and Portsmouth Cathedral, two of Portsmouth’s most popular sites, within a very short distance. Some of the hotel’s unique services include a 24-hour front desk, room service, and luggage storage for a convenient stay. Guests of the Royal Maritime Club can also take advantage of the on-site pool and free breakfast. Free parking service is also for free for those considering travelling with their car.


Top 10 Things to do in Portsmouth


  1. Spinnaker Tower
  2. Mary Rose Museum
  3. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
  4. Southsea Castle
  5. Clarence Pier
  6. Portsmouth Old Town
  7. Southsea Rock Garden
  8. Portsdown Hill
  9. Gunwharf Quays
  10. Playzone


Need a Locksmith in Portsmouth?

When moving into a new home changing the locks is vital as you never know how many keys are out there and risk the keys falling into the wrong hands. Arrange for a Portsmouth Locksmith to come and fit a new lock the day you get your keys to provide you with peace of mind. We at Keytek® Locksmiths Portsmouth provide a professional local mobile Locksmith service complying with British Standard and Home Insurance policies to ensure your home is as secure as can be! What’s more is all our customers benefit from a FREE home security check on site to ensure your home is as secure as can be!

There are many other things you need to consider when moving home so check out our Moving Home Checklist to help you along the way! Once your in consider improving the security of your home further still by checking out our Ultimate Guide to Home Security here!

View our Keytek® Locksmiths Portsmouth to find your local Locksmith today or call us on 023 9387 6126!

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