It's time for a hen party in Portsmouth!
Portsmouth - a historic waterfront gem and a hit with tourists all summer. Even better, it's a hen party destination too. Portsmouth is an island city, meaning they've crammed absolutely everything you could possibly need on to one little island. Portsmouth may be historic, but the activities and nightlife are bang up to date, as the massive student population keeps the city thriving and growing at a rapid rate, casting off the old and turning Portsmouth in to a diverse, multicultural city with a whole lot to offer hen parties from all over the UK.
Why: Reasons to celebrate a Portsmouth hen party
Portsmouth is a real mix of the modern and aged, with the old and new clashing to bring a rare mix of styles and cultures to the city - just look at the historic docks next to the iconic Spinnaker Tower. Although Portsmouth's proud naval tradition is evident the island is firmly situated in the present now, with award-winning shopping facilities easily capable of matching the rest of the UK for retail therapy turning this burgeoning metropolis mature into a shopper's paradise, and a complementary array of bustling waterside restaurants, wine bars and lively nightclubs.
Speaking of the nightlife - it's phenomenal. The huge student population means a lot of call for bars, pubs and clubs to entertain them, and the island location means they've squeezed a lot of options in a relatively small space. Portsmouth also has the densest population in the UK outside of London, so you're guaranteed no quiet or dead nights in the clubs either.
What: What to do in Portsmouth
The obvious things are the water sports activities - with sea literally surrounding the largest part of the city, Portsmouth is fast becoming one of the premier waterfront destinations in the UK for a ship shape hen do. During the summer months, when the sun is hot and the beaches are full, taking a dip with some sailing or white water ribbing is a fantastic way to spend some time with the girls. If you don't fancy getting wet, though, or are planning on a winter hen party, there's plenty else to do on island. Along with the award-winning shopping and the buzzing nightlife, there's also a range of 45 different hen activities for during the day, and 12 different nightlife leisure options for your Portsmouth hen do.
Shop: Portsmouth shopping areas & recommendations
All your main shopping needs can be met at Commercial Road in the centre, where you'll find shops like Debenhams, Republic, River Island, Wilkinsons, HMV and many more. If you're after some more designer finds then head the girls over to the award-winning Gunwharf Quays, which has over 95 designer outlets. Nearby on Marmion Road and Osbourne Road there's a luxurious range of great chocolatiers, award-winning jewellers and shoe boutiques as well as a full range of bars, cafes and restaurants whilst bohemian Southsea, with its cobbled streets and seafront promenade, offers a dazzling array of vintage boutiques, and quirky cafes where you can enjoy a spot of tea with the girls.
When: The best times to Portsmouth
A summer hen do in Portsmouth should be top of your list. As well as the selection of water-based action to be had, there are also beaches to sun yourself on - not quite as good in the drizzly English winters. There's plenty of festivals and events going on over the summer too, like including Live at the Bandstand in June, a popular free event with great music performances, Last Night of the Portchester Proms which is held at Portchester Castle in July, and the famous Portsmouth International Kite Festival in August. That doesn't mean you can't go for an off-seasons Portsmouth hen party though. We've got plenty of activities that can be done in any season, like dance classes, arts and crafts, and pampering, and there are still a selection of annual events on then too - in September you pay a visit to the Portsmouth Multicultural Festival and then in October cheer on the crowds at the Great South Run Weekend... not to mention the frequent Greyhound Racing events, weekly markets and scores of fantastic concerts and performances.
How: getting to Portsmouth?
Once you've driven as far south as you can - right to the bottom of England - you'll want to go just a little bit further. You can do much of the journey on the A3 - or the M3 then the M27, depending on where you're coming from. Portsmouth is connected to the mainland by a bridge, so there's no need for ferries or tunnels and it's easy to drive straight over. If you'd prefer a train, Portsmouth has five different stations. Your best bet is Portsmouth Harbour or Portsmouth & Southsea, both running lines to cities like Brighton, Bristol, Bath, Southampton and London.