First ever Portsmouth Shopping Festival casts its net worldwide

Crowds at Southsea market
Crowds at Southsea market
Demolition of the Crosslink building at the former Royal Haslar Hospital in Gosport.  Picture: Royal Haslar Facebook page

Work finally starts on former Gosport hospital site

Have your say

The first Portsmouth Shopping Festival will be held next month with discounts and prizes being made available to help showcase the city’s best retailers.

More than 20 independent shops and services have signed up to take part in what the city’s tourism chiefs hope will bring more people into the city.

So far, it has been marketed as far as the United States of America and Dubai.

Retailers, bars, restaurants, hotels, attractions and cultural venues are all being encouraged to run special offers, discounts and incentives only available during the festival period of September 12 to 28.

There will be street markets and free live entertainment in Guildhall Square to attract people to the shopping areas.

Indoor venues planning to run special events to coincide with the festival include the Kings Theatre, Wedgewood Rooms, New Theatre Royal and Portsmouth Guildhall.

The diversity of the city’s shopping areas, from Commercial Road to Southsea’s smaller boutique shops will be showcased during the festival.

Jane Wilson, destination brand manager for Portsmouth City Council’s city development and cultural services department, said she had decided to arrange a shopping festival to showcase what the city has to offer.

She said: ‘The event is a piece of marketing to celebrate shopping in the city. The event itself is about shopping and all the sorts of shops we have here.

‘We are concentrating on the south of the city for this event. We wanted to start off with something smaller and work our way up. We will have some entertainment going on in Guildhall Square to try and attract some attention to the area.

‘There will also be a Sherlock Holmes walking trail where children can learn about Arthur Conan Doyle and collect stickers.

‘It is the last stage of a series of exhibitions we have put on about Sherlock Holmes and will involve libraries and museums.’

Some independent retailers will be offering discounts for shoppers during the festival, while others have donated prizes to the organisers’ raffle.

‘For me this is about promoting Portsmouth,’ said Jane. ‘It is not just about Gunwharf Quays – we have got lots of interesting shops in the city.

‘We want people to visit the city and see all the other things we have to offer here.

‘We want to bring people into Portsmouth and get them spending money in the city.’

Markets will be held in Guildhall Square on the first two Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays of the festival, serving foods from around the world.

The raffle will be drawn on Sunday, September 28.