Let’s enjoy a sweet sixteen – there is plenty coming up to look forward to in the next 12 months

The America's Cup World Series returns to Portsmouth this year Picture: Shaun Roster
The America's Cup World Series returns to Portsmouth this year Picture: Shaun Roster

LETTER OF THE DAY: Hats off to two top firms

  • The News compiles a list of 16 things to look forward to in 2016
  • Includes Victorious Festival, the America’s Cup and the Queen’s 90th birthday
  • Lots of events taking place across the area over the next 12 months
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1 Last year saw the first Portsmouth Summer Show on the King George V playing fields in Cosham, with boy band Blue headlining the event, and top stars such as Alesha Dixon and Professor Green also on the bill.

It’s aimed to be a concert for people to enjoy in the north of the city, with plenty of fairground rides and other attractions for children, and is set to return for a second year. If it sees a repeat of the sunshine of 2015, then the crowds will no doubt once again go home happy.

There are lots of things happening this year to keep putting Portsmouth on the map

Councillor Donna Jones, council leader

2 It doesn’t seem like it’s been almost four years since London 2012 but in August, the Olympic flame will head to Brazil for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.

All eyes will be on Team GB’s athletes and events will be taking place locally to mark the occasion as schools and youngsters look to take inspiration from the success of our sports stars.

Among those bidding for glory will be Fareham gymnast Kelly Simm and Paralympic world triathlon champion Lauren Steadman.

3 Pompey fans will be hoping for a promotion party this year, as the club looks to climb out of League Two.

Fans will hope more wins can come on home soil, but the Blues are still firmly in the play-off places and many will be hoping for some good fortune and some celebrations at Fratton Park come May. Let’s hope the good times will return – and are built on a more solid financial base this time around.

4 The America’s Cup World Series will return from Thursday, July 21 to Sunday, July 24 for the second round of qualifiers as Sir Ben Ainslie bids to lead his Great Britain team to victory.

Last year’s series gave a huge economic boost, estimated at £11m in Portsmouth alone, to the area as crowds poured in to sample the action – almost 121,000 people watched the racing on the Saturday. The organisers are promising to iron out a few hiccups from last year – and surely such bad weather can’t strike the same event twice...

5 Roadworks may seem an unusual choice to look forward to but anyone who endures traffic in and out of Gosport will be pinning their hopes on the latest plan to improve congestion in the area. Work on the Peel Common roundabout is due for completion this year. The road improvements are part of a £90m plan, which will include a Stubbington bypass.

It’s part of the council’s bid to ease congestion around Fareham and Gosport – and let’s hope that it has an effect.

6 A new Marks and Spencer store will be opening in Havant.

The retailer will be opening at Solent Retail Park West along Solent Road, but its arrival signifies more than just one new shop – there are hopes it will kick-start a mini-revival in the town’s fortunes, and give a boost to West Street and the town centre.

7 The Grand Prix of the Sea is back again in Gosport for a third year.

Thousands of people go to Stokes Bay to watch the high-octane two-day event and it has got bigger and better every year.

It sees jetski riders doing backflips and boats racing through the sea; not for nothing is it billed as water’s version of Formula 1. It’s back in Stokes Bay on Saturday, July 9, and Sunday, July 10.

8 On May 31, people across the country will commemorate 100 years since The Battle of Jutland.

It saw the largest naval engagement of the First World War, when the British Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet and the Imperial German Navy’s High Seas Fleet clashed in the North Sea, off the coast of Denmark, near Jutland.

Portsmouth will be among the cities playing a part in the commemorations.

9 The multimillion-pound regeneration of The Hard terminal in Portsmouth is due to be completed.

Construction of the Portsmouth City Council project will cost about £7m.

The council said the new interchange will better link buses, trains and ferries, make the site easier to navigate and enable pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles to share the space more safely. And equally importantly, it will turn an area that has become an eyesore into an entrance to the city that we can be proud of.

10 The Queen will celebrate her 90th birthday in 2016.

Celebrations will be taking place across the country to mark the occasion over four days in May.

Street parties will take place as people come together to mark the achievement. In recent years, the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011, and the Queen’s diamond jubilee the following year have both seen widespread celebrations around here, and there’s no reason to suppose this milestone of our much-loved monarch will be any different.

11 A more sombre military commemoration will be held in July to mark 100 years since the Battle of the Somme.

The battle, which started on July 1, 1916, was one of the worst of the whole war. On the first day alone the British Army lost 60,000 men, of whom 20,000 were killed.

Portsmouth will be one of the cities supporting the commemorations.

12 The Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier will be carrying out sea trials this year.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, which weighs 65,000 tonnes, is due to sail into the city in 2017.

The harbour is being dredged to be able to accommodate her, and this work will also enable larger cruise ships to visit Portsmouth – a side effect, but nonetheless a welcome economic boost.

She will be fully commissioned in 2020.

13 Last year it attracted superstar Snoop Dogg and a host of top dance acts when it took up residence at Fontwell Park for 2015.

But this year Mutiny Festival, which started in Victoria Park, Portsmouth, is back in its birthplace as it moves to the King George V playing fields in Cosham.

This year’s event is on May 28 and May 29, and with a crowd of about 15,000 will aim to cement not only its own name as one to watch on the national scene, but also the wider Portsmouth area’s reputation as a festival hotbed.

14 Speaking of which, Victorious Festival will return for the fifth time, and to Southsea Common for the third year.

Last year saw Tinie Tempah, Basement Jaxx, Primal Scream and The Flaming Lips perform at the biggest event so far, and anticipation is already running high for this year’s event, which is due to take place on the bank holiday weekend in August.

Also, anyone who fancies a more relaxed festival, could try the Wickham Festival from Thursday, August 4 to Sunday, August 7.

Real ale and folk are the flavours here, with a healthy sprinkling of local bands on the second stage.

15 He’s already entranced the country – if not the world – with his journey to the International Space Station, and British astronaut Tim Peake will no doubt continue to inform and entertain us.

Westbourne’s most famous son is due to continue his bulletins from the atmosphere – and ignite a sense of wonder about our universe.

16 It’s an exciting day which sees thousands of runners pound Portsmouth’s streets and this year the Great South Run will return for the 26th time in October.

The city will yet again host the 10-mile run with people coming from far and wide to take part. The event has proved popular and gives a big boost to the local economy each year.