Everything University of Portsmouth fresher students should know about the city - including shopping, pubs, restaurants, supermarkets, attractions and things to do

GV of PortsmouthGV of Portsmouth
GV of Portsmouth
A crop of new students will soon be arriving in the city to begin their three year adventure at University of Portsmouth.

If you are about to move to the city, you might want to know more about what to expect when you arrive.

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We decided to put together a handy guide for new University of Portsmouth students, featuring all you need to know about your new home - from where the best shopping is, where the best pubs are and what you can do.

Here is our freshers guide:

Shopping areas

The city centre has plenty of big high street retailers in Commercial Road.

This includes the likes of Primark, Debenhams, Top Shop, River Island, H&M, Sports Direct and many more.

You can also find more shops inside the Cascades Shopping Centre, which can be accessed from Commercial Road.

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Gunwharf Quays is a designer outlet shopping centre with world famous brands like Nike, Adidas, Levi’s, Gap, Superdry, Polo Ralph Lauren and many others.

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As it is a designer outlet, the shops at Gunwharf offer discounts on products.

In Southsea there are smaller independent shops that are well worth visiting.

Just outside of the city is Port Solent which offers a waterfront shopping experience - with stores such as Snow + Rock.


Portsmouth has all of the major supermarket chains.

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In Commercial Road, near to the University Dorms, there is a Tesco - while there is a Tesco Extra in Fratton.

There is also a big Sainsbury’s in Commercial Road.

While there is an Asda Superstore in the Bridge Shopping Centre in Fratton.

If you prefer shopping at Morrisons there is one in Victory Retail Park not far from the city centre.

Portsmouth also had a number of Lidl stores which can be found across the city - but the closest one to the city centre is in Goldsmith Avenue near the Tesco Extra in Fratton.

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There is also an Aldi which can be found in Gamble Road, North End, but that is a bit of a trek from the city centre and the university dorms.

In Southsea you can also find a Waitrose store.

Does Portsmouth have a Nando’s?

The answer to this important question is yes, Portsmouth does have a Nando’s and it can be found in Gunwharf Quays.

And you can even get it delivered to your dorms now!

Restaurants/ takeaways

If you are looking to go out for food during your time in Portsmouth there are plenty of amazing places from which to choose.

On top of that a number of restaurants across the city will continue to offer Eat Out to Help Out discounts throughout September.

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The city centre has a lot of popular fast food restaurants - including McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway and Taco Bell.

A bit further down near Portsmouth Guildhall there is 7Bone, which is a popular burger restaurant that is well worth a visit!

As well as Nando’s, Gunwharf Quays has plenty of restaurants as well as shopping - from more upmarket fare like Brasserie Blanc to the likes of Chiquito, Frankie and Benny’s and Las Iguanas.

There is also a Five Guys in Gunwharf Quays.

Kens Fried Chicken has restaurants across the city and is somewhat of a local institute – so it is well worth trying one or 12 times.

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For those with a sweet tooth Portsmouth is also home to Scoops and Sprinkles.

Southsea also has a wealth of restaurant choices for any cuisine that takes your fancy. Albert Road is lined with places to eat.

Palmerston Road and the nearby Osborne Road also have plenty of restaurants on offer.

Along the seafront there are also options for fish and chips - such as Deep Blue in Southsea Pier.

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If you are willing to venture outside of the city a little bit - Port Solent has plenty of restaurants to enjoy.

There are also plenty of takeaway options via apps such as Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat.

You can get McDonald’s brought to your door or satisfy that Chinese or Indian craving you’ve been having.

Safe to say you will never lack options when it comes to food in Portsmouth.

Pubs and nightlife

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Don’t worry there are plenty of Wetherspoons pubs across the city.

In the city centre there is the Isambard Kingdom Brunel in Guildhall Square - while Yates just down the street is also popular with students.

There is also the Lord Palmerston in Southsea, which is a popular spot.

Southsea has lots of pubs that are popular with students - such as One Eyed Dog, Honest Politician and Deco in Elm Grove.

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Fat Fox in Victoria Road South is also another popular spot with students.

Palmerston Road, on which you can find Lord Palmerston pub, is a popular spot with lots of pubs to enjoy.

Attractions and things to do

Perhaps the most iconic attraction in Portsmouth now is the Spinnaker Tower - you can see it from across the city and it is well worth a visit at least once during your time here!

Spinnaker Tower can be found in the previously mentioned Gunwharf Quays, which is another big attraction - with its mixture of shops, dining and leisure activities.

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It has a Vue cinema, for those who love trips to the movies, and tickets are just £4.99 per person!

The cinema has now reopened - so you can enjoy a trip to the pictures when you arrive in the city.

There is also an Odeon cinema in Port Solent.

The seafront in Southsea is another big draw - and there is Southsea Pier as well as Clarance Pier which is an amusement pier with rides to enjoy.

You can also visit Southsea Castle or take a trip up the Round Tower in Old Portsmouth, if you want super views of the sea.

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There are plenty of museums if you are interested in history - such as the excellent Historic Dockyard and Mary Rose Museum as well as the D-Day story in Southsea.

For those interested in theatre or stand up comedy, there is The Kings Theatre in Southsea as well as the New Theatre Royal and Portsmouth Guildhall in the city centre - which regularly draw big names, during non-pandemic times.

The Wedgewood Rooms and Pyramids in Southsea both are spots for music lovers looking to attend concerts, when they are allowed again.

Portsmouth is of course home to one of England’s most famous football grounds in Fratton Park - however with the coronavirus crisis matches are currently behind closed doors.

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There are also a couple of nearby festivals - including Victorious Festival in Southsea and Isle of Wight Festival - which are scheduled to take place in 2021.

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