16 bank holiday and half term things to do in Portsmouth including at the Historic Dockyard and Fort Nelson

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
This half term, there are some great ideas to keep the whole family entertained in the Portsmouth area.

Dive into history at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

This May half-term, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is offering visitors the chance to dive into the histories of two very important ships with special trails and activities. Starting on Saturday, May 25, visitors will get inspired by the letters written home by Joseph Matkin, a crew member onboard HMS Challenger during the influential Challenger expedition while at the Mary Rose visitors will be guided through the sights, sounds and smells of the world-famous Mary Rose by Hatch the ship’s dog. Here is what is in store at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard this May half term: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard hosts May half term family activities

Visit Fort Nelson on Portsdown Hill

Entry is free of charge at the impressive and historic Fort Nelson. Visitors can explore the extensive Royal Armouries collection and watch some of the incredible artillery in action during regular live firing demonstrations, as well as learning the fascinating history of the fort’s use as a military base. This Friday, May 24, the firt opens its new exhibition “D-Day: A Portsmouth Story” to kick off its program of D-Day 80 events throughout the year. You can find out more here.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Live at the Bandstand this weekend

Live at the Bandstand is back this weekend. The event will bring an afternoon of acoustoc music to Victoria Park on Saturday, June 1 - featuring The Alistair Goodwin Band, Omam Dawn and Ed Goodale. You can find the full lineup here: Live at the Bandstand 2024 - full lineup.

Denmead’s Overlord Show returns

An popular annual military show is returning to Hampshire this weekend with war re-enactments and demonstrations set to wow the crowds. The Overlord Show is taking place at The Lawns, Denmead between Saturday, May 25 and Monday, May 27. The three day annual event has been ongoing for several years with military enthusiasts flocking to the area to see around 300 military vehicles, 40 re-enactment groups and 70 trade stands. Find out more here: The Overlord Show 2024

Meet Bluey at Spinnaker Tower

The much loved Australian cartoon character Bluey will be visiting the Spinnaker Tower on Wednesday, May 29 and Thursday, May 30. Visitors will be able to take a photo with Bluey at various times during the day which are pre-bookable. Alongside meeting and taking a photo, kids will also be able to take home an exclusive collectable pop badge. Demand is expected to be high for the event and booking will be essential for the meet and greets which will run at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm on the select dates. Tickets cost £12.95 per child, £8 for children under four years old, while adult tickets cost £16.25 per adult. Meet and greets with Bluey can be purchased on the Spinnaker Tower website. Portsmouth residents are able to get a 20 per cent discount on ticket prices which applies to all PO postcodes.

Car Boot Sales in Southsea

The hugely popular Portsmouth and Southsea Car Boot Sale has returned for 2024. This Sunday will see the event take place on Castle Fields before it returns to its usual Southsea Common site off Duisburg Way.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The car boot will begin at 7.30am and end at 1pm. Traders will be able to access the site from 6.30am and can load out until 1.30pm. You can stay up to date with information about the event - and any last-minute cancellations - here: www.facebook.com/PSCarBoot.

Visit Southsea’s hidden gardens

We recently decided to explore some of Southsea’s quirky, historic and peaceful gardens including The Rock Gardens, The Rose Garden and Portsmouth Japanese Garden – all adjacent to Clarence Esplanade. These spots, arguably hidden gems overshadowed by the nearby beach, rival the seafront as places to relax and take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. You can take a look here: I visited Portsmouth's quirky Rock Gardens, Rose Garden and Japanese Garden.

Walk The Millenium Promenade

The Millennium Promenade is a 3km walking route which takes those who follow it across Portsmouth’s historic waterfront. Follow the anchors imprinted in the pavement and you’ll find yourself passing landmark like the Spinnaker Tower, Clarence Pier and the Round and Square towers in Old Portsmouth. Start your free tour of the city by finding the first anchor at Spur Redoubt near Clarence Pier.

Visit Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery

Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery has plenty of excellent – and free – displays on local history, and is open from Tuesday to Sunday between 10am and 5pm. A statement on the museum’s website reads: “discover the world of Sherlock Holmes, see fascinating works of art, trace the history of Portsmouth FC and a whole load more besides.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

For more information, visit https://portsmouthmuseum.co.uk/..

Enjoy a free Portsmouth day out

Take a trip to Clarence Pier

Clarence Pier Amusement Park in Southsea is home to three arcades, and a Wimpy restaurant, alongside a number of classic fairground rides and a crazy golf course.

Visit Southsea Model Village

Southsea Model Village will be open all spring and summer with events including falconry, Silly Scott, and the Lovely Bubbly Bubble Show - which is back this weekend. You can follow the latest updates on the Southsea Model Village Facebook page.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Visit Canoe Lake

A stone's throw from the Southsea seafront and South Parade pier, Canoe Lake is a great place to visit for a stroll, a picnic or a ride on it's popular swan pedalo boats.

Visit Southsea Castle

Follow in the footsteps of King Henry VIII by visiting Southsea Castle, the spot from which he is said to have watched The Mary Rose sink in 1545 during the Battle of the Solent. The castle’s ramparts are open to the public between April and October.

The D-Day Story, Southsea

The D-Day Story museum in Southsea tells the story of Operation Overlord and the D-Day landings. Find out more here.

D-Day Firepower Weekend at Fort Nelson - Saturday June 1 and Sunday June 2

Kicking off the week of spectacular commemorative events, Fort Nelson on Portsdown Hill will invite visitors to see “Second World War artillery displays, re-enactors and military vehicles, as well as contemporary music from singing duo Perfect Vintage.” Also taking place at the fort - home to much of the Royal Armouries collection - will be children’s activities, face painting, search and rescue dog demonstrations, Second World War reenactors and more. You can find all the details for this here.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.