So, you’ve decided to start your cruise from Portsmouth Port – great choice! In this article, you’ll get the lowdown on everything you need to know to ensure your trip begins without a hitch. We’ll cover handy tips on getting to the port, parking options, and some great places to grab a bite before you set sail. Let’s dive right in!

4 older people in casual clothes walking around Portsmouth Port

Explore the Port by foot

Before you head off on your cruise, take some time to check out the port area. Portsmouth is packed with interesting spots just a short walk away from the cruise terminal:

  • Historic Dockyard: If you’re into history, this place is a must-see. You can explore the HMS Victory, the Mary Rose Museum, and the HMS Warrior. You’ll get a real sense of the UK’s naval history, and it’s a great way to spend a few hours. It’s about a 15-minute walk from the cruise terminal.

  • Gunwharf Quays: Just a 10-minute walk from the port, Gunwharf Quays is great for some last-minute shopping or grabbing a bite to eat. There are loads of outlet shops, from big brands to local stores. When you’re ready for a break, you’ve got plenty of cafes, pubs, and restaurants to choose from.

  • Spinnaker Tower: For amazing views of Portsmouth and the Solent, head up the Spinnaker Tower. It’s 170 metres tall and has three viewing decks, including one with a glass floor. It’s a fun spot for some cool photos. The tower is about a 10-minute walk from the cruise terminal.

  • Old Portsmouth: Take a stroll through Old Portsmouth, with its historic buildings and cosy pubs. The area around Spice Island is especially nice, with great views over the harbour and lots of places to relax and watch the boats. It’s around a 20-minute walk from the cruise terminal.

  • Portsmouth Cathedral: If you’re into architecture or just looking for a quiet spot, check out Portsmouth Cathedral. It’s got a mix of old and new styles and is right in the heart of Old Portsmouth. The cathedral is also about a 20-minute walk from the cruise terminal.

Couple talking to the conductor with a train arriving at Portsmouth Station station.

How to get to Portsmouth: By Air, Rail or Car

When planning your trip for your cruise from Portsmouth, there are several easy ways to get to the port:

By Air

If you’re flying in, the closest airport is Southampton Airport (SOU), about a 30-minute drive from Portsmouth. You can also fly into London Heathrow (LHR) or Gatwick (LGW), which are around 90 minutes away by car. From the airport, you can rent a car, grab a taxi, or hop on public transport to reach Portsmouth.

By Rail

Portsmouth is well-connected by train, making it easy to reach from different parts of the UK. There are direct trains from London Waterloo and London Victoria, taking about 90 minutes. If you’re coming from further away, you might need to change trains in London. The main stations in Portsmouth are Portsmouth Harbour and Portsmouth & Southsea, both a short taxi ride or a 20-30 minute walk from the cruise terminal.

By Car

Driving to the port is straightforward, with Portsmouth being easily accessible via the M27 and A3 motorways. If you’re using a GPS, enter the postcode PO1 3LT for the cruise terminal. There are several parking options near the port, including long-stay car parks where you can leave your car for the duration of your cruise. It’s a good idea to pre-book parking, especially during busy times.

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Family waiting at the cruise ship terminal at Portsmouth Port

Port Tips: What You Need to Know

Arrive Early

Try to get to the port early. It gives you plenty of time to check in, go through security, and board the ship without any rush. Plus, if you’ve got some spare time, you can explore the nearby attractions. We always recommend arriving the day before just in case. The usual check-in time is 3 hours before the ship’s departure time.

Cruise Terminal Amenities

The Portsmouth cruise terminal has a few handy amenities to make your wait more comfortable. You’ll find seating areas, restrooms, and places to grab some food and drinks. There are also shops for any last-minute essentials or souvenirs you might need. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the terminal.

Local Transport

If you need to get around, there are taxis right outside the terminal. The local bus service is also pretty good, with stops near the port to take you around the city. For more flexibility, you might consider renting a bike or using ride-sharing apps like Uber.

Getting from the Cruise Ship Terminal into Portsmouth Town

Walking from the cruise ship terminal into Portsmouth town takes about 10-15 minutes.

Taking the Ferry

If you’re coming from the Gosport area, you can take the Gosport Ferry, which runs regularly and connects Gosport to Portsmouth Harbour. The ferry ride takes about 5 minutes, and from Portsmouth Harbour, it’s a short taxi ride or a 20-30 minute walk to the cruise terminal. 

Cruise ships leaving Portsmouth

Cruises from Portsmouth

Cruise LineCruises from Portsmouth in 2025Cruise NameDestinationsDeparture Date
Virgin VoyagesYesMultiple itinerariesIceland, Norway, Zeebrugge (Bruges)Various dates in 2025
Swan HellenicYesSpirit of the CeltsScottish HighlandsMay 21, 2025
AzamaraYes11-Night Ireland Intensive VoyagePortsmouth, Donegal, Galway, Foynes, Bantry Harbour, Cork (Cobh), Waterford, DublinJuly 5, 2025
SilverseaYesPortsmouth to DublinPortsmouth, St. Mary’s (Isles of Scilly), Kinsale, Dingle, Inisheer, Kilronan, Cliffs of Moher, Tory Island, St. Kilda, Boreray Island, Shiant Islands, Dunvegan, Inverie, Iona, Lunga, Belfast, DublinMay 19, 2025
SilverseaYesPortsmouth to Edinburgh (Leith)Portsmouth, Tresco, Glengariff, Skellig Islands, Dingle, Inisheer, Kilronan, Killybegs, Londonderry, Iona, Lunga, Inverie, St. Kilda, Boreray Island, Shiant Islands, Isle of May, EdinburghMay 13, 2025
Crystal CruisesYesPortsmouth to CopenhagenPortsmouth, Zeebrugge (Bruges), Amsterdam, Kiel Canal, CopenhagenJune 22, 2025
Fred. OlsenYesIsland-Hopping in the CaribbeanPortsmouth, Caribbean islandsJanuary 4, 2025
Fred. OlsenYesFairytale Castles & Old Towns of the BalticPortsmouth, Warnemünde, Tallinn, Helsinki, Turku, Riga, CopenhagenDecember 8, 2025
Fred. OlsenYes10-Night Northern Lights CruisePortsmouth, Narvik, BodøVarious dates in 2025
Hapag-LloydYesHamburg to Hamburg (via Portsmouth)Portsmouth, Newhaven, Aberdeen, Kirkwall, Ullapool, Oban, Londonderry, Galway, Dingle, Bantry, Kinsale, Isles of Scilly, Fowey, HamburgJuly 16, 2025 – August 1, 2025
Noble CaledoniaYesIslands on the EdgePortsmouth, Guernsey, Herm, Tresco, St Martin’s, Lundy Island, Skomer Island, Rathlin Island, Staffa, Iona, Canna, Loch Scavaig, St Kilda, Stac Lee, Foula, Lerwick, Fair Isle, AberdeenMay 16, 2025
Noble CaledoniaYesBritain & Ireland OdysseyPortsmouth, Guernsey, Tresco, St Martin’s, Cape Clear, Mizen Head, Skellig Islands, Killybegs, Iona, Lunga, St Kilda, Stac Lee, Scrabster, AberdeenJune 11, 2025
Phoenix ReisenYesRund um Großbritannien mit MS ArtaniaBremerhaven, Port of Tyne (Newcastle), Rosyth (Edinburgh), Invergordon, Greenock (Glasgow), Belfast, Liverpool, Cobh (Cork), Portsmouth, BremerhavenOctober 6, 2025 – October 19, 2025
PonantYesBritish ArchipelagoPortsmouth, Guernsey, Isles of Scilly, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Scotland, LiverpoolApril 24, 2025 – May 4, 2025
Viking CruisesYesTrade Routes of the Middle AgesPortsmouth, Falmouth, Porto, Málaga, Cartagena, BarcelonaVarious dates in 2025
Norwegian Cruise LineYesVarious ItinerariesPortsmouth, various European destinationsVarious dates in 2025
Plantours KreuzfahrtenYesSouth England & Channel IslandsPortsmouth, various ports in the UK and Channel IslandsJuly 1, 2025
Poseidon ExpeditionsYesBritish Isles ExpeditionPortsmouth, Llandudno (Wales), Portrush (Northern Ireland), Kirkwall (Orkney, Scotland), Isles of ScillyMay 6, 2025 – May 18, 2025
The Ritz-Carlton Yacht CollectionYesLisbon to PortsmouthLisbon, Porto, La Coruña, Gijón, Bilbao, Bordeaux, PortsmouthJune 29, 2025
SeabournYes28-Day Iberian Coast & Jewels Of The British IslesPortsmouth, various ports in the UK and EuropeMay 31, 2025
Brittany FerriesYesPortsmouth to BilbaoPortsmouth, BilbaoVarious dates in 2025
Brittany FerriesYesPortsmouth to St MaloPortsmouth, St MaloVarious dates in 2025
Brittany FerriesYesPortsmouth to SantanderPortsmouth, SantanderVarious dates in 2025

🛳️ Pro Tip: Hotwalls Studios

I loved visiting the Hotwalls Studios in Old Portsmouth. These converted artillery barracks now house artists’ studios where you can watch local artists at work and even buy unique pieces directly from them. It’s a great way to bring home a truly one-of-a-kind souvenir.

People on a tour in a cathedral in Portsmouth

Things to Do in Portsmouth for a Day

If you have a day to spend in Portsmouth before or after your cruise, there are plenty of fun things to see and do. You can also do a city tour to really pack in the best of Portsmouth.

Historic Dockyard

Check out Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard. You can explore the legendary HMS Victory, the fascinating Mary Rose Museum, and the impressive HMS Warrior. It’s a great way to dive into the area’s maritime history and spend a few hours.

Gunwharf Quays

Head over to Gunwharf Quays for some shopping and dining. This lively spot has everything from high-end brands to quirky local shops. When you’re done shopping, relax at one of the many restaurants, cafes, or bars with a lovely view of the harbour.

Spinnaker Tower

For some of the best views in the city, visit the Spinnaker Tower. This 170-metre-tall structure has three viewing decks, including one with a glass floor. It’s a thrill to look down at the city beneath your feet and a great spot for memorable photos.

Old Portsmouth

Take a walk through the charming streets of Old Portsmouth. Discover historic buildings, pop into cosy pubs, and enjoy the atmosphere. The Spice Island area offers lovely views over the harbour and is perfect for a leisurely stroll.

Portsmouth Cathedral

Escape the hustle and bustle with a visit to Portsmouth Cathedral. This beautiful building, with its mix of Gothic and modern architecture, is a peaceful place to relax and reflect.

Southsea

Head to Southsea for a mix of culture and relaxation. Visit the D-Day Museum to learn about World War II history, enjoy a walk along the seafront, or unwind in Southsea Common. With plenty of shops, cafes, and restaurants, there’s something for everyone.

Museums and Galleries

Portsmouth has several interesting museums and galleries. Check out the Charles Dickens’ Birthplace Museum to learn about the famous author, explore the Royal Navy Submarine Museum for an underwater adventure, or visit the Portsmouth City Museum for a mix of art and history.

Scenic Walks Under 2 Hours

  • Southsea Seafront to Eastney: Start at South Parade Pier and walk along the scenic seafront towards Eastney Beach. Enjoy the fresh sea air and the beautiful views. This walk takes about 1.5 hours and is perfect for a relaxing morning or afternoon.
  • Old Portsmouth and Spice Island: Begin at Portsmouth Cathedral, wander through the historic streets of Old Portsmouth, and head towards Spice Island. This walk offers lovely harbour views and historic sights and takes about an hour.
  • Hilsea Lines: Start at the Hilsea Lido and explore the Hilsea Lines, a series of historic fortifications with nature trails and wildlife. This circular walk takes about 1.5 hours and provides a peaceful escape with plenty of greenery and history.

🛳️ Pro Tip: Local Markets

I love visiting the Southsea Market on Palmerston Road. It’s open most Saturdays and some Sundays too. It’s a fantastic spot to pick up fresh local produce, artisanal goods, and unique souvenirs before your cruise.

Couple checking in at the front desk in the Holiday Inn Hotel in Portsmouth

Best Place to Stay Close to the Port

If you’re looking for a place to stay near the Portsmouth cruise port, here are some great options:

The Holiday Inn Express Portsmouth – Gunwharf Quays

Located right in Gunwharf Quays, this hotel is perfect if you want to be close to shopping, dining, and entertainment. It’s just a short walk to the cruise terminal, making it super convenient.

Ibis Portsmouth Centre

This budget-friendly hotel is centrally located and offers comfortable rooms at a good price. It’s a 10-minute drive or a 20-minute walk to the cruise terminal. Plus, you’re close to shops, restaurants, and attractions like the Portsmouth Guildhall.

The Queens Hotel

For a bit of luxury, stay at The Queens Hotel in Southsea. It’s a beautiful historic building with lovely views over Southsea Common and the seafront. The cruise terminal is about a 10-minute drive away, and you can enjoy the hotel’s stylish rooms and excellent restaurant.

The Ship Leopard Boutique Hotel

This boutique hotel is right across from Portsmouth Harbour. It’s a charming spot with modern rooms and is only a 5-minute walk to the cruise terminal. You’ll also be close to the Historic Dockyard and Gunwharf Quays.

The Royal Maritime Hotel

Located near the Historic Dockyard, The Royal Maritime Hotel is a classic choice with a rich maritime history. It offers comfortable rooms, a great breakfast, and is just a 5-minute walk to the cruise terminal. The hotel’s nautical theme and amenities like a pool and gym make it a solid option.

Couple in a restaruant in Portsmouth near the cruise terminal

Restaurants & Cafes Within Walking Distance of the Port

If you’re looking for a bite to eat near the Portsmouth cruise port, here are our recommendations after trying many others, these are the best:

The Abarbistro

Just a 15-minute walk from the port, The Abarbistro in Old Portsmouth is a great spot for seafood lovers. They offer fresh, locally sourced dishes with meals costing around £15-£25. The restaurant also has a lovely outdoor seating area with views of the harbour.

The Spice Island Inn

A classic pub in Old Portsmouth, The Spice Island Inn is about a 20-minute walk from the port. It’s perfect for a hearty meal and a pint, with beautiful views over the harbour. Expect to spend around £10-£15 per meal.

Southsea Coffee Co.

If you fancy a bit of a walk, head to Southsea Coffee Co., about 25 minutes from the port. This independent café is known for its excellent coffee, delicious breakfast options, and friendly atmosphere. Prices range from £5-£10.

Tap & Tandoor

Located in Gunwharf Quays, Tap & Tandoor has a fusion of traditional Indian cuisine and modern pub food. Meals cost around £10-£20. It’s only a 10-minute walk from the cruise terminal, making it a convenient and tasty option.

All Bar One Portsmouth

Situated in Gunwharf Quays, All Bar One is a stylish bar and restaurant offering a range of cocktails, wines, and an eclectic menu of international dishes. Meals are typically priced around £10-£20. It’s about a 10-minute walk from the cruise terminal, perfect for a relaxed meal or drink.

Carluccio’s

Also located in Gunwharf Quays, Carluccio’s serves up delicious Italian cuisine. From pasta to pastries, you can enjoy a meal for around £10-£20. It’s just a 10-minute walk from the cruise terminal, making it an ideal spot for a pre- or post-cruise meal.

Let us wade through the 1000’s of cruises for you!

Jo, our cruise travel agent will personally search for the right cruise for you.