121km (75 miles) SW of London; 31km (19 miles) SE of Southampton
Virginia, New Hampshire, and Ohio may each have a Portsmouth, but the forerunner of them all is the old port and naval base on the Hampshire coast, seat of the British Navy for 500 years. German bombers in World War II leveled the city, hitting about 90% of its buildings. But the seaport was rebuilt admirably and now aggressively promotes its military attractions. It draws visitors interested in the nautical history of England as well as World War II buffs.
Its maritime associations are known around the world. From Sally Port, the most interesting district in the Old Town, countless naval heroes have embarked to fight England's battles, including on June 6, 1944, when Allied troops set sail to invade occupied France.
Southsea, adjoining Portsmouth, is a popular seaside resort with fine sands, lush gardens, bright lights, and a host of vacation attractions. Many historic monuments are along the stretches of open space, where you can walk on the Clarence Esplanade, look out on the Solent Channel, and view the busy shipping activities of Portsmouth Harbour.