5 unique things to do in Portsmouth - without breaking the bank

The days are getting longer, but we’re still not quite ready to spend our weekends lounging on the beach just yet. 

Portsmouth has a great restaurant and bar scene, but for those who don’t want - or can’t afford - to spend all day eating and drinking their way along Albert Road, there’s still plenty of fun to be had inside without breaking the bank.

Here are 5 of our top indoor activities to do while we wait for spring to get going: all within walking distance of campus.

1. Learn a new board game 

Dice board games lounge on Albert Road in Southsea mixes the best parts of a café (amazing sandwiches), the best bits of a bar (great selection of craft beer and cocktails) with a huge selection of hundreds of different board games.

Forget Monopoly, Cluedo and Risk - modern board games offer something for everyone:

  • party games like Obama Llama are great for large groups of friends and perfect for a birthday party
  • social deduction and bluffing games like One Night Werewolf and Skull give you a chance to see if you can trick or suss out your mates
  • some games need your creativity or have stunning artwork you can admire like Mysterium, Azul or Wingspan
  • games for two, like Raptor or Jaipur make for a fun date night
Board game at Dice

Takenoko is a fun easy-to-learn game where you try grow a bamboo garden - but watch out for that hungry panda!

You don’t even need to be a board game expert - the staff can recommend you a new game based on what you like, and will talk you through the rules.

Dice also hosts Social Board Gaming nights every Wednesday night, where anyone can turn up to learn and play new games, and meet new people.

Price: £4 per person for students (£5 a person otherwise)
Location: Dice board game lounge, 149 Albert Rd, Southsea, PO4 0JW

2. Make a mug or plant pot

Paint your own pottery in a fun and relaxed environment where you can let loose your creative side. Based on the quirky Castle Road, Arty Potz has a large selection of pottery pieces and paint colours to choose from, so you can really create something unique. 

Once you’ve finished creating, you can leave your pottery in the studio for glazing, and it’ll be ready to pick up within 7-10 days. 

Arty Potz does get busy so calling ahead to reserve a table is definitely recommended.

Price: from £4.75 per person
Location: Arty Potz, 87 Castle Rd, Southsea, PO5 3AY

3. See an arthouse film at Portsmouth’s secret cinema

No.6 Cinema is a hidden gem of the Portsmouth film scene, showing the latest releases of the best in world cinema, and mixing it up with some classic movie titles and thought-provoking documentaries. 

There’s also a well-stocked bar serving wine, beer, soft drinks and snacks, perfect for a quick catch up with friends before the film, or to take into the screening.

The 275-seat auditorium is tucked away in a beautiful old building within Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard near Gunwharf Quays. 

Remember to take your University ID card as the cinema does not accept NUS Extra student cards.

Screen at No.6 cinema

No.6's screen is one of the biggest on the south coast.

Price: Under 25s pay £5 a ticket, and a student (concession) ticket is £7.50
Location: No.6 Cinema, Boathouse 6, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth, PO1 3LJ

4. Relive nostalgic video games

Game Over is Portsmouth’s only video game cafe, located on Old Portsmouth’s High Street less than five minutes’ walk from campus. 

You can game to your heart’s content in an incredibly-decorated basement allowing you to block out all distractions - and sunlight - for the entirety of your gaming session.

Game Over has every single retro game and console that you can imagine, from the Vectrex to the Game Cube, from Playstation 1 to Pong on the Binatone TV Master IV. 

Retro gaming

Relive the 80s, 90s and 00s with retro games consoles

Price: a two-hour session costs £5 per person
Location: Game Over, 16 High St, Old Portsmouth, PO1 2LP

5. Beat the clock at one of the city’s escape rooms

Find clues, solve puzzles and complete the objective with your team before the time runs out. There are a couple of options in Portsmouth with challenging and fun escape experiences.

Set up by a former Portsmouth student, Other World Escapes offers in-game characters, beautiful set design and sensory experiences, providing fully immersive, interactive and thrilling escape room experience.

With five rooms to choose from, and a sixth due to open later this year, you can try to escape from a pub, chip shop, and even Santa’s grotto!

Cracking clues at an escape room

You'll need to use your investigation skills to crack the clues in an escape room.

Price: from £20 per person, with virtual experiences costing £20 per team
Location: Other World Escapes, 239 - 241 Commercial Rd, Portsmouth, PO1 4BJ