The Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth

Second-year student, Leah Lewis, shares her favourite things to do in Portsmouth in the summer.

  • 03 August 2021
  • 5 min read

Portsmouth is a booming seaside city with so much to do, especially in the summer! Apart from obviously going to the seaside, I have compiled a list of my top recommendations for you this summer.

If you aren’t living in Portsmouth, hopefully my eight must-do’s this summer might make you come and pay us visit!

Sunset Open Air Movie Nights

Portsmouth is lucky enough this year to see the return of the film society for their sixth season of drive-in movie nights. If you fancy living your ‘Grease' like fantasies, this is a perfect way to hang out with friends/family in a COVID-19 safe environment, watching some of your favourite classics. Tickets are £6 for students and the events are taking place until the 8th August.

Last time I went I was able to cosy up to my friends with our fluffy blankets and enjoy the atmosphere of the crowd reacting to the movie.

Movies including Jurassic Park, Dirty Dancing and Bohemian Rhapsody will all be featured in 2021.

Victorious Festival 

Victorious Festival is our biggest festival here in Portsmouth, happening on the August bank holiday. We are lucky enough that it is right on our doorstep at Southsea common, making it something you definitely don’t want to miss!

Headliners in 2021 will include: Madness, The Kooks, Craig David and Supergrass.

Craig David is especially the act I’m most excited to watch again! He has so much energy dancing across the whole stage and last time I saw him he had everyone bopping along to his old school garage classics.

Weekend camping from £140 but day tickets are as little as £35.

Woman on top of crowd

Art Galleries

CALLING ALL ARTISTS! Portsmouth is lucky enough to host a great deal of art exhibitions this summer. The best part – some are free! My personal favourite is the Interactive Weaves exhibition taking place at the hot walls. Supporting artists are giving complimentary workshops in life-painting ships, painting found items from the beach, and making ceramic embellishments to decorate the woven artworks.

The project is led by Alice Hume with each weave centred around a given theme. All woven artworks will be displayed in an exhibition in the Round Tower in September, so I highly recommend getting involved. Twice a month you will be able to get involved with the next opportunities on 18 and 25 July. 

Sausage and Cider Festival

Do you like cider? Do you like sausages? Who can think of a better, more unique combination! 

Luckily for us, the amazing food festival that is Sausage and Cider Fest arrives back in Portsmouth for another year. This festival will be bringing some of the best ciders and flavoursome sausages from all around the world! I know I’m personally looking forward to another jug of cider the size of my head. The event is taking place on Saturday 21 August and tickets are going quick. 

Abseil down Spinnaker Tower

The Spinnaker Tower is one of Portsmouth’s greatest attractions with the best view of Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. Can you imagine that incredible view on a warm summer’s day? Now try to imagine it whilst abseiling down it!

The drop is 100 metres down the side making it a real thrilling experience – not for the faint hearted. My friend Fe has done it and said it takes proper courage to go over the edge, but then the feeling of the wind and the view is “insane”. It certainly is on my bucket list this summer. 

Hire a paddle board/kayak

I feel like this has to be a summer must-do on the coast. What a better way to enjoy the sea and the view of the coast without getting particularly wet? You can hire a paddle board or kayak from many places in Portsmouth, one option is the Sanctuary Water Sports centre in Southsea.

When I went paddle boarding, I was very grateful for Portsmouth’s calmer sea as balance is not one of my strong skills. It is certainly a laugh trying to watch all your friends stand up on them though. 

Person paddleboarding in the sea
People kayaking in the sea

Portsmouth International Kite Festival

This Kite Festival the type of thing you need to go and google ASAP, it looks amazing! A spectacle of creatures flying in the air is sure to make you feel nostalgic this summer. I never was any good at flying a kite, so watching hundreds of people flying ones 10x the size of me is something I need to see.

The event is taking place on the common on the 6 and 7 of July and this year marks their 30th year anniversary so be sure not to miss out! The best part is it is completely free. 

Gigs at the Gaiety bar

If you are like me and love to attend small, intimate gigs with your favourite type of music, then you must check out the Gaiety bar! Over the summer they are hosting events such as the Bob Marley experience and Abba tribute to allow you to dance the night away. They are even expected to host many indie bands over the summer.

I already have my tickets booked to see Easy Life – they're also signing Vinyls to celebrate their new album and I cannot wait! If you are a fan of bottomless brunches, they also do themed ones such as their popular Greatest Showman bottomless brunch, making the Gaiety bar my personal favourite must-do. 

Bonus: If you are ever down the seaside perhaps consider heading over to the free (SANDY) volleyball courts! 


Leah Lewis is a second-year student studying BA (Hons) International Business in the Faculty of Business and Law at Portsmouth.

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