Portsmouth FC celebrate a goal in University of Portsmouth-sponsored kit

Sport in the city

Into playing or watching sport? Get on your bike (or boat or board) to Portsmouth

Portsmouth is a great city for sport.

Surrounded by the sea and the South Downs national park, the city is an ideal location for sailing, scuba diving, kite surfing and other water sports. It's a great location for outdoor sports like mountain biking, orienteering, triathlons and running, and we're home to more than 40 sports teams – ranging from football to Quidditch. (Our Sport at Portsmouth site has even more to discover.)

Whether you're an elite athlete, keen on a weekly Parkrun or looking to enhance your social life, there's something for you in Portsmouth.

Sport on campus

Sport and fitness facilities

  • A 125-station gym with free weights, functional equipment, resistance machines and cardio machines
  • A sports centre with cardio and multi-use studio spaces, boxing bags, treadmills and free weights
  • Over 70 fitness classes per week in term time, plus courses and workshops. All led by our skilled fitness staff
  • 2 indoor sports halls, including courts and pitches where you can play anything from badminton to volleyball
  • Outdoor courts and pitches for sports including football, rugby, netball and tennis
  • Ravelin Sports Centre opening in 2021, will offer superb facilities that include a 8 lane swimming pool, 175 station gym, climbing wall and ski simulator.
Student guide to sports facilities

The university promotes a healthy lifestyle, and over the past few years it's invested over two million pounds in our sports and recreational facilities like 3G pitches, squash courts, sports halls, tennis courts, even a hundred plus station gym. And these are located across three different sites within the city. So the Southern Langstone campus and then also St Paul's Gym and Spinnaker Sports Center. There are also a number of sports events and sports leagues that you can get involved with all year round and more information on that can be found on the website.

Gym membership for students

You can get an all-inclusive Student Health and Fitness Membership from only £9 a month. This is unbeatable value. You can exercise your own way with a Flex or Fixed Digital, Physical or Complete membership options to suit any budget or fitness need.

With gym membership, you can access all our gym equipment, over 70 instructor-led and virtual fitness classes a week, and unlimited racket sport bookings. Whether you're competing at the highest level of sport, want to improve your fitness, or are just looking to let off steam during your studies, our student gym membership has got you covered. 


Competitive sport

Our sports teams regularly take part in leagues and competitions against other universities. Most of our larger clubs compete every week.

We have 26 competitive teams, including rugby, football, hockey and netball. If you get picked for a team, you could represent the University in British Universities and Colleges Sports (BUCS) competitions.

University sports leagues

You can pit yourself against other students and staff teams in our campus leagues, including 5-a-side football, badminton and tennis.

Taking part in our leagues is a great way to stay fit and healthy while playing a sport you love, without the commitment. You can play with your friends, course mates or make new friends. The winners of our leagues get the chance to compete in Varsity against Southampton University in the Intra Cup.

Sports clubs

We have lots of sports clubs and societies you can join – the list below is a snapshot. If you don't find something you're interested in, you can set up your own club or society.

Freshers' Fair is a great place to meet club reps and find out more about teams. Or you could go to a club social to get to know your team mates better. Many club socials take place on our official student night – Purple Wednesdays.

Fancy a taster before committing to a sports club? Our Give Me Sport weekend gives you the chance to try 24 sports over 3 days.

If you're new to sport, our clubs offer full equipment and support in every session, and are a great opportunity to socialise.

  • American football
  • Archery
  • Basketball
  • Boxing
  • Break dancing
  • Cheerleading
  • Cricket
  • Cuban Salsa Society
  • Cycling
  • Fencing
  • Football
  • Mountaineering and climbing
  • Netball
  • Polo
  • Powerlifting
  • Quidditch
  • Rowing
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Taekwondo
  • Ultimate frisbee
Student Life: Varsity

Varsity happened a couple of days ago on Sunday 15th March, and it's a massive event that takes place throughout the whole day and it's where Portsmouth play against the University of Southampton in like a large variety of sports. So varsity in my eyes is the biggest day of the university year, especially for a sports club like rugby, I mean, our rivalry with Southampton is huge and we're not actually in the same league as Southampton. So we only get to play them once a year and it is huge. I know not just in rugby but in every sport is probably the biggest the year and people that don't even play sport sort of get involved with the day and use it as a sort of massive social event and a day to get behind the university. My name is Ollie O'Gorman and I'm on my third and final year of sports development at the University of Portsmouth. I'm part of men's rugby union and I'm club captain. I've been playing rugby since the age of 6, playing throughout my year's at club and school and now obviously at university. Rugby was really easy to join while joining the University of Portsmouth. You can look them up on Facebook, Twitter or on the uni website and at the university freshers fair. They're really easy to find and then from then on, it was really easy to get involved with it all. Things I enjoy most about playing rugby I guess is the fact that I'm doing something that I love and I'm doing it with my best mates. When I've left university I definitely plan on staying involved with rugby. I mean I plan on playing it for as long as my body can take it. Whether that's in a local club or for a high side, I'm not too sure yet. I guess we'll just see where it takes me bit then. Definitely be involved in the coaching side because I want to be a PE teacher, so rugby will be a large part of my decision of going into teaching. So next year I will definitely be coming back down to Portsmouth to support varsity.

Performance sport

We have a history of sporting success. We've taught athletes at the peak of their game and supported them to excel at their sports. With our high quality coaching and support, you could also achieve your sporting ambitions.

Our recent sporting graduates include:

  • Lauren Steadman, Para-Triathlete – 2x paralympian (competing at London 2012 and winning silver at Rio 2016), triple world champion and 6 time European champion in para-triathlon
  • Ben Khor, Double Trap Shooter – Delhi 2008 Commonwealth Games Bronze Medallist
  • Holly Jane Myers, Rugby Union Player – England Rugby Union and Rugby League International

Sports Scholarship Scheme

If you compete at regional or international level, you could get funding worth between £250 and £3,000 from our Sports Scholarship Scheme. Around 20 students a year receive this scholarship, regardless of nationality, year of study or academic course.

The scholarship aims to help you balance your competing and training with your studies. 

You can apply before you join us – find out more about our 

Para-Triathlete Lauren Steadman sitting in gym and facing camera

One of our Sports Scholars, Lauren Steadman, gained a first class BSc (Hons) Psychology degree from us in 2014 and a distinction in her MSc in Business and Management in 2017. All while training as a para-triathlete. 

Our previous Sports Scholars

  • Lauren Steadman, Para-Triathlete – Rio 2016 Paralympic Silver Medallist and Triple World Champion
  • Ben Khor, Double Trap Shooter – Delhi 2008 Commonwealth Games Bronze Medallist
  • Holly Jane Myers, Rugby Union Player – England Rugby Union and Rugby League International

Sport around Portsmouth

You'll have lots of opportunities to get active when you live in Portsmouth. We've got the sea and national parks on our doorstep, and several sports centres across the city.

Get active now

Portsmouth is flat, so cycling is an ideal way to get around. Whether you're going from A to B, or taking in some of the beautiful seaside scenery, riding your bike is a great way to stay active.

Whether you're interested in mountain biking or road cycling, our Cycling Club has got you covered. All levels of skill are welcome and you can get involved in a variety of cycle disciplines, including:

  • Road social
  • Road competitive
  • Trail/Enduro mountain biking
  • Downhill mountain biking
  • BMX and Street

There are several options to swim across the city and we’re not just talking about the sea. Whether you’re a short or long course swimmer, or just want to swim socially with other students, our Swimming Club has everything you’ll need. All skill levels are welcome and travel to the pool is often arranged within the club, so you don’t need to worry about finding your way there.

If you live in central Portsmouth or the north of the city, the Mountbatten Centre has Portsmouth’s only 50-metre swimming pool and teaching pool. This is where the Swimming Club train throughout the week.

On the edge of our main campus, the Charter Sports Centre has the most convenient swimming pool in the city for students living in halls of residence and nearby housing.

Eastney Swimming Pool is a convenient option for maintaining your fitness if you live in the popular student areas of Eastney, Milton or Southsea. The pool is a 20m pool. You can swim in lanes, take part in aqua classes, take lessons to improve your swimming, and do activities such as canoeing and scuba diving.

From Southsea Esplanade to Milton Common, there are lots of places to run in Portsmouth.

Portsmouth hosts many running events throughout the year including the Southsea Parkrun (which we helped fund and setup), the Great South Run, and the Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon, Marathon and 50km Ultra.

You can join a community running club or get involved in running through our Athletics Club. The club specialises in middle and long distance running, and also trains sprint. The Club competes in local, regional and national meets and runs a beginners club if you're new to the sport.

The South Downs National Park, the Isle of Wight and the New Forest are ideal locations to hike for stunning views and beautiful flora and fauna. And they're all a short distance from the city.

Or you can go on less challenging walks in the city along Southsea seafront or at Milton Locks Nature Reserve.

Whether you're already a horse rider, or want to give horse riding a go, there are lots of horse riding facilities within a 20-minute drive from the city centre.

As you'd expect from an island city on the UK's south coast, you'll have lots of opportunities to engage in water sports – from sailing around the Solent to stand-up paddleboarding along the shoreline.

Some of the UK's major water sports events take place near Portsmouth, including the Hayling Island Kitesurfing Armada Festival and Cowes Week Regatta.

Joining one of our student societies or clubs is a great way to get involved and into the water – whether you're an expert or a novice. We have clubs for sailing, rowing, kayaking, scuba diving, swimming and surfing.

Or you can get water sports training from local businesses such as the Portsmouth Watersports Centre. They offer classes in sailing, windsurfing, powerboating, paddleboarding, foiling and kayaking.


Find out more about life in Portsmouth

Take a closer look at more of the exciting things on offer in our amazing city.

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