Sport in Portsmouth
Life outside study
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
- Fitness classes, courses and workshops, led by our skilled fitness staff – including cardio cycling, yoga fitness, cardio conditioning and pilates
- Indoor sports halls and courts where you can play volleyball, badminton, tennis, squash and more
- Outdoor courts and pitches for sports including football, rugby, netball and tennis
- Ravelin Sports Centre opening in 2022, will offer an 8 lane swimming pool, 175 station gym, climbing wall and ski simulator
Ravelin Sports Centre
From 2022, you'll be able to use our £57 million indoor sports centre. Ravelin will be one of the UK’s greenest sports centres, designed to inspire you to reach your potential and achieve your personal best.
You'll be able to use facilities such as:
- the 8-lane swimming pool – with views from the pool of the natural green spaces outside, creating the feeling of open-air swimming in the park
- an extensive gym with 175 fitness stations – including top of the range Technogym equipment
- 3 multi-purpose studios – delivering Les Mills classes
- a climbing wall with bouldering facility – rising up through the centre of the building, from basement to roof
- a virtual ski simulator
- sauna and steam rooms
- café and social spaces – including a community orchard and wildflower amphitheatre
Gym membership for students
You can get an all-inclusive Student Health and Fitness Membership from only £15 a month.
Alternatively be the first on the start line with our Ultimate 50/50 membership, which gives you unbeatable value. If you sign up for an Ultimate Student Membership for Ravelin Sports Centre (£22.50 per month upon opening mid-December) you'll get 50% of St. Paul's Gym membership (paying only £7.50 per month) and £50 off any sports club membership. Your membership for Ravelin Sports Centre will be ready to go when the doors open, and you'll be invited to VIP events before we open.
With a gym membership, you can access all our gym equipment, instructor-led and virtual fitness classes each 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.
St Paul's Gym
St Paul's Gym has free weights, cardio machines, resistance machines, functional equipment and a sports hall.
Our sports teams regularly take part in leagues and competitions against other universities. Most of our larger clubs compete every week.
We have over 35 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.
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.
Here are some of the sports clubs you can join at Portsmouth:
- American football
- Break dancing
- Cuban Salsa Society
- Mountaineering and climbing
- Scuba diving
- Ultimate frisbee
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 previous Sports Scholars
- Lauren Steadman, Para-Triathlete – 4x paralympian (competing at London 2012, winning silver at Rio 2016 and Gold at Tokyo 2020), 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.
If you receive a sports scholarship, you'll get free access to:
- 1-to-1 Strength and conditioning sessions
- Expert sports nutrition advice
- Free gym membership and access to facilities
- Free physio and sports massage
- Media promotion and experience
- Expert sports psychology advice
- BUCS affiliation for your sports club
- Regular 1-to-1 mentoring
- Academic support and flexibility
- Lifestyle support
- University of Portsmouth branded sports kit
You can apply before you join us – visit our Sports Scholarship Scheme page to find out more.
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.
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.
Portsmouth's ready to welcome you
Things are getting back to normal in the city, but some places still have their own covid restrictions. So it's best to check directly with businesses to confirm what activities and services are available.
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.
Ravelin Sports Centre, opening mid-December 2021 includes the University's own swimming pool. This is where the swimming club will train throughout the week. You can swim as part of your core, super or ultimate membership or simply pay as you go. You can swim in lanes, take part in aqua classes, take some lessons to improve your swimming, and try activities such as water polo.
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.
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.
Joining one of our student sports clubs or societies 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.
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