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Colloquially known as the ‘Great Waterfront City’, Portsmouth attracts excellent numbers of holiday-makers and students all year round, and for a good reason. With its rich maritime history, museums showcasing the D-day story and world-famous beaches, students at Portsmouth University are never at a loss for exciting activities.
Irrespective of where you have come from, there are certain parts of student life at Portsmouth University that are classified as must-dos before students don the square cap.
In no particular order, our writers at Edvoy HQ have listed five important activities.
5. Sample the Nightlife
‘Popworld Portsmouth’ is open four days a week, with their stand-out student night filling a Wednesday evening with dancefloor fillers.
Prizm is another nightlife highlight that has attracted students for years: the nightclub recently launched the popular ‘Is It Thursday?’ night to offer students three separate dance floors with musical divisions fusing with a unanimous sense of all-out fun.
If you prefer a slightly more subdued atmosphere with a mojito in hand, The Astoria is a multi-floor venue with a refined charm and plenty of choices regarding the tempo of the evening. Students can choose between chatting on the balcony or enjoying the vast dancefloor space to enjoy drum, bass, pop, dance, or disco.
For a slower pace packed with plenty of cultures, students often enjoy the live music events performed at the Wedgewood Rooms.
There is something for all Portsmouth University students!
To verify the far-reaching reputation of a night on the cobbles, students from a rival institution Southampton University often travel to Portsmouth to sample the famous nightlife!
4. Take the Ferry to the Isle of Wight
As a major port city, taking advantage of the short ferry journey to the Isle of Wight just makes sense. The Isle of Wight is a small island located off the coast of Portsmouth that is home to a famous music festival of the same name every year.
In just 45 minutes or less, students can take a ferry ride across the Solent as they enjoy picturesque views of crystal blue water and arrive on the Isle of Wight to soak up the generous Southern England sunshine.
Once students land on the island, there are plenty of attractions and activities to enjoy, from exploring the historic town of Cowes to hiking along the coastal paths or relaxing on the sandy beaches.
The ferry services run year-round, making visiting the Isle of Wight at any time of year easy.
One of the most popular attractions on the Isle of Wight is The Needles, a series of chalk stacks that rise out of the sea at the western end of the island. Students can take a chairlift to the top of the cliffs for a stunning view of the stacks and the surrounding coastline.
The island also has several historic sites, including Carisbrooke Castle, a mediaeval castle that was once the prison of King Charles I, and Osborne House, a former royal residence that was once home to Queen Victoria.
For those who prefer outdoor activities, the island has miles of hiking and cycling trails, including the Tennyson Trail, which offers panoramic views of the island's scenic countryside.
3. Explore Naval & Literary Legacies
Portsmouth boasts of an impressive naval history and strong literary legacy! Students of all disciplines enjoy exploring the area's history, with destinations like The Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum providing ample entertainment. Charles Dickens is one of the most celebrated British authors. His novella, A Christmas Carol is known worldwide due to the numerous interpretations in film, stage play and other stories. Literature students often opt to join in with the birthday celebrations outside the museum each year.
Students are particularly pleased to learn that legendary English author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote his first Sherlock Holmes novel in Portsmouth too!
Other authors who have infamous Portsmouth connections include Jane Austen, known most widely for penning Pride & Prejudice, war poet Rudyard Kipling and H.G. Wells, author of War of the Worlds.
Portsmouth is Britain’s premier naval base: home to almost two-thirds of the Royal Navy's surface ships, the town holds flagship aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince Of Wales.
The Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth is a world-renowned attraction and a student must-do, providing a fun glimpse into the city's naval past. Here, interactive activities allow students to explore the HMS Victory - Admiral Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar, the Mary Rose Museum and the National Museum of the Royal Navy.
The Harbour Tour and Action Stations are fantastic for students. The latter takes you through what it would be like to be in the Royal Navy via a climbing wall, simulators, and other activities that simulate life at sea.
2. Sample the Music Scene
The Victorious Festival is a three-day music festival held on the Southsea seafront. It features a range of top-name acts from the world of music and local talent, comedy acts, and street performers.
Famous names graced the festival stage include Sam Fender, Kasabian and Ellie Goulding. Located just a short taxi ride from the Portsmouth University campus, it's a hive of young people letting their hair down when it returns every summer.
Music history has been made at Portsmouth University many times, with the famous Guildhall venue hosting many legendary bands, including The Beatles, Stevie Wonder and Bob Dylan.
The Portsmouth University campus music scene is similarly thriving today, with unsigned bands given a chance to perform and music societies using the space to regularly organise events. Pie and Vinyl is a quirky music venue where students can enjoy freshly made British cuisine with vinyl records playing in the background.
1. Southsea Beach
Portsmouth University is routinely ranked in the top 40 for student satisfaction. The wealth of activities on offer contributes towards students recommending the University to their friends, but the close availability of beaches is often cited as a primary motivator of students applying to the University.
A 10 minute walk from Portsmouth University campus, Southsea beach is often cited by students as a great spot in which to relax after a morning of lectures. It has a promenade, pier, amusement park, and numerous eateries to provide plenty of student entertainment.
The promenade is three miles long and stretches from Old Portsmouth to Eastney Beach to provide students with plenty of chances to watch the sunset with revision books - or a beer, in hand.
The South Parade Pier and Clarence Pier are located on Southsea Beach, with bowling, arcade games, and an amusement park providing some light relief that appeals to your inner child just as much as your student experience. The beach is also dog-friendly, so students enjoy spotting their favourite breeds as they unwind with some al fresco lunch in a good spot near the water.
Record numbers of young people are reported to experience mental health problems such as anxiety and depression compared to previous generations. Fortunately, more information about how to look after your mental wellbeing is available than ever before, with spending time near the sea cited as highly beneficial.
Gen Z are more aware of their mental health than previous generations, so students actively seeking to protect their inner peace are often attracted to the coastal city of Portsmouth for their studies.
Get impartial advice on your study abroad journey
Portsmouth is a well-rounded UK island city routinely voted in the top 10 places to live in the UK. See first-hand what the international student experience at Portsmouth University is like with this webinar that goes into depth, or check out the wider Edvoy YouTube channel for advice on everything from students visa applications to scholarships and beyond.
If you are tempted to learn more about how your eligibility matches Portsmouth University’s admission criteria, start a conversation with a friendly Edvoy counsellor and download the app today. The process is easy, and the advice you receive is impartial because Edvoy believes in empowering students to make informed decisions about their education.