On Saturday 18 March, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang paid a flying visit to the city of Portsmouth.
The Kings Theatre is proudly presenting a community production of the show (11 – 16 April) and to celebrate, the car came to visit some of Portsmouth’s iconic landmarks.
The car and its owners, Nicholas and Carolyn Pointing, headed over from their home on the Isle of Wight courtesy of Wightlink Ferries and landed in Gunwharf Quays in the Centre Courtyard at 8.am where the crowds had already started to arrive.
There was an overwhelmingly affectionate response to the car with people coming from far and wide to see it and to have their photos taken with this beautiful vehicle.
Members of the cast were there, including: Paul Clements and Georgia Deboise (playing Caractacus Potts and Truly Scrumptious), Cohen Bates and Ben Greenfield, (playing Jeremy Potts), and Jemima May Rees and Olaya Martinez Cambon, (playing Jemima Potts). All were in costume and posed for lots of pictures with the car and the public. There was also a whole troupe of the ensemble cast out and about amongst the public answering questions and handing out flyers.
After a stunning photo opportunity with the Spinnaker Tower, a popular and impressive Portsmouth photo backdrop, Chitty headed over to Portsmouth International Port where they were escorted to the jetty to say au revoir to Brittany Ferries Mont St Michel, much to the delight of the staff and the ferry passengers.
From there, the cast and car were welcomed by an amazing crowd that had gathered at The Queens Hotel. Caractacus Potts and Truly Scrumptious were treated to the hotel’s Chitty themed cocktails – A Toot Sweet and an Old Bamboo. They looked and tasted delicious and will be available at the hotel for pre-theatre drinks during show week. Highly recommended!
After a leisurely drive along the seafront, again much to the joy of the crowds enjoying the spring sunshine, the car arrived at the Hovercraft and lined up next to the launch area for some iconic photos of these two classic modes of transport.
And as the sun began to set, the crowd waved a fond farewell to this magical car as it headed back to Wightlink for the journey back to the island!
Watch the short film below.
Photo and video credit: Gabriel Worsley for The Kings Theatre
Having gained a wealth of experience working in hospitality at major venues across Hampshire, Paul Playford has recently been announced as the General Manager of the Queens Hotel, Portsmouth.
A former City of Portsmouth Boys School pupil, Paul began his career with major hotel brands Marriott and Hilton, where he learned the ropes and worked his way up in the kitchen, becoming Sous Chef at the Solent Hotel in Whiteley and from 2006 he was Head Chef at the Royal Beach Hotel.
Managing Director Farid Yeganeh, said: ” I have known Paul for many years and welcome his hands-on experience, attention to detail and ability to lead a team.
“He joins the Queens Hotel as we open our re-designed garden and continue our refurbishment programme.”
Looking ahead Paul said he was keen to ensure a consistent standard of service for guests and visitors to enjoy.
“My aim is to take the Queens Hotel to the next stage of her journey, to ensure she is a vibrant hotel delivering a good quality service. A happy team means guests will receive the best service and enjoy a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.
“We have a unique offering. We are an independently owned hotel in a beautiful, characterful building and we want to be recognised as offering a really good, four-star experience,” he said.
The Queens was one of the first hotels to be built in Southsea and she has been the place families have chosen to celebrate for more than 150 years.
Since 2017 £5.2m has been invested in the hotel and it is an on-going project with future plans including the creation of a spa.
Seen as being at the Heart of Southsea, this summer the Queens Hotel will be the sponsor for the massively popular Southsea Food Festival and we will also be announcing a new partnership with Portsmouth Pride.
We were delighted to be the recipients of the Freedom of the City in recognition of the work we did to support our community during the first lockdown when we cooked hundreds of meals for vulnerable people.
Head of Pastry at the Queens Hotel, Southsea Chloe Barter loves the alchemy that results from mixing simple ingredients to create mouth-watering teatime treats.
“Afternoon tea is the perfect meal. It’s fancy but not too over the top,” confided Chloe.
”It’s something you can look forward to and a great excuse to get together with friends and family.
“It’s very British and the perfect mix of sweet and savoury.”
Since she joined the team at the Queens Hotel, her afternoon tea has earned multiple plaudits and ecstatic reviews on Favourite Table and Tripadvisor. Every element of the tea is created from scratch, with only the clotted cream and jam being bought in.
“And I’m looking at making my own jam too. I love that everything is baked here and you can taste the freshness,” explained Chloe.
The Queens Hotel is sponsoring the #SouthseaFoodFestival July 16/17 and visitors to the hotel’s stand will be able to sample our ‘afternoon tea in a box’.
Chloe explained: “We wanted to give visitors to the Southsea Food Festival a taster of what our afternoon tea is all about and I’m hoping to spend some time on the stand too.”
Her passion for pastry is palpable – and when you ask her to explain, the reason becomes clear.
“I love the fact you can take simple ingredients like milk, butter and flour and depending on the way you mix them you can create so many different things – I love the variables.
“To me choux pastry is a beautiful thing – and then there’s a macaron. Simple ingredients and together they make something incredible,” she declared.
As a child growing-up she learned to love baking, largely as a result of watching her Mum create extraordinary celebration cakes for family and friends.
Skills she learned at home were further honed over three years studying at Highbury College in Portsmouth specialising in pastry, before she bagged a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work on an all-expenses paid year in America.
“It was the most extraordinary year – I spent four months in Nantucket and then the next eight months in Florida working in the restaurant of a country club.
“I really learned my trade and learned everything from bread-making and confectionery to desserts and cakes.
“We even got to do sugar-sculpting which was amazing. The display I worked on had a sea theme and I got to make a rainbow parrot fish just like the ones I saw when I went snorkelling,” she said.
Her love for baking runs so strong, Chloe even boasts a cupcake tattoo as the ultimate illustration of her love for baking.
Looking to the future, Chloe has just put the finishing touches to a festive afternoon tea offering that will take Christmas to a whole other level.
And she’s working on a strawberry custard tart that promises to be a pink perfection on the plate.
“The colour is so beautiful and it tastes sublime,” she added.
Afternoon Tea Top Tips
Chloe’s favourite Victoria Sponge recipe
8oz butter or Stork margarine
8oz caster sugar
4 medium eggs
1 teaspoon of good quality vanilla extract or paste
8oz self-raising flour
3 splashes of milk (tablespoons)
Check HERE for more information.
We just had to share more of the stunning images from Portsmouth Pride UK taken by the hugely talented Goble Photography featuring RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs The World Winner, Blu Hydrangea and The Face of Portsmouth Pride, drag queen Cherry Liquor
It was the first Portsmouth Pride event that the team at the Queens Hotel has been involved with – and we loved it.
As the official hotel for Portsmouth Pride, we loved welcoming our drag queens and drag king Brent Wouldd – and guests and visitors passing through certainly enjoyed saying hello.
Our partnership with Portsmouth Pride means we will be working closely with them to support their work throughout the year and we look forward to announcing more exciting collaborations in the months ahead.
By working with Portsmouth Pride we want to underline our commitment to being a hotel that welcomes everyone
For more details on forthcoming events follow our social media & visit our Events page.
Wow Portsmouth Pride was a truly joyful, fun and inclusive event for the city.
We were proud to be the official hotel for Portsmouth Pride as part of our new partnership and we look forward to working on lots more exciting stuff together in the coming months.
Thank you to everyone who visited our newly designed garden and enjoyed our hospitality.
A great big thank you to the Portsmouth Pride team who put on such a fantastic event, thank you to Blu Hydrangea and Cherry Liquor and Goble photography for your gorgeous photos and thank you Boujee Events Hire for our fabulous balloon arch.
Watch out for more details of events in our garden on social media.
We bid a fond farewell to the members of the #RoyalTour today – a wonderful group of people with a shared passion for that most iconic of Britsh luxury cars, the Aston Martin.
The group of 12 couples, drawn from as far afield as Aberdeen and Cornwall (and everywhere in-between), stayed with us at the Queens Hotel and toured the area visiting local attractions such as Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, the Mary Rose Museum, Spinnaker Tower, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and the Goodwood Estate.
Organiser Jim Spry is a proud owner of a 1977 V8 Coupe and explained: “We are a group of friends who met through our shared passion for Aston Martin and we first met at the 100th anniversary tour in 2013.
“Since then we have organised annual get togethers and we have even been to New Zealand where one of the couples lives.”
The group spent the last night of their visit dining on board HMS Warrior and all agreed they had enjoyed their visit to the UK’s only island city.
“We’ve had a great time and really enjoyed staying at the Queens – the food has been wonderful,” said Jim.
When it came to creating the perfect entrance to our re-styled garden, we knew immediately who we should call on to make our set of gates.
The team at Peter Clutterbuck’s Design Blacksmiths are based just a stones throw from the Queens Hotel and their distinctive work can be seen across the city.
They were responsible for making the bandstand on Southsea seafront and the beautiful statue at Daedalus airfield as well as many other examples of gates and railings across the city and beyond.
Garden designer Lorien Loten, said: “We are so lucky to have Peter and the team on our doorstep and when it came to creating an eye-catching set of gates for the garden, they were number one on our list.
“They were able to interpret exactly what we wanted and turn the drawings into a reality,” she said.
The gate is being fashioned by hand from mild steel and it will take a month to complete the construction.
“Being so close to the Queens Hotel, it was nice to be able to create the gates for the garden. It’s such a lovely design by Nigel Searle and we really enjoy working on projects like this,” said John Duffield, who has been working on the gates with Patrick Mannerings.
Helping the Beatles to escape a throng of screaming girls by letting them access the Queens Hotel via the back entrance is just one of the fun memories Maureen Main has of her time as Head Housekeeper in the swinging sixties.
Six decades after she worked at the hotel, her daughter Vanessa arranged for her mum to take a trip down memory lane and have lunch at the place she remembered so fondly.
When the management team heard about Maureen’s close association with the hotel, they invited her back for afternoon tea and a tour that included visiting a refurbished bedroom and meeting Isis Spicer, who stepped into Maureen’s housekeeping shoes.
“I started working here at the end of 1961 until early 1964 when I left to get married and ended up taking on hotel management roles all over the country. I absolutely loved working at the Queens and the memories of my time here have never left me,”
“The owners were called Mr and Mrs Harris and they had a suite of rooms on the first floor. Mrs Harris was a stickler for cleanliness and I remember her putting on her white gloves to check for dust – even running her fingers over the mattress springs to check they were clean,”
The hotel welcomed many stars through the door and Maureen had an autograph book where she collected signatures, sadly it is long lost but the memories remain.
Maureen happily recounted tales of meeting the Fab Four.
“They were such nice boys – so young and so polite. Outside on Osborne Road there were screaming girls of my age stopping the traffic trying to get into the hotel and my colleagues and I had to help Paul, John, George and Ringo to get into the back of the hotel unscathed – it was a magical time.
“Cliff Richard and the Everley Brothers also stayed
“I can remember when the comedy genius Tony Hancock stayed that he insisted on having all his meals in his room. He was a very private person and didn’t want to be around other people,” said Maureen.
Her weekly wage was only £4.50 but Maureen said she always felt rich and just loved the buzz of working at the hotel.
“There was always so much going on and living in-house up on the fourth floor, it sometimes seemed like I didn’t have a day off but I absolutely loved it.
“There was a lady called Mrs Hurt who lived at the hotel and she once gave me a blue dish as a gift and said she hoped I would have a happy life. Every time I look at it, I remember my time at the Queens,”
Returning to the hotel for her tour, Maureen was delighted to meet staff members and happily chatted about the good old days.
“The Queens Hotel truly is the grand old dame of Southsea. She has kept her authenticity and you can tell the team who are working here now really love to be associated with the Queens,”
If you used to work at the Queens Hotel and you have a story to tell, we would love to hear from you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth and Lady Mayoress have presented the Queens Hotel with a Freedom of the City certificate in recognition of the community work carried out during the first Covid lockdown.
Up to 600 meals a week were cooked at the Queens and delivered to vulnerable people across the city and the hotel also welcomed frontline NHS staff who stayed at the hotel during the first wave of the pandemic.
Head chef at Gunwharf Quays Brasserie Blanc, Anghel Niko Nedelcu joined forces with Queens Hotel Managing Director , Farid Yeganeh to create up to 600 meals every week and then they were joined by General Manager Chris Gilmore and Head Chef Paul Playford, who work at the Queens Hotel’s sister establishment, the Royal Beach Hotel.
Thousands of pounds were donated to ensure the meals could be created for those most in need. Suppliers and city based companies such as PMC Construction and Southsea butchers Buckwells also donated to the cause.
“None of us could just sit back and wait, we wanted to help in a practical way and we are really enjoying cooking for our community.”
“The meals prepared at the Queens Hotel were really special and receiving one was such a treat,”
said Clare Martin, Director of Community Projects at Portsmouth Football Club.
Her team of volunteers worked with the strategic partnership of the HIVE Portsmouth to deliver meals and food parcels to the vulnerable.
“One person burst into tears when our volunteer arrived with food for them, they were so delighted.”
Commenting on the Freedom of the City honour, Farid added:
“We are delighted to be recognised in this way for the work we did. We see ourselves as the hotel at the heart of Southsea and this has underlined that position,”
We are really excited to be the home of Portsmouth and South Coast Business Week from April 25 -29.
The Queens Hotel will host the launch event, Shaping Portsmouth’s Business Leaders Conference and Facebook live sessions throughout the week with the Editor of Portsmouth News, Mark Waldron.
Our event spaces are perfect for gatherings large and small and we can host everything from boardroom meetings, training sessions, networking and conferences.
Head of Sales, Marketing & Events, Nicole Morris, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming the business community through our doors next week.
“We see it as a great opportunity to showcase what the Queens Hotel can offer when it comes to hosting business events.”
Aaron Butson, Assistant Principal for Work-Based Learning at HSDC and Chair of the Portsmouth Business Strategy Group, said: “The Portsmouth and South Coast business week returns this year with the aim of celebrating businesses across Portsmouth and the wider area.
“As Chair of Hampshire Chamber’s Portsmouth Business Strategy Group,
I am absolutely delighted that this year we can do a whole timetable of live physical events right across the city. After last year when everything had to be online, what a delight to get people together once again.
“We are thrilled the Queens Hotel is the home of the Portsmouth and South Coast business week.”
If you are planning a business event, contact our events team at the Queens Hotel on email@example.com