Portsmouth Pride 2023 – what a weekend

Portsmouth Pride 2023 was full of colour, fun, laughter, happiness and lots and lots of love.

It was such a joyous day and we were extremely proud to once again be the official hotel of Portsmouth Pride. This exciting partnership allows us to celebrate love and promote inclusion and kindness.

Portsmouth Pride 2023

The main Portsmouth Pride event was held on Southsea Common. There was also a parade around the city to kick off the celebrations.

Here at the hotel, we officially opened our garden for the summer on the day of the Pride celebrations. We also served up our exclusive Pride cocktail – the Rainbow. £1 from the sale of each cocktail went to Portsmouth Pride.

What’s more, we were lucky enough to host the VIP Meet & Greet, which saw lots of Pride goers coming to the hotel to meet their favourite acts – Black Peppa and Danny Beard, both of whom were both friendly and hilarious.

The Queens Hotel garden

The garden was kitted out with Pride décor, including a fabulous balloon arch from Boujee Events Hire and some Pride signs from Victory Events. The sun shone all day too, which certainly helped provide a fun, summer atmosphere.

What a day it was. We’re looking forward to next year already!


Related articles: Shaken but not stirred Portsmouth Pride 2022 was an amazing event

Our wonderful event coordinator, Irene Garcia, has recently gone for the chop and has donated her hair to the Little Princess Trust.

The Little Princess Trust is a charity that provides free real hair wigs to children and young people, aged up to 24 years, who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment or other conditions.

Belinda Cleary from Medusa Hairdressing (just along Osborne Road in Southsea, near the hotel) kindly did the deed and gave Irene a lovely new summertime look.

It’s not the first time Irene has donated her hair – over the past seven years she has donated nearly two metres of hair.

“Back home in Spain I have donated my hair on several occasions and I was more than happy to support the Little Princess Trust.

“Thanks so much to Belinda for generously giving her time to cut my hair – I really appreciated it,” she said

Well done, Irene.



Related articles: Queens Hotel General Manager is raising funds for CEO Sleepout, Running the Great South Run for a great cause

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). To celebrate, the magical car came to visit some of Portsmouth’s iconic landmarks.

The car and its owners, Nicholas and Carolyn Pointing, headed over from the Isle of Wight courtesy of Wightlink Ferries. They landed in Gunwharf Quays in the Centre Courtyard at 8.am, where the crowds had already started to arrive.

Overwhelming response to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

There was an overwhelmingly affectionate response to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. People came 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. Plus, a whole troupe of the ensemble cast were out and about answering questions and handing out flyers.

Chitty flies around the city

After a photo opportunity with the Spinnaker Tower, a popular Portsmouth photo backdrop, Chitty headed over to Portsmouth International Port. There, they were escorted to the jetty to say au revoir to Brittany Ferries Mont St Michel, much to the delight of the staff and ferry passengers.

Next, 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, the car arrived at the Hovercraft where it lined up next to the launch area for some iconic photos of these two classic modes of transport.

As the sun began to set, the crowd waved a fond farewell as Chitty headed back to Wightlink for the journey home.

Watch the short film below.

Photo and video credit: Gabriel Worsley for The Kings Theatre



Paul Playford has recently been announced as the General Manager of the Queens Hotel, Portsmouth. Paul has gained a wealth of experience working in hospitality at major venues across Hampshire.

A former City of Portsmouth Boys School pupil, Paul began his career with major hotel brands Marriott and Hilton. There, he learned the ropes and worked his way up in the kitchen. He then became Sous Chef at the Solent Hotel in Whiteley. From 2006, he was Head Chef at the Royal Beach Hotel.

Queens Hotel Managing Director, Farid Yeganeh, said: ” I have known Paul for many years. I 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.”

Paul Playford’s aims

Looking ahead, Paul said he is 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. I want 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.

About the Queens Hotel

The Queens was one of the first hotels in Southsea. 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 sponsor the massively popular Southsea Food Festival. We will also be announcing a new partnership with Portsmouth Pride.

We were delighted to be the recipients of the Freedom of the City. This was in recognition of the work we did to support our community during the first lockdown, when we cooked hundreds of meals for vulnerable people. To learn more, please click here.

Southsea Food Festival is fast approaching and the Queens Hotel is an official sponsor of the event. Therefore. we spoke to Chloe Barter, our Head of Pastry, who will be preparing afternoon tea tasters on the day.

Chloe 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. ”Afternoon tea is 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 Chloe joined the Queens Hotel, her afternoon tea has earned multiple plaudits and ecstatic reviews. 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.

Southsea Food Festival

The Queens Hotel is sponsoring the Southsea Food Festival on July 16 and 17. 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. I’m hoping to spend some time on the stand too.”

For more information about Southsea Food Festival, please click HERE.

Chloe’s passion for pastry

Chloe’s 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. This was 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. She then 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.

“It really helped me learn my trade. I learnt 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.

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.

She’s also 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.


Chloe’s 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)


  1. Mix butter and sugar until pale and fluffy – approx 8 mins
  2.  Slowly add each egg until fully incorporated, then add the vanilla along with the self-raising flour.
  3. Finally, add the milk and divide the cake batter mixture equally between x2 6” tins.
  4. Bake at 160 Celsius for around 25 minutes. Test with a skewer and if it comes out clean, the sponge is ready.
  5.  Wrap in cling film while hot to keep the sponges moist until they are ready to be used.




We just had to share more of the stunning images from Portsmouth Pride UK. These were taken by the hugely talented Goble Photography featuring RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs The World winner, Blu Hydrangea ,and drag queen Cherry Liquor

It was the first Pride event 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 Would. Guests and visitors passing through certainly enjoyed saying hello.

Our partnership means we will be working closely with them to support their work throughout the year. We look forward to announcing more exciting collaborations in the months ahead. This partnership allows us 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.


Related articles: An amazing event, The Queens Hotel is now the official hotel of Portsmouth Pride

Portsmouth Pride 2022 was a truly joyful, fun and inclusive event for the city.

We were proud to be the official hotel for Portsmouth Pride 2022 as part of our new partnership. 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, Cherry Liquor and Goble photography for their 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.

Related articles: Shaken but not stirred The Queens Hotel is now the official hotel of Portsmouth Pride, Portsmouth Pride photographs

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,”

recalled Maureen.

“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,”

she said.

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,”

she said.

Worked at the Queens Hotel?

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 info@queenshotelportsmouth.com