D-Day 80 – a world-class commemoration in the #heartofsouthsea

What a proud day it was for Portsmouth and the country as a whole as we marked D-Day 80 with two stunning ceremonies and a week of important events.

Earlier in the day on June 5th, the King and Queen with Prince William joined other dignitaries and VIPs to honour the men and women who took part in D-Day. A fly past from the Red Arrows brought the ceremony to a close.

Many of those involved in the national event on Southsea Common chose to stay at the Queens Hotel including veterans and Dame Helen Mirren, who led the televised event.

In the evening, 6,000 guests took their place on Southsea Common for an evening of remembrance, nostalgia, music and a hi-tech drone light show.

Other events included the lighting of beacons in the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and Southsea Castle, a ceremony at the D-Day memorial in Southsea and the week culminated in the Armed Foces Day gathering on Southsea Common on Saturday June 8th.

General Manager Paul Playford said: “Once again the location of the Queens Hotel meant we were right at the heart of the commemorations to mark D-Day 80.

“Guests staying in our seaview rooms with balconies were treated to a birds eye view of all the activity on Southsea Common.

“And our beautiful garden was the perfect spot for guests and visitors to relax in the afternoon.”

The Visit Portsmouth website has all the up to date information about events happening on our doorstep this summer.

Follow this link here

Photo credits:

Cover image – Sarah Standing | Portsmouth News

Red Arrows – John Whiteaway | local photographer

Enjoy a selection of discounts and benefits from nearby attractions that we have we have organised for our guests.



Receive a 20% discount when booking online with promo code QH20.
Hotel booking reference number may be required at the time of travel as proof of stay.


Receive a 20% discount on the Ultimate Explorer Ticket when booking direct at the Historic Dockyard with one of our flyers.
Please speak to reception to enquire about the flyers.


Take your Queens Hotel bedroom booking confirmation to the Information Hub at Gunwharf Quays to receive a one-day 10% discount card for a selection of shops.


Speak to our reception team to find out about offers or discounts we currently have on their shows. Subject to availability.


Get a special 15% discount for a treatment of your choice – nails, hair, make-up, lash extensions, fillers, massages and more at Studio B-Collective with your booking reference. Request a booking link at the reception. Subject to availability.


Receive a voucher for guests who are visiting the D-Day Museum to access the 20% discount.
Voucher will be required at the time of your visit.


Coming soon.



As the nights start to draw in, the change of season consequently heralds a new menu for Restaurant 1865.

“Autumn and Spring are such exciting times of the year in the kitchen. The start of spring and summer means soft fruits and delicious fresh produce.

“And for me autumn and winter emphatically means hearty root vegetables and braised dishes. We are bringing in the autumn with flavours that celebrate everything about this time of year,” explained Executive Chef, Simon Hartnett.


Menu Planning

Planning for the new seasonal dishes basically began back in July, said Simon and the creation of the final menu was a team effort.

“It’s all about creating a balance of flavours and finding out what produce is available,” he said.

A keen supporter of Hampshire Fare, the organisation that champions local produce, Simon loves to use local produce wherever he can.

All our meat is from Southsea’s award-winning independent butcher, Buckwells and our fish comes from Brighton & Newhaven Fish who run the fish market on the Camber in Old Portsmouth.

Our cream and duck eggs come from the Isle of Wight and Old Winchester cheese is made by the award winning Lyburn cheesemaker.

“Scallops are back on the menu as a starter and included in the main course offering of Pork Belly, Black Pudding & Scallop.

“We’ve got hearty, robust flavours with our Venison Scotch Egg served with spiced plum ketchup and celeriac remoulade.

“And in a throwback to the 1970s, we’ve even got a Knickerbocker Glory with a vegan option available on request,” he said.


About Simon

Simon is Pompey born and bred. Even as a child he was fascinated by food and it was only natural that he become a chef.

He recalled: “From as far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a chef. I was fascinated by food as a child and when we went on holiday to France, I would use the pocket money I had saved to go round the food markets buying cheese and other treats.

“My Nan worked as a cook and because my mum worked long hours, I would always cook at home. I can remember being about 6 or 7 years-old making scrambled eggs and enjoying it.”

When we asked Simon what he enjoyed most about being Executive Chef, he didn’t miss a beat.

“I love coming to work every day to make people happy.

“Food is such a big part of what we do at the hotel and pushing every day to create great dining experiences really excites me. I also love developing young chefs within my team. I have been very lucky to have some amazing mentors during my career and trying to spot that talent and passion within young people is so rewarding,” he said.

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