It’s official – Portsmouth is the second coolest place to live in the UK

News that Portsmouth has been declared the second coolest place in the UK outside of London, comes as no surprise to the team here …

We might be biased of course but we think our island city is just the BEST…

And we wanted to share our reasons why you should explore the city during your stay.

Our independent spirit 

We’ve got so many great independent businesses on our doorstep. And here are just a few of our favourite independent businesses in Southsea:

Strong Island Clothing Co. – Think super-cool seaside style. From their Marmion Road shop, you can buy everything from T shorts, bobble hats, sunglasses and a whole lot more.

Bored of Southsea in Albert Road – a skate shop with fine pedigree, they stock limited edition sneakers, boards and other skating paraphernalia.

Rose Clover on Elm Grove – House plants are the coolest household accessory and you are bound to find the perfect greenery for your home here.

Love Southsea – The brainchild of influencer Louise Whitmore, she has her own clothing label and additionally her markets allows local traders and artists to showcase their wares.

I like a nice cup of coffee …

We have some wonderful cafes springing up all over the city. Here’s our pick of the best places for coffee in Portsmouth:

Southsea Coffee Co – Just down the road from us in Osborne Road, you will find this wonderful coffee house. They serve delicious coffee and a yummy menu.

The Southsea Deli – Great coffee, fab food, and lovely items to buy in the shop. Futhermore, you can often watch a cookery class going on at the same time. Don’t forget they have a cool deli truck at Eastney Beach too.

Baffled Deli in the heart of Old Portsmouth – the third outpost for this stylish business and well worth a visit.

Hunter Gatherer in Albert Road is passionate about coffee and their plant-based menu is truly delicious.

Hideout Coffee Company has a great vibe going on and the doughnuts are totally scrummy.

If you fancy something a bit stronger

There’s a great craft beer and distillery scene in Portsmouth. Here are our recommendations for the best beer, gin and rum producers in Portsmouth.

Southsea Brewing Co – Based in Southsea Castle, a 16th Century fortification, creates small batch beers and sells them from their own pub, The Brewers Tap.

Staggeringly Good has built a fine reputation for creating great beer. Furthermore it has become known as one of the UK’s leading breweries ranking consistently in the Top 20 in the country on Untappd.

Urban Island was founded in 2014 and was voted brewery of the year by Portsmouth & South East Hants CAMRA.

Portsmouth Distillery Cois also based in a fabulous setting, the pentagonal Fort Cumberland. It is certainly worth visiting as part of a distillery tour to see where they make their wonderful gin and rum.

Art is the answer

It’s not surprising that a wealth of artists and makers have made their home in the UK’s 2nd coolest city.

Here are just a few that we particularly admire – the best artists in Portsmouth.

Pete Codling is artist in residence at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and a past winner of the London Biennale. You can read more about Crowd 2021-23 Pete’s current project in an earlier Journal post – a set of enormous drawings that will be a portrait of the city.

Colin Merrin is based at Art Space in Southsea and regularly exhibits in London. Essentially an oil painter, he is also an established watercolourist, he was elected to the Royal Watercolourist Society in 2009.

Kevin Dean  has illustrated numerous books, designed textiles, ceramics and public art. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, he can often be spotted around Southsea sketching and his images adorn our room keys.

Jacqui Mair has added plenty of colour to the local art scene with her delightful floral collages. Her sketchbooks are so inspirational.

Roo Abrook produces contemporary mixed media collage using her own original drawings depicting mainly portraits of women and children.

My Dog Sighs after 10 years of giving his art away for free as part of the global phenomenon Free Art Friday project, My Dog Sighs has an incredible international following. With five sold out shows under his belt, he has become an important figure on the contemporary art scene. Some of his work can be seen from our garden.

Ask our reception team

Additionally Portsmouth is really well known for its heritage and a visit to the Historic Dockyard is a must (please ask at reception for details of discounts for our guests).

We are also a city of literature – the Portsmouth Literary Map illustrates where some of the greatest names lived and worked. Dickens fans can visit the museum that bears his name and follow the Dickens Trail

And Sherlock Holmes fans can find out more about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s connections with Portsmouth.

Photo credit: South Parade Pier by Kevin Dean.