Eat the Island: a new opportunity for Portsmouth’s food industry

A new food industry networking event, Eat the Island, takes place on Thursday 8 June from 3 – 6pm at the Queens Hotel. It is for local food and drink producers, independent retailers and hospitality venues in Portsmouth and the South Coast region.

Eat the Island is a free networking event organised by Portsmouth City Council, Hampshire Fare and the Queens Hotel. It aims to bring together local businesses to inspire, create opportunities and celebrate the area’s vibrant food and drink culture.

Showcasing local produce

The Portsmouth food industry event will offer producers the opportunity to showcase their products to local hospitality venues and retailers. It will help them to grow a sustainable and thriving supply chain in the heart of Portsmouth. In addition, there will be a programme of short talks covering good practice, increasing revenue and enhancing the consumer experience.

Jane Lamer Head of Economic Development and Skills at Portsmouth City Council, said: “Eat the Island is a new initiative resulting from our work to support local businesses through the annual Southsea Food Festival. 

“By bringing together food and drink businesses, we hope to enable greater opportunities to work together and grow Portsmouth’s economy.”

Joining up the foodie dots

Tracy Nash, Commercial Manager at Hampshire Fare, said: ‘Joining up the foodie dots is what we do best at Hampshire Fare. This is going to be a great example of this. We are delighted to be involved in this Portsmouth food industry event. We are very excited about the vibrancy of the food and drink sector in this region’

The event builds on the success of Southsea Food Festival and the city’s lively food and drink offering.

Portsmouth – a food destination

Paul Playford, General Manager of the Queens Hotel said he was delighted to host the first Eat the Island event.

“We are keen for our island city to be seen as a food destination. 

“We look forward to working with other hospitality providers and local producers to put ourselves on the foodie map for the UK,” he said.

Related articles: Executive Chef Simon Hartnett speaks up for local produce,

Restaurant 1865 in the top 10 worldwide for restaurants


We are delighted to work with talented typographer and designer Sarah Fisher, who created The Portsmouth & Southsea Colouring Book.

The moment we saw the wonderful vector illustrations she created for her book, we knew we wanted to be able to offer children the opportunity to colour in Sarah’s delightful depiction of the Queens when they visit Restaurant 1865.

Colouring books for children

General Manager, Paul Playford, said: “We like to keep our younger guests entertained as they wait for their meal. Having such a great illustration of the Queens for them to colour in is just the icing on the cake.”

Sarah explained she had previously created colouring books for designer Cath Kidston and really enjoyed the process.

Landmarks and iconic buildings

When she moved to Portsmouth seven years ago, Sarah had the idea of creating a colouring book for the city. In the process, she got to know her way round the landmarks and iconic buildings we all know and love.

“I illustrated 52 original drawings of scenes around Portsmouth for The Portsmouth & Southsea Colouring Book. I did this by working from photographs that I had taken. Then, I turned the detailed vector illustrations into an 80-page colouring book for grownups. I raised the money to self-publish the book via Kickstarter in Autumn 2017.” she said.

Copies of Sarah’s colouring book can be purchased from the reception team at the Queens. You can find out more about Sarah here.


Related articles: Queens Hotel working with Pete Codling, Ben’s colourful illustrations of the Queens Hotel building

Team members working across all areas of The Queens Hotel have received life-saving training so they know what to do in a real-life emergency.

The training was organised by Lara Hardwick via SADS UK who recently presented the Queens with a defibrillator. She was inspired to raise funds for the life-saving piece of equipment after her father Alan, a fit and healthy 67-year-old, had a cardiac arrest back in April 2022, when he was jogging in Southsea.

Survival rate

Lara explained: “Just 10.8% of people who experience a cardiac arrest outside of hospital survive. Taking 5 minutes out of your day to learn CPR from this easy link could help increase that number.

“Figures published by London Ambulance  Service also show that when a Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) was used by a bystander and at least one shock was delivered to patients, the survival rate was more than five times higher (57%).”

Life saving kit

Queens Hotel General Manager, Paul Playford, said :”We were delighted when Lara arranged for the defibrillator to be based at the Queens and this life-saving training will ensure that team members from across the hotel feel confident to use the equipment in an emergency situation.

“Our location close to the seafront and on a main route into Southsea means we are well placed to offer help, should the need arise. Our guests can also feel secure in the knowledge that we have this life-saving kit to hand.”

Pictured left to right: Head of Breakfast, James; Restaurant manager, Alfredo; General Manager, Paul, and Events Co-ordinator, Irene with Housekeeping Supervisor, Belen, in the foreground. 

Related articles: Defibrillator now installed at The Queens Hotel

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, 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



Our General Manager, Paul Playford, is swapping the comforts of a warm bed for a night sleeping under the stars at the CEO Sleepout, Portsmouth.

In his day job, Paul can be found looking after some of the top bedrooms in the city. However, on Thursday April 27th, he’s stepping out of the hotel to spend a night sleeping at Fratton Park, and it’s all for a good cause.

He is taking part in the CEO Sleepout at Portsmouth Football Club to raise funds for local charities tackling homelessness in the city.

“This is such a great cause and when I heard about the CEO Sleepout I was keen to get involved.

“I hope businesses we work with will support what I am doing, as well as family and friends,” said Paul.

CEO Sleepout has raised £3.5 million for more than 100 charities working to tackle homelessness in cities across the UK.

“I would really appreciate any sponsorship that people can give me. It will certainly be an experience sleeping at the football ground in a sleeping bag.

“But I am the lucky one as it is only one night,” he added.

To support Paul, please go to his Just Giving page here


Related articles: Running the Great South Run for a great cause, Queens Hotel team receives life-saving training, Queens Hotel receives Freedom of the City

Stephen Tennant stayed at The Queens Hotel!

As the official hotel for Portsmouth Pride, we have thoroughly enjoyed the LGBT+ History month posts from Portsmouth Pride celebrating key figures.

Accordingly we’d like to add our own favourite queer icon, Stephen Tennant.

A British socialite known for his eccentric lifestyle, Stephen was a member of the so-called ‘Bright Young Things.’ They dominated the headlines in the 1930s due to their extravagant behaviour.

In the post war years, he was a regular guest at The Queens Hotel. He was well known for holding court in the lobby, cutting quite a dash with his stylish flair.

Celebrated local author

In his book Serious Pleasures: The Life of Stephen Tennant, celebrated local author Professor Philip Hoare, described how Stephen was a much loved guest at the hotel.

“The hotel was Southsea’s best, with its impressive marble pillared hall, and stained-glass domed ceiling. It had, like all of Stephen’s favoured hotels, a quiet hushed air of untrumpeted luxury.

“He would take one of the first-floor rooms, with a balcony looking out over the promenade and green of Southsea, its castle and cannons and strolling sailors.

“One of the porters at the Queens, Charlie Taylor, remembered Stephen sitting in the lounge, gazing at the dome. ‘When I first saw him he was wearing a long fawn camel coat and a pixie hood!’

Dyed blond hair and pink crocodile skin shoes

Stephen quickly had the staff under his spell.

‘He used to have his hair done at the ladies’ hairdressers in town – brilliant blond – and he wore crocodile skin shoes. One day he was sitting in the hall, and called me over. He asked me to take them round to the shoe shop in Castle Road and get them dyed pink!’”

Related articles: Portsmouth Pride photographs, Amazing day at Portsmouth Pride event


We’ve been delighted to work with talented student architect, Ben Cooper, who is a major fan of the Queens Hotel building. 

Ben is currently studying architecture at the University of Portsmouth and as such wanted to interpret the hotel in a series of digital illustrations. Needless to say, we were delighted with the finished designs and colourful interpretation.

Iconic building

“The Queens Hotel is such an iconic building and one that everyone instantly recognises when they think of Southsea.

“Being able to interpret the Queens through this series of images, has been a reward in itself. I really like the way the building has changed over the years. I also love that recent renovation work has revealed such gems as the marble floor in the lobby,” he said.

The Queens Hotel building was top of the list

Ben, 21, from Bishops Waltham, has just completed his second year of study. He set up his illustration side hustle last Summer.

Markedly he has been targeting independent businesses with interesting premises and The Queens Hotel was top of his list.

“Digital illustration offers you the best of both worlds. Its hyper-real effect sits between a photograph and an art piece.

“Colours can be changed in an instant and additions made with the least amount of effort.

“Having an architect’s eye, I can talk to people about their buildings and share their passion,” he said.

A creative way to earn a living

Since the age of 12 Ben has wanted to be an architect and says the subtle artform appealed to him because it is a creative way to earn a living.

Ben is already earning an international reputation with commissions coming in from across the globe.

Recent projects have included working on illustrations for the Coal Creek Miners Museum in Tennessee and golf-themed digital shop in New Zealand.

Looking to the future

Looking to the future, while there are options to specialise in architectural graphic design, he’s keen to work as an architect and keep his architectural illustration site active.

We love Ben’s work and we hope you do too.

Related article: Sarah’s drawing on her love of the city


Positive Tripadvisor reviews from our satisfied diners have helped us to secure a major accolade for our Restaurant 1865.

Every year, Tripadvisor celebrates restaurants that consistently deliver amazing experiences with a Travellers’ Choice Award – and this year, we’ve made the list.

We really value feedback from our customers – and of course, glowing reviews always make us happy.

Executive Chef Simon Hartnett, said: “It’s always great to receive recognition for what you do and we always take note of the reviews that our customers take the time to leave.

“Our latest seasonal menu is proving really popular – and as you can see from the reviews, Sunday lunch gains plenty of plaudits.”

Here are just a few of the recent Tripadvisor reviews:

Dinner at Restaurant 1865 in the Queens Hotel

My sister and I had cocktails and dinner at the Queens Hotel on Saturday evening.

The atmosphere was lovely and there was a good vibe in the bar earlier on. The cocktails were excellent and great before dinner. The food was excellent, simply wonderful and we felt we were somewhere very special.

After our meal we had a nightcap in the bar. Honestly, the staff could not have been any more professional or friendly with superb food and a magnificent setting.

Booking again for next month. Dinner at Restaurant 1865 in The Queen’s Hotel Ports

First class food and service

Good range of dishes offering choices to suit all palates. The food was first class and the service matched. The staff were all attentive and friendly. I would highly recommend First Class food and service


I had friends visit for the weekend and we were looking for somewhere that served roast dinner.
We’d gone to multiple restaurants, which had all stopped serving, though it was only 7pm(ish)

I remembered the Queens hotel had restaurant 1865, so we popped in, and thankfully they were still serving.

They say things happen for a reason, it was quite possibly the best roast dinner.

I had pork, which was perfect, and my friends had the beef, which they said was delicious. Deserts were delicious too

We all loved it so much we went back the next night. We all ordered the rib-eye, possibly the best steak we’d had, the knife went through like melted butter it was that tender.

Everything about restaurant 1865 and it’s surroundings was 10/10 in every way. The staff are friendly, surroundings amazing, food exquisite, and prices really reasonable, in fact unbelievably reasonable.

I couldn’t recommend this place enough, truly well worth visiting Amazing

Superb Restaurant

We had Sunday lunch and it was excellent, a nice choice of dishes, I had the pork and my Wife had Chicken, both were excellent and superbly cooked. The waitresses were fantastic, so friendly and helpful, we felt we had known them for years. Service was very prompt, but not to the point of feeling rushed. An added bonus was the excellent saxophone player, very pleasant music and not too loud.
As we were staying at the Hotel, we also had the pleasure of one of the best breakfasts I have had at any Hotel, it is worth visiting the Restaurant just to have their breakfast.
We will definitely be back we are already booked into the Hotel in September, so the restaurant is a must. Superb Restaurant

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to leave a Tripadvisor review – we really appreciate it.

The popular Queens Hotel Winter Lodge makes a welcome return from Saturday 26th November. This year, it will have an enchanting festive feel that’s sure to leave you longing for a winter warmer.

Constructed in the hotel’s garden, the Winter Lodge is the perfect place to meet up for a cosy get-together.

Our Sunday Sessions will go under canvas for the winter and will run on 4 afternoons.

Our Seasonal songs will also make a comeback this winter. The tradition loved by many will take place in the Queens Hotel Winter Lodge on Wednesday 21st December.

General Manager, Paul Playford, explained: “Our Winter Lodge proved really popular last year and we are returning with even better plans for this year.

“There will be contemporary Christmas styling that’s bound to put you in the mood for the festive season.”

The Winter Lodge is also available for exclusive corporate hire on weekday evenings 17.00-23.00.

Plus, if you are looking for the perfect spot to bid farewell to 2022, look no further! We are opening the Queens Hotel Winter Lodge on New Year’s Eve. Tickets are just £10 per person and include a drink token (house wine, beer, single spirit and mixer). A donation will be made to our three supported charities from the cover price.

Queens Hotel Winter Lodge Opening Times and Dates

It will be open Fridays from 17.00-23.00, Saturdays from 12.00-23.00 and Sundays from 12.00-21.00

Areas can be reserved via the events team with a £10pp deposit.

Our popular Sunday Sessions will run on the following dates:

Photo credit: Habibur Rahman of the Portsmouth News 


Slim Jim Phantom and Jennie Vee stayed with us last night, bringing a cool rock ‘n’ roll vibe with them.

The legendary drummer and his wife were in town for a concert at the Moonshine Club as part of Jim’s UK tour. They were both happy to chat to us about their associations with Southsea.

Slim Jim Phantom and Jennie Vee’s memories of Southsea

Jim has fond memories of gigs at the Wedgewood Rooms, while Jennie used to live in Southsea. She was actually a regular to the bar at The Queens Hotel.

As musicians who spend a great deal of time on the road, we asked Slim and Jennie what they look for in a hotel.

Quick as a flash Jennie said: “It’s great to have a room with a bathtub so you can have a long soak after the gig.”

And Jim added: “Nice towels and a comfy mattress are important to me.”

Slim Jim Phantom and Jennie Vee are both musicians. Slim Jim is the drummer for Stray Cats. Jennie has played with Courtney Love and Echo and the Bunnymen. She is also a touring member of the Eagles of Death Metal. 

To read more about Slim Jim Phantom, click here.

To read more about Jennie Vee, click here.