Our Executive Chef, Simon Hartnett, was among a galaxy of culinary artists at a brand new event launching Hampshire Food Festival 2023.
Running over Saturday and Sunday, 1st and 2nd July, Celebrating Hampshire was a collaboration between Festival Place in Basingstoke and Hampshire Fare. The focus was on a chefs’ kitchen in Festival Place’s Porchester Square with an artisan produce market plus sampling.
Tracy Nash, Hampshire Fare, said: “It was so great to have a cookery theatre in the centre of this popular shopping centre showcasing our region’s great chefs. Thanks to Festival Place supporting local, this event was a true celebration of Hampshire. Cooking demos featured Hampshire ingredients, while local growers, makers and producers sold their products. What is not to LOVE!”
Queens Hotel General Manager, Paul Playford, said: “It was great that Simon was part of such an exciting showcase event that launched the Hampshire Food Festival 2023.
“We are great supporters of Hampshire Fare and Simon loves to use local produce in his menus. There’s so much great produce on our doorstep and we are proud to champion it at the Queens.”
Organised by Hampshire Fare, the Festival encompasses a delicious programme of events running across the region: including chef demos, menus, markets, tours, tastings and workshops. What’s more, the 21st Hampshire Food Festival has been given a makeover. It will now run throughout the summer across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. For more details: www.hampshirefare.co.uk
Photo credit: The Electric Eye Photographer
We love this legacy art project from this year’s Portsmouth Pride and wanted to share a bit more information about the eye catching magenta coloured hoardings.
This year’s ‘Everybody’s Pride’ mural is a collaboration between Portsmouth based artist and trans activist Mister Samo and local creative studio FORM+FUNCTION – whose work in the city looks to connect communities through creativity.
The 45+ foot long hoarding close to the Queens Hotel car park, was beautifully positioned to be visible for attendees of the Pride Main Day Event.
And now it will be a prominent (hot pink!) legacy artwork – emblazoned with Mister Samo’s iconic ‘YOU ARE LOVED’ message – for residents and visitors to the city to appreciate.
The mural and its messaging demonstrates the power of collective, creative collaboration in support – and celebration of – Portsmouth’s wonderful, growing and PROUD rainbow community.
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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%).”
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 8.am, where the crowds had already started to arrive.
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.
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 https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-playford
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.
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!’
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!’”