Monday, 3 October 2016

Portsmouth - D-day Museum, Hovercraft & the City

My last post promised that I would update more, and I meant it. I meant to put this post up about 2 weeks ago, but unfortunately I've been away visiting friends in Scotland and therefore have been otherwise occupied! Good news is that because of my travels, I've been inspired to write many more posts. Stay tuned.

I'd also like to thank those for commenting on my last post: Do horrible comments affect your confidence in the long-term? To be a total newbie to writing, it excites me to have something to respond to! It was my first post to get any comments, so thank you, thank you and thank you again! I apologise for taking so long to reply, I honestly thought I'd replied, so hope my responses were worth the wait. Any way back to the post...

Recently I've been visiting Portsmouth to take up a volunteer opportunity, which gave me an extra insight into this city. I'd never been to Portsmouth before, and honestly can say it isn't the most exciting city I've been to. I definitely prefer Southampton to Portsmouth because I somehow feel like I'm missing something. There doesn't feel to be a "heart" to the city, like most cities I've seen from Aberdeen, Glasgow, London, Manchester, look and go "Well that's the centre." Maybe someone can tell me different, but I found it to be quite bleak, and I've lived in the granite city (Aberdeen).

Portsmouth seems to be misunderstood to me though. I keep asking myself what am I missing? It is after-all the birthplace to the famous author, Charles Dickens. I was saddened to hear that the museum is closed during set periods, but hope to see it one day as a lover of books. I mean my favourite characters of TV series, books or films are big readers: Matilda in Ronald Dahl's Matilda, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore in Gilmore Girls and many more.

However, as a big lover of history and someone who enjoys visiting art galleries and museums, I was excited to see the D-Day Museum. It is about a 15 minute walk from the hovercraft which gets you into Portsmouth from the island. Walking along Clarence Pier was a delight, and I took many beautiful pictures as I walked over. Here are just some of my favourites:

Somehow love these lampposts, and found myself picturing these more than Clarence Pier! 

Beautiful view out at Clarence Pier

View of some of the city including the famous "lipstick" building


As someone with a great interest in World War 2, I was a bit underwhelmed by the D-Day museum. Not because it wasn't good; I was happy to have gone, but having visited amazing sights such as Eden Camp and Anne Frank House, it wasn't the most impressive. I also read some of the displays and realised I knew a great portion already.I enjoyed looking at displays of ration books, remembrance areas and displays of dummies (soldiers) set up how they would have been; really setting the scene.

However I didn't have a great knowledge of D-Day itself, and gave it a chance. For instance, I didn't know that D-Day was prepared and launched from the South Coast of England, which meant that Portsmouth was at the heart of the operation. It also had beautiful embroideries to look at, which gave it a lovely creative aspect to an otherwise history-focused museum. It was also interesting to see the museum combine its focus on the south coast, but also discuss how D-Day affected all the British soldiers who fought that day. 

It is a must-see, but mainly because D-Day should never be forgotten; the soldiers risked their lives and without them, we could be living a totally different life. This museum is about keeping the story of D-Day alive, and the story of WWII. There are also plans for the museum to become the national D-Day hub, and therefore I believe that this is only going to improve to engage with it's audience. The museum plans to create resources and partnerships to help individuals and communities nationally discover their wider D-Day heritage;a new website is due to be set up in time for the 75th anniversary in 2019.

Unfortunately after my little tour around the museum, I missed the hovercraft back home (Isle of Wight), but I was lucky this time; the next one was due in like 10 minutes. Many of my friends on the mainland ask how long it takes to get from the island to the mainland again, so I thought I would briefly say. Portsmouth is new to me. You have two routes to the mainland - Southampton and Portsmouth/Southsea. Getting to Portsmouth is the quickest way. Going to Portsmouth takes a meer 10 minutes, and from there you can get the hoverbus that takes you around southsea to the city centre. Going to Southampton can take about 25 minutes on the Redjet through Red Funnel, and the Quay Connect bus is free if you show them your ticket.

Goodbye and I hope it won't be long until my next post, I hope to write something about my recent travels to Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen...however I promised to not leave it so long last time, so not making promises this time! Over and out, and hope you liked my honest review of visiting Portsmouth. If anyone else has visited Portsmouth and has any recommendations of places to go, or can tell me anything they like, please let me know!


  1. That hovercraft looks amazing! Portsmouth sounds like an interesting place.

    1. Fun adventure :) it's amazing how quick it was too! x

  2. Never heard about this..but now it looks interesting. :)

    1. Yeah i enjoyed the day trip - feels like so long ago! x

  3. I've never ventured to that part of the country. You said it seems a little bleak but your pictures make it look quite nice. I didn't realise there was hovercraft transport and it was so quick. I mean i know they are quick but I always assumed the only way would be a ferry

    1. The city centre is bleak and looks dull, but enjoyed exploring this museum. Yeah hovercraft is ideal route off the island x

  4. I haven't been to Portsmouth since I was younger - I'd love to go again x