Now, I don’t know much about art but I know what I like…and I definitely like Portsmouth. Long known for its rich naval heritage, our seaside city also has a lot of arts and culture to offer.
First up you’ve got the museums. Not quite as famous as its London namesake, but just as entertaining, there is Portsmouth’s Natural History Museum. Nestled behind Canoe Lake, here you’ll find a range of fun and interesting exhibitions, as well as an actual butterfly house and beehive!
While you’re down that way, you should take a trip to Gunwharf too. Not for the shops, however, if you did accidentally find yourself in Karen Millen or Michael Kors it wouldn’t be the end of the world. But instead because Gunwharf is also home to the deliciously diverse Aspex gallery. This hidden gem delivers a beautiful mix of interesting, exciting, playful, challenging, thoughtful and creative new contemporary art. At Aspex you’ll experience everything from new up-and-coming artists to established geniuses.
Adding a bit of show to the city, there are the fantastically entertaining Kings Theatre and New Theatre Royal. First opening its doors, in 1907, Kings Theatre, in Albert Road, Southsea, is a magnet for theatregoers. The theatre provides musicals, plays, comedy, opera, dance, talks and film in a Grade II listed proscenium arch theatre.
Equally impressive, the New Theatre Royal started life on High Street, in Old Portsmouth, back in 1761 where it was mentioned in Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby. The theatre reopened in its current location, Guildhall Walk, in 1854, when traveling circus owner Henry Rutley became licensee of the White Swan and leased the Landport Hall next to it, hoping to create ‘a place of entertainment’. And this is something I can definitely vouch for.
If you feel like getting your hands dirty with a little arts and crafts yourself, Castle Street in Southsea has Arty Potz. No experience needed, this local paint-your-own pottery studio caters for any age, from one to 100, with lots of tools and tips to help you on your way and give you some inspiration.