Portsmouth, the waterfront city
In this post I would like to introduce the city where I live, Portsmouth. It’s a very busy and modern city located on the south coast of England. Interestingly, the city is built on an island that is completely surrounded by the sea. The island is called Portsea Island and if you want to you can go all the way around it on a kayak! Bridges allow cars and trains to move on and off the island, so many people don’t even realise it’s an island.
Now let me tell you some of the history of Portsmouth. There have been settlements in the area since Roman times, and you can still see the remains of Portchester Castle, which was a Roman fortification built nearby. A town was established on Portsea Island about one-thousand years ago, but it was during the Tudor times that Portsmouth really took off. King Henry VIII ordered the dockyards to be enlarged and many more defences were built, including Southsea Castle. In 1545 the King’s warship called the ‘Mary Rose’ sank in the sea just away from Portsmouth, although nobody is quite sure why. At the time it sunk the Mary Rose was under attack from French warships, so it is likely that a cannonball from an enemy ship damaged it. Another theory is that the ship sank when strong winds pushed it under the water, or possibly that the ship was overloaded with soldiers and it was too heavy. It is said that King Henry VIII watched helplessly as his battleship sank. The wreckage was lost underwater for more than 400 years, but it was discovered in 1971 and recovered from the bottom of the sea. You can now see the remains of the Mary Rose in a special museum in Portsmouth. In 1805 the famous Admiral Lord Nelson left from Portsmouth to command his victorious fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar. As an important British port, the city suffered heavy bombings during World War II. In 1944 hundreds of ships left from Portsmouth to assist in the D-Day landings in France, and there is another museum dedicated to this important event. In 2005 the Spinnaker Tower was opened in the modern Gunwharf Quays shopping complex. This amazing tower gives visitors spectacular views from the top, and there’s even a glass floor you can walk on if you’re not scared of heights!
As you can see, Portsmouth has a long naval and wartime history, but today it’s a modern and vibrant city! We have some great shopping centres, lots of unique shops, an aquarium, beaches, two piers, a football stadium, a university, parks, and plenty of nightlife. You can even take a boat over to France, or visit the Isle of Wight, which also has many attractions! Portsmouth has a lot of cultural diversity, it is the UK’s only island city, and we have a population density even higher than London! Portsmouth has had a lot of famous residents, including the authors Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling. I feel lucky to have been born in such an exciting city. If you visit, I promise you won’t be disappointed!