Portsmouth is on the south coast of England, just over an hour from London. As the only island city in the UK, it has a rich naval and maritime history. It’s home of many famous British naval flagships like Henry VIII’s Mary Rose, Admiral Lord Nelson’s HMS Victory and the newest pride of the Royal Navy, HMS Queen Elizabeth.


By Air

There are 7 international airports located within a 3 hour transfer and relatively easy access from Portsmouth.

In the following we will briefly explain how to get from/to these airports by public transport (taxi transfers to all airports are also available but for all but Southampton fairly expensive costing between 100 and 300 GBP depending on distance and daytime) [Click to expand item]

Gatwick has a station on the Southern Railway line from London Victoria to Portsmouth with hourly direct trains (and another hourly service with a quick change) and a travel time of around 1.30 hours

Alternatively, multiple direct coach services between Gatwick and Portsmouth (NationalExpress only, ~ 2 hours).

The easiest (but not fastest) method to get from/to Heathrow is by coach. There are direct services taking between 2.5 – 4 hours depending on route.

There are no direct train connections between Heathrow and Portsmouth, but train stations along the main train lines between London and Portsmouth are accessible by either the RailBus shuttle service to Woking (~2 hrs total, combined ticket with train) or the London tube (via Waterloo or Victoria) (see also "Train" section for current industrial action)

Southampton is a smaller international airport, about 30 min away by car (or taxi), from Portsmouth. Budget airlines provide connections to mostly western and southern European cities.

You can get from/to the airport, there is a train service with a single change at e.g, Southampton Central and a travel time of about 1 hour.

This is another smaller international airport on the southern coast. It requires a 1.5 hours train ride (with one change in Southampton) followed by a 45 min bus ride from Bournemouth to get there (Tip: Pay attention to the last available bus service of the day. You may have to rely on taxi transfers from Bournemouth centre for early or late arrivals and departures). The airport itself provides flights with budget airlines to a limited selection of places in central and southern Europe.

This airport is the base for many budget carriers and the largest for Ryanair in particular. Cheap combined train tickets for trains between Portsmouth and London Waterloo, short tube transfer and the Gatwich Express train are available and the whole travel takes about 3 hours with combined journeys being available up to twice per hour. (see also "Train" section for current industrial action)

Regular indirect coach services are also available with one change at London Victoria Coach station (~3-3.5 hours).

Luton is the second major budget airline base in the North of London with flights to locations all over Europe. With the new cross-London trains, it requires only one change by regular train services (and a short shuttle transfer from the station to the terminal) to get there in about 3 hours. (see also "Train" section for current industrial action)

As for Stansted, regular indirect coach services exists via London Victoria.

This airport provides international budget airline services to selected places within Europe. It can be reached from Portsmouth by train via London within 3-3.5 hours. (see also "Train" section for current industrial action)

By Train

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The closest stations for the main venue is Portsmouth and Southsea. It’s a 5-minute walk from/to the Guildhall and various accommodations in that area. For accommodations near Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth Harbour station is the best choice to get on/off the trains.

There are multiple trains per hour to Portsmouth from London Waterloo (1.5 hours) and London Victoria (2 hours), and regular services from Southampton, Bournemouth, Chichester and Brighton. We’re only a 2-hour journey away from Bristol too.

Travelers from France, Belgium, Germany or the Netherlands can also connect to the cross-channel Eurostar services from/to London St. Pancras.

You can plan your route with National Rail.

There is currently an industrial action involving the train company running the main line from London Waterloo to Portsmouth, via Woking, which affects train travel to Portsmouth from London Heathrow, but not London Gatwick. Trains are running on the London Waterloo line, but there is a reduced service. There are National Express coaches direct from Heathrow to Portsmouth which maybe a more reliable option during this industrial action.

By Coach

The Hard Interchange Portsmouth

Portsmouth has multiple stops for long-distance coach services with the major coach station (The Hard) located next to the Portsmouth Habour train station and in the Gunwharf Quays area about a mile east of the city centre and Guildhall venue with services to many locations within the UK. International connections are available via London.

For timetables, tickets and any additional information, check the websites of the two major companies, National Express and Megabus UK.

By Car

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Take the M275 into Portsmouth (signed ‘Portsmouth West’) whether approaching from the east (A3(M)/A27) or the west (M27 Junction 12). Ignore the junctions signed to Southsea and Hilsea.

Park and Ride

As with any city, parking in Portsmouth is limited. Therefore it’s best to use the park-and-ride service at the entrance to the city on the M275. The cost is £4 per vehicle and buses run into Portsmouth every 12 minutes.

Parking in the city

If you want to park in the city, follow signs for ‘Historic Waterfront/Seafront’ from the end of the M275. This takes you across 3 roundabouts to traffic lights by Unicorn Gate (entrance to the naval dockyard) and St John’s Cathedral.

Car parks and limited metered on-street parking is available in the city centre for a small charge, but spaces fill up quickly.

By Sea

There are daily sailings between Portsmouth International Port and Caen, Le Havre and St Malo in France or the Channel Islands as well as twice-weekly services to Bilbao and Santander in Spain.

There are crossings each day to the Isle of Wight too, by hovercraft, passenger catamaran, and passenger/car ferry. A passenger ferry also runs across the harbour to Gosport.



Taxis in Portsmouth are common and journeys will generally cost no more than £15 to £20 with AquaCars being the largest, local provider of taxi services and car hires.

Local bus services

Our University bus is available during term-time. The circular route runs from Monday to Friday, close to where many students live in Southsea.

Portsmouth has excellent city bus services too. You can catch local and intercity buses from the main bus station at The Hard Interchange, next to Portsmouth Harbour railway station. There is also a park and ride from the M275 terminal with stops in the centre of the University campus.

Bike or foot

Portsmouth is fairly flat and there’s plenty to see, so the best way to discover the city is on foot or by bike. You’ll find plenty of footpaths and cycleways to follow across the city.

Accessible travel

Blue badge holders can park free of charge in most Portsmouth City Council car parks and most on-street parking spaces.