Portsmouth has a calendar of events that runs throughout the year. These are popular among locals and visitors alike, with many people travelling from miles around to take part.
One of the city’s biggest events is Victorious Festival, which takes place on Southsea Common during the August bank holiday. The three-day festival starts with an opening party on the Friday, followed by two full days of entertainment on the Saturday and Sunday. It’s popular not just with music lovers but families as well, thanks to its extensive child-friendly offering (which includes a designated Kids Arena). A new addition for 2017 was offsite camping at Portsdown, with free shuttle buses running between the campsite and festival. Some 150,000 people attend Victorious Festival each year.
Another immensely popular event is the Great South Run – touted as the flattest and fastest 10 mile race in the world. Each year, 20,000 runners take on the 10-mile race, which starts and ends near the Pyramids Centre, taking in Old Portsmouth, the Historic Dockyard, the city centre and seafront along the way. The weekend also comprises shorter races, including a Junior (2.5k) and Mini (1.5k) event for children, as well as a 5k event for beginners.
Portsmouth is also renowned as the host of the International Kite Festival, which has been taking place here since 1991. Fliers from around the world attend each year, bringing with them all manner of different kites, from huge novelty creations to smaller, dancing sprites.
At Christmas time, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is transformed into a Dickensian wonderland at the Victorian Festival of Christmas. There are festive stalls, live music, character actors and real snow. What’s more, admission allows entry to all the Dockyard attractions, including HMS Victory, the Mary Rose Museum and HMS Warrior 1860 – among others.
All the big events for the city (and some of those in the local area) are detailed on the Visit Portsmouth website, where users can search by name, date or event type, and plan their itinerary before travelling. During these big events, accommodation in the city can get booked up long in advance. For these times, visitors may wish to seek alternatives outside the city and travel in for the event.