Play up Pompey with Stagecoach’s 700!

Coastal capers and customer-driven connectivity with the 700

The 700 Coastliner bus from Stagecoach South is one of the most popular routes across the UK, connecting Portsmouth with Chichester and Brighton – Hampshire, with good old Sussex by the sea! High frequency, environmentally friendly, swanky new buses (which entered service last Summer) connect these eclectic cities, as well as the charming and also lively seaside towns of Littlehampton, Bognor Regis and Worthing, straddling the coast whilst doing so.

We won’t deny it, the 700 is one of our favourites….

We’ve plenty more to showcase on the 700 (it’s one of our personal favourites at Great Scenic Journeys and we’ve some fun initiatives in store on this iconic route), but first, we shine the spotlight on pulsating Portsmouth, a friendly, down-to-earth location with a sumptuous tapestry of maritime history, fantastic culture, sporting prowess, ebullient nightlife and much more!

Marvellous maritime magic!

Begin your exploration at the iconic Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, where you can tour the HMS Victory, Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar, and step aboard the HMS Warrior, an imposing Victorian battleship. Discover the interactive wonders of the Mary Rose Museum, showcasing Henry VIII’s flagship, painstakingly preserved since its 1545 sinking. The National Museum of the Royal Navy provides insight into the Navy’s rich heritage. Witness the modern marvels at the Action Stations, an interactive space for all ages. explore the D-Day Story, a museum dedicated to the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II.

Proper old school, spicy seafaring Pompey

Stroll along the charming waterfront of Old Portsmouth, lined with cobbled streets and traditional pubs, with the nearby Square Tower adding to the medieval ambiance. The narrow alleys reveal quaint houses, traditional pubs, and enticing galleries. The historic Spice Island, with its waterfront pubs, reflects a bygone era of spicy, seafaring trade. St. Thomas’ Cathedral, one of England’s oldest Anglican cathedrals, adds a spiritual dimension to this fascinating, somewhat becalming landscape by the sea!

It’s no spin – Spinnaker symbolises Portsmouth’s resurgence

Don’t miss the Spinnaker Tower, an iconic modern landmark that provides panoramic views of the city and the Solent. It’s an iconic landmark and a marvel of modern architecture and engineering. Standing at an impressive height of 170 metres (560 feet), the tower was completed in 2005 as part of the city’s waterfront redevelopment project. Its design mimics the billowing sails of a spinnaker, a type of sail used in yachting, paying homage to Portsmouth’s maritime heritage. Folk can ascend the tower via high-speed elevators, reaching the three viewing decks that offer breathtaking views of the city, the Solent, and the Isle of Wight. The glass-floored Sky Walk on the highest deck provides a thrilling experience for those daring enough to step onto it.

Beyond its aesthetic appeal and panoramic vistas, the Spinnaker Tower is a cutting-edge, dynamic symbol of Portsmouth’s revitalisation, attracting tourists and locals alike to experience the city from new heights and creating a distinctive silhouette in the coastal landscape.

Museum mania and cultural classics

For literary buffs, The Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum, located at 393 Old Commercial Road, is dedicated to Dickens in the house where the world famous author was born in 1812. Folk can explore the restored rooms, period furnishings, and exhibits that provide insights into Dickens’s early life and influences. The museum offers a glimpse into the author’s formative years, showcasing personal items and memorabilia, interactively so, too!

Additionally, the Dickens Trail  takes visitors to key locations in Portsmouth, associated with the author, including the Historic Dockyard, where his father worked, and the Anglican Cathedral, where Dickens was christened.

Enjoy the vibrant cultural scene by catching a show at the historic Kings Theatre or exploring contemporary art at the Aspex Gallery. Portsmouth also boasts a diverse culinary scene, with waterfront restaurants serving fresh seafood and traditional British fare, plus much more!

Portsmouth boasts an obscure yet fascinating fact—its Round Tower is home to the oldest continuously manned lighthouse in the world. Constructed in 1494 during the reign of Henry VII, the tower served as a defensive fortification with a beacon to guide ships. Over the centuries, it evolved, and in 1828, the lighthouse received a more modern lantern. Today, the Round Tower stands as a testament to Portsmouth’s rich naval history, and its enduring light serves as a living link to a bygone era, silently guiding ships as it has for over five centuries.

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Pompey primed for promotion!

A visit to the historic, raucously atmospheric Fratton Park, home of Portsmouth Football Club is a ‘must’ for sporting fans! Portsmouth (nicknamed ‘Pompey‘) has achieved notable successes throughout its stellar history. Founded in 1898, the team clinched the Football League First Division title in 1949 and 1950. The pinnacle arrived in 2008 when they secured the FA Cup, defeating Cardiff City in a memorable final. Portsmouth also earned promotion to the Premier League in 2003, enjoying a successful top-flight stint. However, financial challenges led to temporary setbacks. Despite adversity, the club demonstrated resilience, clinching the EFL Trophy in 2019 and gaining consecutive promotions in 2017 and 2018. These achievements underscore Portsmouth FC’s enduring legacy in English football and they are enjoying a great season, top of League 1 and at this rate, well on course for promotion!

Charles, Mick and Isambard!

Portsmouth has been home to several notable individuals who have left a lasting impact on various fields. As mentioned, one such is Charles Dickens, the renowned Victorian author, who was born in Portsmouth in 1812. His experiences in the city influenced works like “David Copperfield.” Another notable personality is Isambard Kingdom Brunel, born in Portsmouth in 1806, a pioneering engineer responsible for iconic structures like the Great Western Railway and the SS Great Britain. In the realm of music, Mick Jones, co-founder of pop band Foreigner, hails from Portsmouth. These individuals represent a diverse array of talent and achievement associated with the vibrant history of Portsmouth.

Portsmouth’s nightlife is a dynamic tapestry of diverse experiences, catering to varied tastes and preferences. The city, with its vibrant waterfront and cultural richness, offers a spectrum of options for an exciting evening. The historic Gunwharf Quays stands out as a nightlife hub, hosting an array of bars, clubs, and restaurants. Here, one can enjoy waterfront views while savouring international cuisines or partake in the energetic atmosphere of stylish bars, as well as big brands and boutique designer clothing shops!

Thumpingly great nightlife for all

For those seeking live entertainment, the Wedgewood Rooms is a renowned venue hosting gigs ranging from indie bands to stand-up comedy. Albert Road, a lively street, is dotted with eclectic pubs, music venues, and trendy bars, creating a bohemian ambiance.

Portsmouth also embraces its maritime legacy with nautical-themed pubs like The Ship Anson, where patrons can enjoy a cosy atmosphere and traditional ales. The Guildhall offers occasional concerts and events, as well as cheesy and more stylish nightclubs, contributing to the city’s cultural vibrancy.

The university area contributes youthful exuberance to the nightlife scene, with student-friendly pubs and clubs. From retro dance floors to contemporary cocktail lounges, Portsmouth’s nightlife caters to every taste, making it an enticing destination for locals and visitors alike, seeking a memorable and diverse nocturnal experience.

Breeze away for a break!

Portsmouth is the place to be for a convenient short whisk over the sea. There’s the Gosport Ferry which is a vital connection over to Gosport and runs frequently or Wightlink’s Cat service to Ryde Pier Head or the Hovertravel crossing to Ryde which takes less than 10 minutes and is a cracker of a journey over to the idyllic Isle of Wight. The service is the world’s only commercial passenger Hovercraft service!

Pompey and Coastliner – on the ascendancy!

Portsmouth’s great and so too is the 700, with its new fleet of environmentally friendly buses, which entered service only last Summer. Fares are currently only £2 which is incredible value – working out at 3.92p per mile! The Stagecoach South team, which runs the 700, are renowned to be very customer-driven, led by one of the UK bus industry’s most respected leaders, multi-talented Marc Reddy – winner of the ‘Manager of the Year Award’ in 2022 at the Route One Bus awards.

The buses are great and the journey is worthy of a trip in itself but this really is an amazing bus route, cramming in so much to see and do and in Portsmouth, every visit is always positively memorable – it’s a unique place, so get on-board the 700! To find out more, check out…..700 Coastliner Bus Times & Tickets | South Coast Route | Stagecoach (stagecoachbus.com)