Portsmouth, on the south coast of the UK, is a favourite destination of mine.
With a bit of imagination, it is somewhat similar to Hong Kong.
Take Portsmouth as Hong Kong Island and Gosport as Kowloon, and the ferry between them could be the Star Ferry in Hong Kong. Could be.
Portsmouth is easily reached – just follow the A3 from London and then the signs for Portsmouth. If you are coming by car though I would advise getting there early, as the car parks fill up quickly – particularly when it’s a holiday.
Train is also easy, the train station is on a pier at Portsmouth Harbour – right in the centre of the action.
This complex has cinemas, restaurants and shops – as well as the Spinnaker Tower.
The Isle of Wight foot passenger ferry
If you would like to ‘sail the Solent’ I would recommend the ferry that goes from Portsmouth Harbour(at the end of the train platform) to Ryde pier.
A seat on the observation deck gives you a great view – I shot this picture from there of an US aircraft carrier when it was parked in the Solent:
If you have time, the Isle of Wight has a selection of interesting independent shops a short walk from the long pier.
Old Portsmouth & the hovercraft
If it is the traditional British seaside you are looking for, then Old Portsmouth is a short bus or taxi ride from Portsmouth station. It’s even possible to walk there if you wish.
At Old Portsmouth you will find a fun fair, traditional amusement arcades and fish and chip shops. You can also take a walk along the beach.
While there, the hovercraft goes from a terminal on the seafront.
The hovercraft travels from Old Portsmouth to Ryde, but being able to travel over sand and water it goes right to the shore rather than to the end of a long pier as the ferry does:
It’s the last commercial hovercraft service in the world, and a great experience. There is no observation deck, but plenty of window seats available.
Extending your stay
If you want to spend more time in the area, I would recommend seeking out an airbnb or similar rather than a hotel.
Having stayed in both, the local rentals are much better than the budget chain hotels and also in many cases cheaper too.
(I shot the top picture out of the bedroom window of a rental apartment I stayed at.)