No city is quite like Portsmouth, the UK’s only island city and the only place in the country that’s more densely populated than London. The ocean-front port city is less than two hours away from London by train. It also offers regular, direct train connections with larger cities like Bristol and Brighton. The city benefits from two main railway stations, which both offer direct services from London and many other destinations across the UK’s south.
The biggest train station in Portsmouth is Portsmouth & Southsea railway station, which is centrally located in downtown Portsmouth. From there, there are at least four trains per hour arriving from London, as well as regular direct trains to Cardiff, Bristol, Southampton, Brighton, and London Gatwick Airport. The city’s second station is Portsmouth Harbour, a harbor-front station by a ferry terminal for reaching the Isle of Wight. Trains from London also arrive here several times an hour, along with hourly services from Bristol and Cardiff.
There are three main train companies serving Portsmouth: South Western Railway, Southern, and Great Western Railway. South Western Railway is the most frequent provider of direct trains from London Waterloo and Southampton. Southern offers direct trains from London Victoria, London Gatwick Airport, and Brighton. Great Western provides direct trains from Bristol and Cardiff.
Whether Portsmouth is visitors' only port of call or they're planning several stops around the UK’s south, the train is the quickest and most convenient way to travel. As there are so many connections with London, Cardiff, and Bristol, Portsmouth is also within easy reach of more northerly cities like Birmingham, Manchester, or Edinburgh, with just one change of trains required en route. Bus journeys to the same destinations would take several hours longer.
Portsmouth makes a great base for exploring, both nationally and internationally. There are regular car ferry and hovercraft services to and from Gosport and the Isle of Wight, which is famous for its pristine beaches and natural beauty. Travelers can also catch a ferry to the Channel Islands or to the likes of Le Havre in France and Bilbao in Spain. For a gentler day out, grab a quick 10-minute train to Emsworth, an idyllic harbor village with some great gastropubs.
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