Shopping in Portsmouth
Portsmouth does not have a vast array of shops or indeed shopping centres. However, it is the largest and nearest city to the densely populated towns of Gosport, Fareham, Havant and the population of the Isle of Wight. So, along with its own residential population, it serves a catchment area of around half a million people as a main shopping district. It is also able to pick up transient trade from the many thousands of people who pass through Portsmouth en route to and from its various ferry terminals.
The largest shopping centre in Portsmouth is currently the Cascades centre off Commercial Street in the heart of the city. Some of the larger High Street stores you will find located here include; BHS, M&S, Primark, The Early Learning Centre and Woolworths. Opened in 1989, their are a total of over 50 stores with the emphasis on clothes shopping rather than household goods. The centre is open Monday to Saturday 09:00 to 17:30 and Sundays 10:30 to 16:30. It has its own car park with spaces for 540 vehicles; there are also other car parks nearby. Buses stop outside the main entrance and it’s even only a 10 minute walk from the ferry ports and main railway station. The other major shopping centre in Portsmouth is Gunwharf Quays, which is also a leisure centre containing a cinema complex, restaurants, bowling alley and much more. Gunwharf Quays uses its waterfront location to style itself as a cosmopolitan and designer centre, with the accent very much on clothes and accessories. If you are into designer labels this is definitely the centre to visit, as you have some 85 stores to choose from. Gunwharf Quays is open Monday to Friday 10:00 to 18:00, Saturday 09:00 to 18:00 and Sundays 11:00 to 17:00. The centre has excellent public transport links and you can walk to it from the old city centre. To drive there follow the signs for Gunwharf Quays which is off the B2154, St Georges Road. The centre has 1450 underground car parking spaces. The Portsmouth Harbour railway station is right by this shopping centre as is also the ferry terminal from the Isle of Wight. For a range of smaller/independent traders you could visit Albert Road in Southsea. Being an actual road of shops and with a wide variety of shops and cafes it can more realistically lay claim to being cosmopolitan. Albert Road is an area ‘fighting back’ against the tide of the shopping mall culture. Finally, the Port Solent shopping centre at the The Broadwalk Marina in Portsmouth contains a small number of shops mainly catering for the tourist trade. With a city re-development planned, the area around Commercial Road in the city centre remains a major shopping area in Portsmouth. Most of the major High Street chains have stores here. However, to find nationally known department stores in Portsmouth, you’ll virtually have to cross the city to the south side and go to Palmerston Road, which is another area where you’ll find a lot of familiar names in High Street shopping. Here you’ll find the two department stores in Portsmouth. These are a branch of Dagenham’s and Knight & Lee. Knight and Lee is now part of the John Lewis Partnership and started out as a small shop in Portsmouth in 1831. In 1887 they expanded to become known as the major store in Portsmouth and moved to their current premises in 1956. It opens daily at 09:00, except for Thursdays when it opens at 09:30, Monday to Wednesday it closes at 17:30, Thursday, Friday and Saturday it closes at 18:00. It only opens on Sundays when the nearby farmers market is held, which is usually the third Sunday in a month.
Portsmouth has two main markets. The Commercial Road Market which is held on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays and has 55 stalls. This is the City Centre market and was originally approved by Royal Charter in 1194. There is also the Cosham Market which is held on a Monday and also hosts Farmers Markets every third Sunday in the month and occasionally on Saturdays.
Heading eastwards out of the city centre, on the site of the old Portsmouth Airport at Dundas Lane off Burrfields Road, is the Ocean Retail Park which has many electrical, electronics, furniture and DIY stores. The retail park also has several places where you can get something to eat. Another retail park serving Portsmouth is the Victory Retail Park. This is at Flathouse Road, to the north of the city centre, not far from the Naval base. It is a small retail park consisting mainly of furniture stores.
In a bid to revitalise the city, Portsmouth is currently undergoing a massive city centre re-development which is due to be completed in 2010. This began in 2004 with the demolition of the old Tricorn shopping centre. When completed the development will be known as the Northern Quarter.