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Portsmouth was for generations the most heavily defended town in England. The city, unsurprisingly, developed round its port and naval facilities. Whilst the original harbour and military base was located around Portchester, where the Romans built a fort, by the medieval period the major settlement was at the harbour mouth, the area now known as ‘old Portsmouth’. Here, and at various points eastward along the seafront, are the scattered remains of fortifications, some of which were in use from the 14th century as defence against French attacks, right through the Tudor period, when Henry VIII built Southsea Castle, to the Second World War. Also along the sea front are many memorials that give hints of Portsmouth’s maritime heritage. There is free access to many of these fortifications, possibly best starting off near Portsmouth’s Broad Street, where the 15th century Round and Square Towers are situated. Under parts of the walls, where ammunition was once stored, are cafes and pop-up galleries. There are fine views of the harbour and sea traffic from the walls here - and the Round Tower is the place for front-row views of major ships entering or leaving port.

Broad Street
Old Portsmouth
Post Code
Main Historic Period
Useful Website Address
Garrison Church, Southsea Castle, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Primary Management
Local Authority

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