Portsmouth Boat Trip - RIB sailing past Portsmouth Harbour and Spinnaker Tower

The Best Boat Trips in Portsmouth

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Being an island surrounded by the sea, Portsmouth boat trips are some of the best along the UK Hampshire coast. Most boat trips and tours depart from the conveniently located Gunwharf Quays Marina.

Steeped in history, it has so much to teach you from the water. Its heritage is just waiting to tell you its story! Explore stunning locations whilst enjoying the benefits of being out on the water.

Boat trips allow you to unplug. In a digital world, stress, insomnia and depression have been connected to our inability to power down. Boat trips create bonding experiences with family and friends, as well as being the perfect reason to unplug, even if it’s just for a few hours.

The lasting memories you can make whilst out on the boat are priceless. Broaden your range of experiences and try or explore something new. A boat trip is an adventure; hopefully, if the sun is shining in Blighty, you’ll get a good dose of Vitamin D too!

All of these boat trips around Portsmouth are available to the public – unless otherwise stated that private charters are available.

Looking for a bit more independence? Find the best boat hire in nearby Southampton where there are more opportunities to hire your own, and start planning your next adventure.

Portsmouth Boat Trips

Here’s what to expect from this best of list:

Onboard RIBs

Seeking an ultimate adrenaline rush on your Portsmouth Harbour boat trip? Check out Onboard RIBs for an affordable, exciting and family friendly experience. Go on a 30 minute blast visiting the Mary-Rose Wreck Site. Take the 45 minute tour and thunder over to the Solent Forts for some serious high-speed fun. Or how about the 3 hour tour taking in views of Cowes and the Isle of Wight, exploring local sights and enjoying some of the fastest action on The Solent.

Onboard RIBs offer a number of different private charters for boat trips around Hampshire.

Booking is recommended for these powerboat rides, however you can also check with their booking office outside Gunwharf Quays for availability.

Onboard RIBs Portsmouth - boat ride in Hampshire
Blast your way around Portsmouth Harbour – Image credit: Onboard RIBs
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Gosport Ferry Portsmouth Harbour Tours

During summer periods and school holidays, Gosport Ferry, the popular and time-saving ferry from Gosport to Portsmouth, offers their own Portsmouth Harbour Tours.

These great value for money hour long boat trips are perfect for exploring the harbour with some informative commentary onboard. Meander into marinas, across the harbour waters, past Old Portsmouth and the Spinnaker Tower, into the naval ship base and beyond. Being on one of the larger vessels available, there is plenty of space inside and outside for your own comfort.

Find out what we thought of this boat trip in Portsmouth in our review.

@travelwithnoanchor Gosport Ferry Harbour Tour around Portsmouth Harbour, UK… well recomended, especially for £10! Educational yet leisurely and a welcome breeze on a day pushing 30 degrees! 🥵 #gosportferry #gosport #portsmouthharbour #portsmouth #sunnyday #boattrip ♬ FEEL THE GROOVE – Queens Road, Fabian Graetz

Portsmouth Harbour Tours

This is one of the best educational boat trips in Portsmouth. Gunwharf Quays Marina and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard are perfectly located to start this popular experience. This Portsmouth Harbour boat trip lasts approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, whilst cruising around the Naval Base to view warships past and present. It’s a great boat trip that lets you soak in the Harbour vibes while learning about its history.

If you are into the history of Portsmouth and its Harbour, why not make a day of it at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Discovery the HMS Victory, HMS Warrior 1860, HMS M.33, Mary Rose Museum, Royal Navy Submarine Museum, National Museum of the Royal Navy, Boathouse 4 and the Dockyard Apprentice. Part of the story is located in Gosport, which you’d need to jump on the Gosport Ferry to reach – another favourite boat trip in Portsmouth!

Portsmouth Harbour Tours - best boat hire in Hampshire
Get up close with Navel Ships around Portsmouth Harbour – Image credit: Portsmouth Harbour Tours

Gosport Ferry

Whilst being less than a 5 minute boat trip, Gosport Ferry is worth the quick sail to see Portsmouth from a different perspective. Once you’ve exhausted everything on the Portsmouth side and at Gunwharf Quays, head over on this commuter link to explore the seaside town of Gosport. Or, do it the other way round as car parking in Gosport is a lot cheaper than in Portsmouth city centre!

Once in Gosport, take a walk along one of the best beaches in Portsmouth – Stokes Bay Beach. Check out the maritime memorials, or if you are looking for some water fun, you’ll find Stoked Watersports right on the waterfront.

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Miniport Gunwharf Quays

Come afloat on these mini boats!

The kids will absolutely love MiniPort, right on the waterfront outside Gunwharf Quays. This cute little boat trip is in a self-drive electric mini watercraft! They are great fun for all the family and can fit up to 5 people.

Mini Captains (children) are allowed to be the skipper of the boat as long as they are accompanied by a responsible person. Each experience lasts about 12-15 minutes. This can sometimes be longer during quieter periods. Buoyancy aids are provided for everyone and must be worn at all times.

No need to book. Just turn up on the day.

WetWheels Solent

Why shouldn’t everyone be able to experience the joy of Portsmouth boat trips and motorboating? Wetwheels is a custom-built, fully accessible motorboat. They help achieve aspirations, improve confidence and make memories that last a lifetime by helping hundreds of people of all ages overcome the disadvantages of their disability and lead more enriched lives.

WetWheels offers both public and private boat rides around Portsmouth and Hampshire. From exploring Portsmouth Harbour and highlighting things that can’t be seen from land to boat trips up the Beaulieu River and beyond.

This is an incredible experience offered by a not-for-profit foundation based on volunteers’ help and time. Now that is worth a smile!

Reasons to get onboard with WetWheels Solent

Fishing Charters from Portsmouth

Fancy your luck (or skills) with some sea fishing? There are a number of fishing charters that depart from the Portsmouth area. Take a trip from a half day to a full week away for the ultimate deep sea fishing experience with a chance to catch your “fish of a lifetime”. These charters also offer a number of other services including Harbour Tours, Private Charters, Team Building events and more.

Check out a few here:

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Boat Trips from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight

Wightlink and Hovertravel

Portsmouth boat trips can’t be discussed without mentioning these popular Isle of Wight ferries. We reckon these are one of Portsmouth’s most exciting boat trips, purely based on their destination!

Hovertravel offers a 10 minute ferry flight to Ryde Beach on the Isle of Wight from Southsea Beach, Portsmouth. They provide the fastest ferry route across The Solent and are the world’s only year-round passenger hovercraft service. Grab a day ticket and head over to the beautiful island to explore.

Easy onward travel connections are available with the Hoverbus in Portsmouth, bus and train connections at Ryde, and large car parks at both terminals.

The Hovertravel Experience

Wightlink is a major foot passenger and car sailing ferry to the Isle of Wight. Travel from Portsmouth to Ryde, either on foot or by bicycle, with the Wight Ryder service, which takes only 22 minutes! Travel by car and take the Portsmouth to Fishbourne route, which takes 45 minutes on this slower vehicle ferry. There are many crossings from early morning to late at night, so it’s the perfect boat trip to start a day (or longer!) exploring the beautiful Isle of Wight.

Portsmouth is also home to Brittany Ferries sailings to Caen, St Malo and Cherbourg in France, as well as Bilbao and Santander in Spain. Technically we could call this a boat trip from Portsmouth, but we reckon that would be pushing it slightly!

Do you have a favourite boat trip in Portsmouth? Love travelling from Portsmouth by boat? We’d love to know in the comments below.

Feature image credit: Onboard RIBs, Portsmouth Harbour Boat Trip

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