Please sign in to post.

Place to stay in Salisbury and Portsmouth near train stations

We're flying into Gatwick in late August and are planning on two nights in Salisbury (see the cathedral, Magna Carta, and Stonehenge) and a night in Portsmouth (see the dockyard area) before taking a train to Southhampton and leaving on a Baltic cruise. We'll be using trains to get from city to city and want a nice place to stay near the train stations if possible. We will be using taxis and public transportation as needed and taking a bus tour to Stonehenge.
Suggested places to stay, with breakfast, in Salisbury and Portsmouth would be appreciated. Would prefer a little character/charm rather than a business hotel. At least a bit Rick Steves quaint.

Posted by
3904 posts

Portsmouth isn't well served by hotels. There are some run down ones along the seafront, The Keppels Head hotel opposite Portsmouth harbour station which also serves as a bail hostel so I'd give that a miss. There are a numbr of B & B's in Southsea but as I only live 8 miles away I've never had a reason to stay in any of them.

This is a new boutique hotel in an area saturated with B&B's, not sure if it's to your taste or not https://www.g-boutiquehotel.co.uk/

There's a relatively new Premier Inn right next to Portsmouth and Southsea station, that would probably be my choice.

Posted by
36 posts

I would stay in Southampton, maybe in the Dolphin Hotel in the old town. From there you could take a train to Salisbury and a National Express bus to Portsmouth.

Posted by
7606 posts

In Salisbury I’ve stayed several times at Cathedral View B&B. It’s about a 10-12 minute walk from the station for me pulling a small carry on. I love this small accommodation! The owners Steve and Wenda are excellent hosts. Steve does the cooking of the hot breakfast and makes his own bread and jam. They used to have a deal where you could get a discount at the Salisbury Museum if you indicated you were staying at Cathedral View.

I’ve also stayed at The Rose and Crown on a Rick Steves tour. It had a fabulous breakfast buffet but if you are there on a weekend expect outdoor weddings each night with music until after midnight. It’s further from the station than I would want to walk. The main building is 15C? I think.

On a Road Scholar tour I stayed at the Mercure White Hart. This was my least favorite. Location was good (about 10 minute walk as well) but more business oriented.

The Salisbury Reds Stonehenge bus leaves from the station as well as from a location in City Centre which was maybe 5-7 minutes from Cathedral View. You pay the driver. Get the combo ticket that includes Stonehenge entrance as the driver hops off the bus and collects entrance tickets at Stonehenge so you don’t have to stand in line. The bus stops at Old Sarum on the route back.

The Salisbury Museum has a very good collection of artifacts related to Stonehenge and other Neolithic sites. They also have special exhibitions that are well done. I saw one a number of years age of Constable in Salisbury that was just awesome. I’ve not done some of the other sites on the Cathedral Close such as Mompesson House.

Do try to get to Evensong at the Cathedral. It’s wonderful.

I like Salisbury a lot and find so much to do here. I like that you are spending 2 nights. If timing works out, try to make it for a walking tour on your arrival day. They usually take you in to St Thomas’ Church to see the medieval Doom fresco. It was the church built for the workers at the cathedral.

http://www.stthomassalisbury.co.uk/documents/history-heritage/9-the-doom-painting-guide/file

Posted by
3904 posts

Ah yes, forgot about the Holiday Inn Express, defintely a better option than Keppels Head.

There is another unique option, https://solentforts.com/spitbank-fort/. They'll get you to Portsmouth Harrbour train station by speedboat at your convenience but it does come at a price, still, a memorable stay.

There's also the grand Queens Hotel overlooking Southsea Common, https://queenshotelportsmouth.com. It's recently been sold and renovated by the new owners as for many years it was left to deteriorate by a lack of investment and interest. A fine example of a grand Victorian seaside hotel and within a short taxi ride of either Portsmouth Harbour station or Portsmouth and Southsea, neither of which will cost more than £5.

Since my original reply I've also remembered the Florence House, https://www.florencehousehotel.co.uk. I've never stayed there for reasons mentioned previously but I was a regular customer at the Florence Arms before it was purchased by the group who owned the 'hotel' (it's more of a luxury B&B than a hotel in terms of the building). They transformed the Florence Arms with some decent renovation (and increasing beer prices!) and their rooms look nice enough.

I can offer no advice about hotels in Southampton as I've never had cause to stay in one, however, as with Portsmouth, the majority are of the bland corporate type. One place I would advise against is the Travelodge. I've never stayed there but I've driven past it on many, many occasions and it looks horrific. I've experienced a Travelodge once, in Swansea, and that was enough to put me off them for life, the one in Southampton makes the Swansea one look like a Ritz Carlton.

Posted by
184 posts

I wanted to second the absolutely spot-on review of the Cathedral View Bed and Breakfast in Salisbury. We spent 4 nights there 5 years ago and Steve and Wenda are the most welcoming, thoughtful, and caring hosts. Steve's marvelous breakfasts are wonderful! The breakfasts include Steve's homemade bread, all you could eat FRESH fruit salad, all the cereal we could want, and then Steve’s amazing cooked to order breakfast. They gave us excellent instructions on the best way to drive to Stonehenge. They have several books to borrow, which came in very handy, as I was in the middle of the novel 'SARUM'. They also gave us recommendations for places to eat, including discount coupons for every place they referred. Steve is a WEALTH of knowledge about the area!

We would highly recommend taking the tower tour of the Salisbury Cathedral, as well as EvenSong in the Cathedral.

We stayed in a MARVELOUS Bed and Breakfast in Portsmouth, The Lombard House. The host, Alex Naylor, is a very interesting person. He portrays Lord Nelson in historic ceremonies and has appeared as Lord Nelson in shows on The History Channel. He is quite an authority on Lord Nelson. He is extremely friendly, and will talk to you about Nelson for as long as you have time for. His breakfasts are amazing! Our accommodations were very nice, albeit a little small. They gave us excellent recommendations of places to eat. This B&B is a very short distance from the dock where the HoverCraft leaves for the Isle of Wight, which is how we spent one of our days. Really fantastic and unique place to stay in Portsmouth!

Posted by
3904 posts

We stayed in a lovely self catering apartment in Portsmouth, the Blue Star House. No breakfast, but it has a wonderful large shared kitchen and a laundry room https://www.bluestarhouse.com/

Obviously I've never had a reason to stay at the Blue Star House but I've had a brief look at the website and it looks quite nice and is in a very good location however parking is an absolute nightmare! For a visitor to Portsmouth and without a car I'd certainly advocate it.

Posted by
3904 posts

Nice to see the OP came back and responded to all of us who took the time out to respond to his request!

Posted by
19 posts

First, let me apologize to all who took the time to respond. I really do appreciate your time, effort, and suggestions. Life got in the way as I had hip replacement surgery a week after the original post and my GP messed up the pre-op testing. I have taken your suggestion of staying at the Cathedral View B&B and my email contacts with the owners have been quite pleasant. Because we wanted to maximize our time in Portsmouth, we decided we'll stay at the Holiday Inn Express near the train station and docks. It's only one night and the convenience factor is important.
When we get back, I'll try to write a report on our short independent travels and hopefully be able to add some discussion of Rick's Baltic Cruise book as we plan to use it for several city walks from our cruise ship.
Again, a belated and apologetic thank you to all who posted.

Posted by
3904 posts

Thank you for the apology Mike. I hope the op went well and I look forward to reading your trip report.

Posted by
2575 posts

Personally I think the snarky comment 3 up should be apologizing. No one...OP or responder is obligated to reply. You should consider any replies a gift to the requestor. It benefits your heart, blood pressure and temperament.
Mike G, glad you are on the mend.

Posted by
3904 posts

You should consider any replies a gift to the requestor.

When given a gift it's always polite to acknowledge it, simple manners.

Posted by
1436 posts

Not that you need affirmation, and it has been several years, but Holiday Inn Gunwharf was our choice every time we stayed in Portsmouth and we were quite happy with it. You can’t beat the location for getting to the train, dining, etc..

Posted by
184 posts

Hi Mike,

Please don't feel like you HAVE to reply to our comments. I completely understand how busy and hectic life can get, and that is without having to go through an operation. I hope it worked out well for you!

I'm so glad you are going to stay in the Cathedral View B&B in Salisbury! Steve and Wenda are such marvelous hosts!! They make you feel so much at home instantly. They might even have a discount coupon for one of the locally run restaurants.

The Cathedral is truly wonderful!! Like one of the people on this page, I would highly recommend EvenSong.....it is magical, even for not very religious folks like me. When we were there, there was a Magna Carta in the Chapter House. Really something to see. I would highly recommend the tower tour of the Cathedral. It involves LOTS of stairs, but getting the chance to see some of the original boards used to support the tower was fascinating!! Also, the view of the sanctuary from the inside of the tower is absolutely stunning! The walk to the tippy top may not be for anyone scared of heights, but it was truly a highlight of that year's 3 week trip in England.

If you get the chance, walking through the Salisbury meadows is beautiful!

We also enjoyed seeing the Poultry Cross from the late 1400's. It's a neat medieval structure that people sold poultry in on market days. This is still used as a cover during current market days. There used to be 4 of these ‘crosses’….only this one is still standing.

Enjoy your Salisbury stay!!!

Posted by
19 posts

We just finished our stay at Cathedral View and I post this from the Holiday Inn Express in Portsmouth. Getting on our cruise ship tomorrow and hope to use Rick's Baltic cruise book for self-guided shore excursions where possible. Will post a full response when we get back and I have a real keyboard!