This page may contain affiliate links, for which I could earn a small commission. You can review my full disclosure here.
House sitting and visiting Portsmouth sounded like an easy trip to take from Scotland for a little summer break. I always keep my eye out for fun house sitting adventures to take (can’t help it!).
So, off I went to cuddle cats and stay by the sea for a week in August…
Read first to learn more: How Does House Sitting Work?
A quick flight from Edinburgh to Southampton, visiting Portsmouth is accessible and offers quite a bit to explore!
I typically prefer train journeys, but this one would’ve taken full days of travel that I just didn’t have time to schedule.
With house and pet sitting, you need to work around the dates of the homeowners’ departure and return. This requires you to be flexible in your own planning!
Read next: 11 Lessons Learned House Sitting with TrustedHousesitters
Taking the flight was absolutely worth it for the furballs that awaited me. My house sitting in Portsmouth was filled with kitten shenanigans…which kept me highly entertained!
Just look at this face <3
House Sitting in Portsmouth
This house and cat sitting gig appealed to me for many reasons! First, cats. They’re my favorite coworkers since I work remotely.
Working from home gets very boring and isolating. Even though cats don’t talk, they’re great company!
These three were fabulous characters.
I enjoyed watching endless wrestling matches between the tiny kitten and her gigantic big brother.
I also loved getting morning cuddles from their other brother, who otherwise avoided these two rabble-rousers.
The two boys spent much of their time outdoors, while the kitten isn’t quite old enough to wander out on her own yet.
Since she’s not allowed outside, the boys played the game of meowing at the door to be let in or out all day long.
Are you familiar with the Threshold Salsa?
It’s a fairly popular cat dance.
It’s when they meow at the door so you open it, but then they just stare outside.
So you start to close the door, which causes at least one paw to cross the threshold.
The dance commences as you hold the door open and the cat determines the perfect moment for the other paws to follow.
Paws in, paws out, the dance steps are universally known and practiced.
Anyway, cats! These three were so cute and cuddly and fun!
Benefits of House Sitting in Pretty Places
I was also interested in visiting Portsmouth for this particular house sit because of their big beautiful backyard!
These folks have built themselves a custom backyard bar, plus there’s a standing hammock and a koi pond with a small waterfall.
It is simply lovely!
I know that when I house and cat sit, in particular, I tend to buckle down and get loads of work done.
This is partly selfish: I get more cat cuddles if I’m there more often!
But it also just seems to work out that way for me.
So I planned a few days of nonstop work, knowing I could relax in the backyard if and when the sun came out.
And come out it did! I thoroughly enjoyed basking in that beautiful backyard, while also getting extra cuddles from the cats.
Lunch outdoors, a cup of coffee in the early morning sun…there’s just nothing better than having that outdoor access!
Alas, we do not have it in our current flat in Scotland, so I fully enjoyed the perks of staying in such a beautiful space while house sitting.
2020 update: We moved to a new flat with a gorgeous garden!
Still considering getting a standing hammock for inside our flat though…I’m sure it’s better than a couch!
Visiting Portsmouth While House Sitting
Another perk was visiting Portsmouth itself while house sitting there! Cats are generally quite easy to care for, but I still didn’t want to leave the tiny kitten on her own too long.
So I opted for one full day of exploring, with just short trips out at other times during the week.
I enjoyed wandering a bit around the city, taking in the views and fighting against the sea breeze.
I’m assuming that strong wind is quite normal, given the way all the trees were growing all around the seaside park areas:
The city of Portsmouth has quite a long history to explore.
I opted to visit two museums to learn more about the local area, while also getting recommendations from the homeowners for their favorites bars, restaurants, and parks.
Want to visit Portsmouth, but can’t find a house sit? Booking.com has plenty of affordable options:
Visit the D-Day Story Museum in Portsmouth
The D-Day Story Museum was high on my list as soon as I checked out the top recommendations for things to do in Portsmouth.
Due to its location, Portsmouth was a critical piece to the D-Day puzzle.
The museum was thoroughly impressive and educational, while still being visually stimulating and even entertaining.
For such heavy subject matter, I felt they handled it really well.
I wasn’t overwhelmed but certainly emotional! There were personal stories told alongside ample insight into the planning and execution of the D-Day invasion.
I asked the woman at ticket sales how long people generally spend there, to which she replied an hour and a half.
I walked out two and a half hours later, feeling filled to the brim with information!
In addition to the D-Day section, the Overlord Embroidery adds a second component for visitors.
This 83-meter-long embroidery depicts World War II with an emphasis on the Battle of Normandy.
It is unfathomably detailed and intricate, with extraordinary stitchwork throughout. I was flabbergasted by this whole piece and took my time to truly appreciate it.
Quick Facts About the D-Day Story Museum:
Getting there: The D-Day Story is located in Southsea right by the water. While there are buses in Portsmouth, my house sit wasn’t right on a convenient route. I opted for Uber instead; they’re really affordable there and I had several fascinating conversations with my drivers!
Time spent: I spent 2.5 hours inside, reading nearly every piece of information and taking my time at the Overlord Embroidery.
Other tips: The museum offers a cafe and a shop with relevant souvenirs, including quite a large book collection. I didn’t buy anything but did spend some time perusing and making notes of books to search for at my local library.
Visiting the Portsmouth Museum
Similar to the People’s Palace in Glasgow or The Little Museum of Dublin, the Portsmouth Museum celebrates the people of this place.
I love hyper-local museums like these.
You get to learn about the exact place you’re in through various prisms, all of which combine to offer a better idea of how it became what it is today.
For example, I learned I was actually technically on an island! Who knew?!
The Portsmouth Museum is filled with local insight, which taught me about the growth and changes the people of Portsmouth have experienced over the last century, especially.
There were a few sections of particular interest to locals that might not be too pertinent to us foreigners. Beyond those, I appreciated learning so much about the community!
Quick Facts About the Portsmouth Museum:
Costs: Free to enter, the Portsmouth Museum can be explored in as much or as little time as you’d like. I appreciate free museums as they encourage more families to explore and I don’t feel obligated to read everything.
Interesting points: There are other exhibits, too, such as the Sherlock Holmes exhibit. It’s dedicated to the city where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created the famous character.
Other tips: The museum offers a small cafe and a shop for local souvenirs. The cafe was not open while I was there, however. But the shop had lovely local artists’ work and some Sherlock-relevant gifts as well.
Bonus: I learned that Portsmouth is also called Pompey! And I loved the Portsmouth Museum’s leaflet about living without plastic. Extra bonus: I always take photos of interesting leaflets (or business cards, etc) instead of physically taking them just to throw them away later. Photos last!
Eating and Drinking While Visiting Portsmouth
I was lucky to be house sitting in Portsmouth for a super fun couple who have very similar interests as me.
They offered loads of great tips and advice for places to check out while I was there.
Other homeowners, please take note! We love getting your insider tips when we visit your area!!
Tell us your favorite cafe and pub, the best fish and chips or vegan fare. Give us those little insights so we don’t waste time wandering away from your furbabies, but we still have a fabulous experience.
It’s a win-win!
So I have two recommendations that I loved while visiting Portsmouth…
Staggeringly Good Brewery
Staggeringly Good is a dinosaur-themed microbrewery just around the corner from where I was staying, so it was an obvious choice! But it was also just a super fun spot for me.
They have some quirky spaces indoors, plus outdoor seating as well. On top of that, they’re dog-friendly (always a favorite for me) and they encourage board games!
The homeowners had already introduced me to a neighbor the first night I was there. And then they coordinated a fun meet-up with another friend so we could all hang out and play games and drink beer. Perfection!
I had so much fun that I didn’t even take a photo! But, here’s their logo, which says a lot:
That is how homeowners can make a house sitting experience absolutely awesome!
Southsea Brewhouse & Kitchen
Southsea Brewhouse & Kitchen was perfect for the incredibly sunny day I got for museum wandering. It was perfectly situated between the D-Day Story Museum and the Portsmouth Museum.
A very pretty entrance plus ample outdoor space with shade or sun, plus loads of dogs around? Heaven!
So that was it! My house sitting in Portsmouth was punctuated by cat cuddles, beers, and history.
Pretty sure that’s the most fabulous combination of things anyone could hope for on a getaway!
Until next time…
Looking for more?
- Start with My Expat Timeline to see where I’ve lived
- Get all the Scotland expat info here
- And the Roatan expat info here
- See my travel destinations
- Get help with your digital content for your business
- Subscribe to my newsletters to stay in touch!