Portsmouth is the United Kingdom’s only island city – most of the city is situated just off the southern Hampshire coast on Portsea Island. It has been a significant port for centuries, and is now home to a number of famous naval vessels like the Mary Rose and the HMS Victory. Spend some time walking through the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to really soak up the city’s past. Like many British cities, Portsmouth residents like their soccer, and the City of Portsmouth Football Club is widely supported and affectionately referred to as “Pompey”. Expats planning on living in Portsmouth should come equipped with a working knowledge of soccer, and a high tolerance for wet, cold weather. In the rare event of a sunny day, head to one of the many nearby beaches – on a clear day you can even see the northern coast of France.
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Portsmouth is well-served by air, boat and rail, and is just a couple of hours by car south of London, so getting to the city should not be a problem for any new expatriate. Expats moving to Portsmouth should do some research on English life before leaving. Portsmouth is a university city, so there is a diverse local population with plenty of cultural events. Use the InterNations forums, discussion groups or private messages system in order to speak to other expatriates and get tips on integrating with the local community and settling into life in south England. And if you should choose to have a car during your stay as an expat in Portsmouth, remember to drive on the left hand side of the road!
If you are an expatriate planning on working in Portsmouth, make sure you have your visas and permits in order before you set off. English working law can change quickly, particularly when a new government comes into power, so keep an eye on politics and current events and stay in touch with your embassy in case of any problems. Portsmouth continues to function as a port, but otherwise it has all the characteristics of a typical British city. However, its naval history is an important part of working life in Portsmouth today, so it is worth familiarizing yourself with military traditions such as Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday in November), and D-Day, which are taken very seriously in the city. You can sign up on InterNations and get in touch with expats living in Portsmouth or other parts of the UK who can best advise you on how to behave at these sorts of events, and what to expect from the average British workplace.