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South Coast Ports

Updated: May 14, 2023

Ports in the South of England

While I was aware of just how big Portsmouth is even with the contraction of the Royal Navy in recent years, I never fully appreciated just how large and busy Southampton was until visiting both ports in the past couple of months.

Southampton for car carriers as I witnessed, had just about every type of car from SUV’s to sports cars, along with dump trucks and tractors.

I will begin my short ship picture tour with some ships seen in Portsmouth, before moving on to the rival port of Southampton just 20miles north.

No visit to Pompey would be complete without a visit to Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory, a lot of money being spent on her just to keep what’s left as it is, but where work has been carried out it has been done to a high standard and she looks good for another few hundred years.

Some really high class shipwright and ships carpenter works seen in the stern of HMS Victory

Nelson would sleep with a couple of cannons while at sea, when battle commenced his cabin at the stern was turned into a deadly firing position as the windows were taken out and the cannon were run out through the openings.

There is some very impressive shipwright workings all over Victory, including some of her beams which must have been hand picked from growing trees and then fashioned into the required beam with nothing more than hard labour and high skill with the adze.

Real heavy shipwright work as seen above, when the ships were made of wood and the men made of steel.

Work goes on to help the old ship as can be seen with some of the timber work being repaired or replaced at her bow.


We spent some time in this wonderful maritime goldmine before embarking on MV IONA for a short cruise to the wonderful Norwegian Fiords.

We were fortunate to have our own personal guide showing us around the old walled city with hundreds of years of maritime history our guide was well known maritime historian and lecturer Dr Merv Rowlinson, who also just happens to be co-authoring one of the books on the great shipbuilding history of Leith, the gateway to Edinburgh. Merv being ex merchant navy having spent many years on tugs and deep-sea cargo vessels was a great guide.

So back to the ships seen in port before we left, and some are shown below.

Busy harbour scene prior to MV IONA departing Southampton.

Jasmine Leader was just one of half a dozen car carriers in the port.

Morning Celesta unloading more vehicles at Southampton.

Tug Mercurius seen from IONA

Sky Princess outbound playing the theme from the Love Boat as she left port on another cruise.

Very soon we would be about to leave the rather cloudy sky of England and head into the channel for a night dash north with a 24hr cruise over the north sea heading for Stavanger, Norway.

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