Built on a wooden pier, Portsmouth Harbour station opened in 1876 as the new terminus for an extension to the Portsmouth Direct Line from London’s Waterloo Station. Its location next to Her Majesty’s Naval Base meant it was heavily damaged during WW2 bombing raids and had to be extensively rebuilt. Visitors who are interested in the naval history of Portsmouth can leave the station and head directly to the Historic Dockyard area of the base, which houses an exhibition devoted to the Battle of Trafalgar, as well as the ships HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, and the Mary Rose.
On the other side of the station is Gunwharf Quays, originally an ordinance yard for the naval dockyard, and now an outlet retail centre with numerous shops, restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as a cinema, art gallery and hotels. Despite the redevelopment, a number of original 18th- and 19th- century buildings remain.