Explore the Rich History of
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Seacoast New Hampshire Heritage Tours, LLC
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Tour Itineraries

Signature Heritage Tour of Portsmouth New Hampshire

Our Signature Heritage Tour is a 3-hour van tour designed to give you an overview of the history of the Portsmouth area, with a particular focus on 1600-1820. The tour makes several stops (indicated below) along the way where you can take a few minutes to walk around and explore further.

Limited to 5 people per tour, you will have a chance to have all your questions answered by your knowledgeable tour guide while riding comfortably inside a climate controlled mini van.

The Signature Heritage Tour begins in downtown Portsmouth NH.Jackson House

Stops and sites along the tour include:

The Jackson House: The oldest surviving wood frame house in New Hampshire and Maine was built by Richard Jackson, a woodworker, farmer, and mariner. (Stop)

North Cemetery: Final resting place of several notable colonial figures.

Moffatt-Ladd House: One of the finest Georgian mansions and a National Historic Landmark.

Warner House: The Warner House is the earliest extant brick urban mansion in New England.

North Church
North Church: Almost as old as Portsmouth (founded in 1623), the North Church has a rich heritage and tradition dating back to 1657.

John Paul Jones House: Revolutionary war naval hero John Paul Jones stayed here with his steward during two visits to Portsmouth.

Governor John Langdon House: Home to NH's first Governor and signer of the U.S. Constitution.

The Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion: Home to New Hampshire's first royal governor, Benning Wentworth. The rambling, forty-room mansion is one of the most outstanding homes remaining of the colonial era. (Stop)

New Castle, NH: New Castle, the only town in NH composed entirely of islands, covers approximately 500 acres (.8 square miles). New Castle was founded in 1623 and is home to the Wentworth-by-the-Sea Hotel, a UNH marine research laboratory, a Coast Guard station, and Fort Constitution and Fort Stark state parks.

Fort Constitution: Fort Constitution is one of seven forts built to protect Portsmouth Harbor. (Stop with restrooms)

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard: Established in 1800, the shipyard today is responsible for the overhaul, repair and modernization of Los Angeles-class submarines.

Wentworth Lear Houses: Built in 1760, the Wentworth-Gardner house is one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in this country. The Lear House was built in 1740 by Captain Tobias Lear III, the grandfather of Tobias Lear V, who became the private secretary to President George Washington. President Washington visited the home in 1789.

Peirce Island: The former site of Fort Washington, is now a public park that includes walking trails, boat launch and pool.

Point of Graves: Point of Graves Burial Ground dates back to 1671 and is home to many prominent figures in Portsmouth's history.
Gardens at Prescott Park
Prescott Park: Formerly a run-down industrial area of Portsmouth, Prescott Park was bequeathed to the City as a park by Josie Prescott. Each summer, more than 500 varieties of flowers are planted in "trial gardens." (Stop with restrooms)

Strawbery Banke Museum: Originally named Strawbery Banke by early (1630) British settlers for the wild berries growing there, Strawbery Banke today is unique among outdoor history museums. It traces 375 years of history in one of America's oldest continuously occupied neighborhoods.

Historic gundalowThe Gundalow Company: A gundalow is a shallow drafted type of cargo barge, once common in the Gulf of Maine’s rivers and estuaries. The Piscataqua gundalow began as a simple undecked barge, first appearing in the mid 1600s, poled or rowed with long sweeps (oars). The Gundalow Company owns and operates two gundalows as educational platforms.

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2-Hour Scenic NH Coastal Tour

 

The 18 miles of coastline between Maine and Massachusetts is lined with stately mansions and summer homes from a by-gone era and provides some of the best views of the Isles of Shoals.

The Scenic Coastal Tour includes a round trip loop on Route 1A past 
Odiorne Point, picturesque Rye Harbor, historic Union and St. Andrew's-by-the-Sea chapels and Fuller Gardens. 

3-Hour Kittery & York Maine Tour

The 3 hour Kittery and York Maine tour is a drive through historic Kittery and York Maine with views of the beautiful Piscataqua River, Portsmouth Harbor and the Maine coastline.

The Kittery and York Maine Tour begins in downtown Portsmouth.

Stops and Sites along the tour include:

Historic Kittery and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Settled in 1623 Kittery is the home of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the old continuously operated US Navy shipyard.
 
William Whipple House built in 1665 as a garrison house against Indian raids and birthplace of William Whipple a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Lady Pepperell House built in 1760 for the widow of Sir William Pepperell, a hero in the French and Indian Wars. 

Ft. Mc Cleary State Park and best site to view Portsmouth Harbor (stop). Built in 1715 and used to defend Portsmouth Harbor through the Civil War. 

Pepperell TombSir William Pepperell House and Tomb. The 1683 home of Sir William Pepperell, the hero of the Battle of Louisburg, Nova Scotia during the French and Indian Wars and the acting governor of colonial Massachusetts and his nearby tomb.
 
Numerous 17th & 18th century home and taverns and are some of the oldest buildings in Maine.

Harbor Hill and Hartley Mansion Park (stop). Site of former 19th century summer homes and bath houses donated with spectacular views of York Harbor.

Nubble LighthouseCape Neddick “Nubble” Lighthouse and Park (stop).  Built in 1879 on a small island just off the Cape Neddick, the lighthouse is one of the most photographed in Maine.
 
Old York Village, Old Gaol (1719 jail) and Old Burial Ground. Settled in 1624, York became the first incorporated city in America in 1642.  

Historic Hancock Warf (stop). Once owned by Declaration of Independence signer and wealthy merchant, the John Hancock Warehouse was one the many wharves and warehouses which fronted the river and York Harbor in the 18th century and is the only remaining commercial building remaining from the Colonial period.


3-Hour Best of Portsmouth & the NH Seacoast Tour

The 3-hour Best of Portsmouth and the New Hampshire Seacoast Tour combines the most popular parts of the Signature Heritage Tour of Portsmouth with the Scenic Coastal Tour. You will discover the history of Portsmouth, NH combined with the breathtaking coastline of New Hampshire lined with mansions from the by-gone Gilded Age, lighthouses, picturesque Rye Harbor and the best views of the Isle of Shoals.

The Best of Portsmouth and the NH Seacoast Tour begins in downtown Portsmouth.

Private Walking and Driving Tours

Interested in all the historic forts? Want to spend a little more time learning about the historic houses of Portsmouth?

Seacoast New Hampshire Heritage Tours can tailor a private tour to you and your group. 

Contact us for details and pricing.
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