Only 2 hours away from the bustle of London, Southsea is a traditional seaside town with a thriving independent culture.
History of Southsea
Southsea always has been a bustling coastal town, establishing itself as a popular tourist resort in Victorian times. The actual name Southsea comes from the formidable Southsea Castle built by Henry VIII in 1543; the castle is now a historical attraction, worthy of a visit, with panoramic views of the sea and the isle of Wight, many family friendly events and, of course, lots of cannons!
Southsea’s long history is filled with many famous residents such as Rudyard Kipling, Peter Sellers and Arthur Conan-Doyle, who wrote the first Sherlock novels in Southsea - all of whom have blue plaques you can spot when ambling through the streets.
Parks and Beaches
As you walk down the esplanade you can’t help but notice the abundance of green spaces, perfect for soaking up the sun, breathing in the sea air and picnicking with all the family.
The seafront itself is about 1.5 miles long and easily walkable, also providing extra wide footpaths which are perfect to cycle, run or scoot. Needless to say, you cannot miss the pebble beach, an unrivalled part of the town, with miles of space for family fun.
Right on the seafront, you must visit the unique D-day museum with fascinating exhibits on the preparations for Dunkirk, the battle of Normandy and the legacy D-day left; as well the ability to explore a real D-day lander, Landing Craft Tank LCT 7074.
Throughout the summer months, or on a rainy day, the Cumberland Natural History Museum is a prime activity, not only is it free to enter and full with interesting natural history but also has a butterfly house with blue morphos, swallowtails and even the glasswing. Only a twenty-minute stroll away, you will find the Blue Reef Aquarium giving you the chance to see a huge array of sea life from clownfish to otters, and walk through their underwater viewing tunnel giving you the chance to see marine life up close.
Fun Fair and Arcades
No trip to the seaside is complete without a trip to the arcades and Southsea offers two - Clarence Pier and South Parade Pier offering funfair rides, penny games and lots of fun.
If the arcades aren’t your cup of tea, Southsea also provides more conventional seaside fun, Canoe lake sits right on the seafront (opposite South Parade Pier) and is equipped with pedalos, mini golf and the obligatory ice-cream stop. A short walk away, you will find Southsea model village which features many miniature houses, trains and even a replica Portsmouth Guildhall.
Eating in Southsea
All this fun at the seaside will work up your appetite, and thankfully there are a vast selection of eateries around Southsea - from independent cafés through to fine dining and classic British pubs. Don’t forget to sample the many ice-cream parlours and traditional fish and chips shops littering the seafront, including the Southsea beach café and the tenth hole, fantastic places to stop for lunch or just to grab a bite to eat.
Right in the heart of the town you will find Albert Road, full to the brim of coffee stops and eclectic independent shops, a prosperous area that it is worthwhile visiting.
Southsea, hundreds of years after its big boom as a seaside resort, will still charm all that visit it through its detailed history, independent culture and classic British seaside appeal... and hopefully some sunshine!