Explore Southsea on Foot
Starting at Eastney Beach, there is a much more natural and untouched feel with the plantation, a habitat for various birds and wildlife and of course at the very end there’s the nudist beach if you want to get right back to basics!
Strolling to the West you have the fantastic views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight, some say the best on the South Coast, a quick stop at the coffee cup or the Beach café for a cuppa and then on past South Parade Pier that has a history of its own! Stroll through the rock gardens to the pyramids leisure centre, when you can relax in the spa, or workout in the gym while the kids enjoy the wave machine in the pool.
Next door is the there is much to choose from; D-day museum, Henry VIII’s Southsea Castle, Blue Reef Aquarium and the common with skate park and numerous events from the Americas cup sailing, Victorious music festival, The Great South Run, Kite festival and much more. A little further along the beach is the UKs only commercial hovercraft, which is a spectacle to watch, enjoy it from the beach or even better sitting on the terrace at Mozzarella Joes while having a quick bite to gather your energy for Clarence Pier funfair and amusements.
And if that has tired you out, you can always sit yourself down on the beach and watch the sun drop down behind the amazing fort hotels and into the sea….
Explore Canoe Lake
Canoe Lake is a great area to explore, there is lots to do for everyone. With the beach one side, it offers some lovely green space a picnic, while the kids play. Originally opened in June 1886, constructed from a remnant of the Great Morass, a large area of marshland it was initially used for sailing model yachts but was quickly used for canoeing and boating which is still its current use today
The lake itself is home to swans, both real and of the pedalo variety and a whole host of crabs! Crabbing is a popular pastime and around the lake in summer, with the shrieks of the children as escape from the buckets!
Around the lake area is a younger childrens play park and a bigger area for the more adventurous, to try out the zip wire and splash pool. Next to that is the Model Village on top of Lumps Fort with Thomas trains running around it much for the delight of the younger kids.
For the more active there is tennis on grass or hard courts or pitch and put golf and for those that like to take it a bit slower a visit to the Natural History Museum, relax in the Rose Gardens or the Greens café
Shop till you drop – from boutique to antique
Walking directly north from the castle you reach Palmerston Road, the main shopping area with an interesting mix of national retailers, smaller specialist stores, cafes and restaurants and if you time it right you can catch one of the markets held in the pedestrian precinct
- 1st Saturday and Sunday of the Month - Love Southsea Market
- 3rd Sunday - Hampshire Farmers Market
- 4th Saturday - Arts and Collectibles
Head right along Marmion Road, a charming road in the heart of Southsea with a range of specialist independent shops and boutiques you can buy anything from specialist chocolate shops, home furnishings, health foods, clothing, with a few eateries thrown, in case you need refreshment.
At the end of the road turn left up Victoria Road north and it will bring you to the South Coast Emporium on the junction of Albert Road to your right) and Elm Grove to the left – Elm Grove where you can stop at Alison Gardiners and pick up a Souvenir, the road is also home to specialist dance wear shop, antique shop, cake shop, a bakery and has lovely wine bars and restaurants from Belgium and Thailand. Just past Sherlock’s birthplace (see blue plaque on the wall of bush house turn left into Castle Road where you will find a range of inspirational traders who offer a unique experience, a similar feel to the ‘Lanes’ in Brighton.
Keep heading south along Western Parade, quick stop at The Parade tea rooms for a slice of cake and then turn left into Osbourne Road, the restaurant quarter. Carry straight on and you are back to Palmerston Road