Portsmouth is the United Kingdom's only island city. The island is separated from the mainland to the north by a narrow creek, bridged in places to make it a peninsula in appearance.
The climate of Portsmouth is much milder than that of the surrounding areas. Located on the south coast, Portsmouth also receives more sunshine per annum than most of the UK. The average maximum temperature in July is 22C, with the average minimum being 15C. The record high temperature is 35C.
Southsea is a seaside resort located within the naval town of Portsmouth, is an all year holiday destination. It boasts a 4 mile long promenade with views across the Solent. The centre of Southsea is within a mile of Portsmouth's city centre. Southsea also has a vibrant social scene with numerous bars and eateries which cater for a range of budgets and tastes.
Southsea beach is mostly flint gravel, but with sand exposed at low tide. There are two piers: South Parade Pier and Clarence Pier; both house amusement arcades. South Parade Pier also contains a ballroom and a bar area. Clarence Pier is adjacent to a permanent funfair.
Just off the seafront is Southsea Model Village which is a 1/12th scale model village with forty miniature buildings, houses, forts, castles and a miniature railway. It was opened in 1956 on the site of a Victorian fort. Another part of the fort has been converted into Southsea Rose Garden.
Canoe Lake is the last remnant of an area of marsh and open water known as the Great Morass, drained in 1886, on which much of Southsea now sits. The lake is topped up from the sea by opening a sluice at high tide. Crabs and fish find their way in, and attract children fishing equipped with a piece of bacon on a string. When undisturbed there are regularly swan and mallard, with less frequent visits from tufted duck, mediterranean gull, cormorant, little Grebe and occasionally a lone black swan. In summer pedalos can be rented on the lake.
Cumberland House is a natural history museum, butterfly house and aquarium located close to Canoe Lake just off Southsea seafront.
To commemorate the millennium, a scenic walk was created extending to Gunwharf Quays from Southsea seafront. The route is marked on the pavement, and is lined by distinctive blue street lanterns.
The D-Day museum (which holds the Overlord embroidery) is located on the seafront in Southsea, very close to Southsea castle. next door is the Blue Reef and opposite is Southsea Common, a large expanse of mown grassland parallel to the shore from Clarence Pier to Southsea Castle. The Common is a popular recreation ground, and also serves as the venue for a number of annual events, including the Southsea Show, Para Spectacular, Military Vehicle Show, Kite Festival and a variety of circuses including the Moscow State Circus and Chinese State Circus. In August 2010, a life-size (52 ft high) model of an ultrasaurus dinosaur was erected on the common in conjunction with the local Aspex gallery.
Throughout the summer, there are regular open air concerts and events at the bandstand and on Castle Field.
There are a number of miniature golf courses, a skateboard park, 3 beach volleyball courts and public grass and clay tennis courts.
Towards the eastern end of the seafront is the Royal Marines Museum. Based in the lavishly decorated former Officers' Mess of Eastney Barracks (built in the 1860s for the Royal Marine Artillery).
The Kings Theatre, situated in Albert Road, is a venue that hosts a variety of performances, including productions by the local amateur group the Southsea Shakespeare Actors.
A recently created attraction has been the now annual "Love Albert Road Day" which is held along one of Southsea's main roads. The event features live music, street art and theatre, stalls, food from around the world, an outdoor cinema, competitions and skate demos. All the businesses from the road remain open for the day.
One of the favourite attractions to visit in Southern England is Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard, home to some of the most famous ships in history, such as Henry VIII's favourite ship The Mary Rose, and the Royal Navy's most famous warship - HMS Victory, and HMS Warrior - Britain's first iron-hulled, armoured battleship. Add to this the fascinating Mary Rose Museum, The Royal Naval Museum, and the new interactive attraction Action Stations
Portsmouth is also home to a splendid university ensuring a youthful vibrant community who along with thousands of visitors enjoy the pleasures of the waterfront with it's fine selection of bars and cafe's. They also appreciate Portsmouth's superb shopping facilities
Portsmouth also has an unrivalled choice of beautiful parks and refreshing open spaces. For art lovers there is a choice of galleries, these include the Artists Harbour Gallery located in the Dockyard area, and there is an Arts Centre in the City Library. As for museums, the list is almost endless, here you can see, savour and explore no less than 12 museums all within a short distance of each other and each with its own unique displays giving extraordinary glimpses of Portsmouth's rich historic past, and its history right up to the 20th-century.
For modern day attractions, look no further than impressive Spinnaker Tower which at 170 meters high has changed the skyline forever. The tower is the tallest tower outside London in which visitors can rise to a dizzy 110 meters, whilst enjoying fabulous sea and coastal views. It is the the centre of Gun Wharf Quays, an outlet mall with over 90 outlets for a little rretail therapy.
On a cultural note, the City has strong literary ties; it was the birth-place of Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Connan-Doyle practised medicine at Southsea where he wrote his first Sherlock Holmes novel and H.G.Wells worked in a drapers shop on the corner of Kings Road. Engineering genius Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born in Portsmouth in 1806.
Couple all this with cinema's, theatre's, entertaining pubs and restaurants with a wide choice of exciting cuisine and you have a recipe for a really special visit be it a flying weekend or a longer stay.
The summer season offers numerous additional activities for kids and adults with entertainment on the common, docks and at the museums. There are children's sessions at the local libraries, summer camps and activities at sports centres and lots to see at the theatre
Train and buses within easy walking distance for day trips out to Chichester, Brighton, London and to the harbour for ferries and hovercraft to Isle of Wight and France
To check whats on during your stay: http://www.visitportsmouth.co.uk/