For sunny days out the south of England has some really lovely places to go, from natural areas to more built up and entertaining venues. Southsea in particular, near Portsmouth, is one such location that has everything needed for a perfect day out – especially if it’s one for the kids.
Stretching across the coast, the main area of Southsea contains a beach, an arcade and fun fair, a variety of different food shops and entertainment, and an aquarium on the far side next to a fish and chip shop. For those wanting to travel further afield, a hovercraft travels between Southsea and the Isle of Wight quite regularly, which is something we will definitely take advantage of the next time we travel down there! This time we took our stepdaughter Lexie there for the day (with grandparents as well) as it was lovely and sunny.
During the morning when the sun wasn’t quite so warm we headed off first to one of the arcade, which is one of the main attractions of the place. The one we went for was right by the beach and the funfair – it’s quite large, and features loads of different machines and games for both children and adults. Lexie particularly like the Space Invaders game which we spent a good half an hour or so at! The arcade is a great stop if the weather isn’t so wonderful outside and there’s loads of opportunities to win prizes and have bundles of fun. We ended up having lunch in the restaurant above the arcade which consisted of your standard burgers and fries – it was good, but there’s plenty of other places to choose from as well depending on what you’re looking for. The vast amount of green space opposite the beach is also perfect for picnics so bringing your own food could be a really fun idea.
Behind the arcade you can find the funfair. There’s plenty of rides to choose from – some for adults but mostly child-orientated – with your typical funfair ticket system to go on them. The carousel was one of Lexie’s highlights as well as a giant bouncy castle assault course type thing which must have been a hit with lots of kids there as it was packed! The rides are quite nicely spaced out and there’s plenty of room to sit and watch your little ones having fine, plus a gorgeous view of the sea. My favourite ride was the Big Wheel, which went higher than I thought and gave great views of both the sea and the surrounding areas of Southsea.
Our final stop for the day was the beach, where plenty of ice cream and candyfloss is available on demand for a treat. Southsea is a particularly sandy area, as are many other beaches in the area – I’m more of a fan of the soft Essex sands I have locally, but I still enjoyed spending some time there in the sun. It’s a nice place to relax and eat your ice cream, and the shingle aspect makes it perfect for stone skimming. I wouldn’t recommend the beach as a good place for swimming because of all the stones, but paddling is definitely still an option.
On this particular visit we didn’t have time to visit the aquarium, however we’ve been there before and it’s a really great way to spend the day. I don’t have any pictures unfortunately, but there’s loads of different aquatic animals to be seen including many varieties of fish, rays, turtles, and jellyfish. Demonstrations are done with the rays which are quite popular and it’s fairly easy to get the opportunity to stroke one (I managed to do this several times – rays are one of my favourites).
After spending time in the aquarium (and the unavoidable gift shop, of course) it’s a lovely idea to finish off the day at the fish and chip shop. All fish are locally caught and they do lovely chips , so don’t miss out! It’s also much quieter that end, as it’s a bit of a walk from the arcade and the other busier amusements.
If you’re near to Portsmouth but want to avoid the shopping and the crowds then Southsea is a great destination – whether summer or winter there’s plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy.
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