Southsea seafront is a fantastic, four mile long, open area at the southern tip of Portsea Island. It was never built on, as it was owned until as recently as 1922, by the War Department for the use by the military for marshalling troops. While the rest of Southsea grew, the open spaces of Southsea Common were retained and can now be enjoyed by all.
Southsea seafront has a wide variety of activities, attractions and facilities for visitors to enjoy and the sea views across the Solent towards the Isle of Wight are always interesting due to the various ships and other vessels passing close to the shore.
Southsea Common stretches a distance of approximately 1½ miles from South Parade Pier to Clarence Pier at the western end. The common uniquely remained an open area during Southsea's development, as it was owned by the military and was used as a marshalling area for armies before embarkation to the waiting ships. The common is often used to host large events such as the Southsea Kite Festival, The Great South Run, Fairs and Circuses.
There are a number of different childrens play areas to choose from, on Southsea Common, near Southsea Tennis Club and at Canoe Lake.
BLUE REEF AQUARIUM
is located right on the seafront, on Clarence Esplanade, just west of the D-Day Museum where car parking is available. The aquarium is home to hundreds of tropical fish in the gigantic ocean display which also has a walk through underwater tunnel. There are a wide variety of habitats displayed so you can also visit the poisonous frogs, cute otters, graceful rays and meet amazing puffer fish.
This is a very popular park area with a boating lake, tennis and bowls courts, childrens play area and lots of open space for picnics and running around. The childrens play area has recently been extended and a splash pool and more adventurous play equipment such as a zip wire have been installed.
The D-Day museum on Clarence Esplanade at Southsea, is unique as it is the UK's only museum solely concerned with the D-Day landings in Normandy in June 1944, which changed the course of the second world war.
Portsmouth and the surrounding area was heavily involved in the landings, due to it's naval connections but additionally the landings were controlled from the Allied headquarters at Southwick House, just north of the city.
The museum's centrepiece is the 83 metre long Overlord Tapestry which depicts the heroism and courage of all who took part in the D-Day landings know as Operation Overlord. Visit our D-Day Museum page for more information.
THE ROCK GARDENS
Just to the east of the Pyramids Centre are the Rock Gardens and quiet sheltered garden, perfect for a peaceful rest on one of the benches.
Built during the 1920's, the huge rocks used in the construction were sourced from Cumberland. The planting includes a wide variety of shrubs, herbaceous plants and alpines. There is also pond and fountain.
THE PYRAMIDS CENTRE
Built on the former Rock Gardens Pavillion site, opened in 1988. The centre is home to 3 swimming pools, 3 water slides and a wave machine. A gym and fitness centre, a soft play area and function rooms for concerts and exhibitions.
located at West Battery Gardens near Southsea Castle, Southsea Bandstand is home to regular concerts run by Portsmouth City Council during the summer months. To view a full listing of concerts visit our Southsea Bandstand programme page for more details.
Southsea Castle was built during the reign of Henry VIII as part of a series of coastal defences,
it was later extended by Charles II and saw action during the English Civil War.
Henry VIII's warship Mary Rose, now housed in Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard, sank just offshore of the castle. Read more at our Southsea Castle page.
The skatepark developed from the original skating rink which was built in the 1950's. The park was remodelled during the
boom in skateboarding in the mid 1970's with concrete runs, a bowl and slalom area.
The skatepark has continued to evolve as sport has changed and now has a variety of mini ramps, a vertical ramp as well as banks, rails and ledges. The skatepark holds roller discos during the summer months, visit our Portsmouth and Southsea events calendar.
Located just outside of the Southsea Tennis club building. The splash pool is intended for children under the age of 8 years and is in a fully enclosed area.
It has two shallow splash pools plus a variety of other play equipment such as a see-saw and mini trampoline. The surrounding area is grass and there are plenty of picnic tables and benches to use.
Based in the former Royal Marines barracks at Eastney is the RM Museum. The museum has interactive displays, one of the most comprehensive medal collections in the world, lots of military hardware and a memorial garden with many tributes to marines who have lost their lives in conflicts around the world. Read more about the Royal Marines Museum here.