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Southsea (Portsmouth, England)

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A seaside resort located in Portsmouth, England.

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      24.06.2009 12:48
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      Nice place for a day out, not good for a holiday.

      I wouldn't call it a seaside resort. If you are looking for a summer holiday destination, there are far nicer places to go. However, for a day trip, there are many nice attractions to suite every person whether it be raining or nice and sunny. Southsea is located on the south of Portsea Island. It looks out towards the isle of wight. The stretch of water separating the isle of wight and Portsmouth is known as the solent and it is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world per square mile. It offers passage for the car ferry to france, the ferries to the isle of wight and the navy as well as recreational craft, due to this, the water is not particularly clean. This mixed with the fact the beach has no sand on it makes Southsea a rather uninspiring prospect for a day on the beach. However, Southsea has many other attractions including the D-Day museum which celebrates the actions of the heroic soldiers on June 6th 1944. Southsea also has a small attraction park with a small roller coaster and other rides such as the log flume. these are nothing in comparison to places like Thorpe park or even Blackpool however they please the children! Furthermore, southsea has a large common a stones throw from the beach which is excellent for kite flying and football. It is the site of many events such as the annual visit of the circus and the kite festival. It also offers a great place to play football and have fun. There are also a number of parks along the common which are all suitable for young children. Southsea also has a pitch and putt and some very nice cafes and restaurants. If you get bored, you can always jump on the hovercraft which is one of only two passenger hovercrafts in the world and go and explore the Isle of Wight. Portsmouth is steeped in naval heritage, there are also some very interesting naval attractions nearby such as HMS Victory (lord Nelson's flagship from the battle of Trafalgar), HMS warrior, the first iron warship and many other monuments of great interest. Overall, a great day out but not a good holiday destination.

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      19.10.2008 15:37
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      A great day out for everyone

      Southsea is in Portsmouth and has a long stretch of shingle beach only I wish it was sand, On Southsea seafront there are amusements, cafes, and a few small touristy shops selling little things like candy rock etc. There is a fun fair at one end of Southsea next to the common which is great in the summer for a kick about or a BBQ. There are lots of car parking spaces but you can sometimes struggle to find a space as everyone flocks to the seafront. Car parking can work out pretty expensive if you are staying all day. Near hear is the hovercraft which you can take for day trips to the Isle of Wight. Also along Southsea seafront is little parks which your children will have great fun playing in. On The common is where all the events take place like the circus and the Portsmouth and Southsea show. The shops in Albert road are a bit dated but you may find a bargain or two. Southsea also has the pyramids which is a big swimming pool with slides and wave machines etc. Canoe lake is worth a visit as you can hire a peddle boat, feed the ducks, play on the play park, visit the model village or even get an ice cream as there is nearly always an ice cream van next to the lake. I really enjoy going to Southsea and often just take a drive along the seafront, park up and watch the boats on the sea. Also on the seafront is the blue reef aquarium which is a brilliant place to visit as it has many different sea creatures, there is also a cafe here meaning you can stay there all day. There is also the war museum, I personally have not been in there but we have taken a few pictures of relatives next to the tanks outside it. I really feel you can visit Southsea on many occasions and still have a great day out as there is lots to see and do, there will be something for everyone. There is many hotels and b & b's in southsea which are look out to sea so an ideal location to come for a holiday. I also wrote this on helphound but i have amended it on here.

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        04.06.2008 17:25
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        A seaside town worth a visit

        I was born just a stone's throw from Southsea seafront and lived there until I was nineteen, returning to visit my parents most summers and some Christmases after that. Following many years abroad I came back to live in Southsea in 1999, first in South Street and then in a flat in Festing Road, funnily enough just a few doors down from my parents' first house. I moved away again in 2002 but returned in 2007, and I feel that my link with Southsea will carry on for some time yet. My first home in Festing Road was next door to a bed and breakfast place, and I remember that every summer they had parties of senior citizens come to stay. This was in the fifties, and I think at that time Southsea did have a reputation as being a holiday destination for the older generation. It has never been a major resort, perhaps because it has a shingle beach with only a few sparse patches of sand. It does now, however, offer quite a number of activites for the younger generation. Walking down to the end of Festing Road we come to Cumberland House, which houses a small natural history museum and a butterfly enclosure. The highlight of the museum is a model dinosaur; I can't comment on the butterflies as one of my sons had a phobia of flying insects and we had to steer well clear of them! On leaving the museum you can walk through Cumberland gardens with its lawns and flower beds and find the Canoe Lake just outside. It is quite small, but in summer you can take pedal boats out on the lake. There is a cafeteria where you can sit and enjoy refreshments indoors or out, or just stop and buy an icecream before going slightly further east to the rose gardens. I have heard that recently this is not such a peaceful place as it used to be; it must be ten years since I last took my mother there in a wheelchair. If you have young children, don't miss the model village which is just next door. My sons insisted on going there every summer, mainly to see the model railway. Going further east would take you to Eastney and the Royal Marines Museum, and eventually to the ferry to Hayling Island where there is another popular beach. The ferry is a small one as the journey only lasts a few minutes. Going west from the Canoe Lake brings you to South Parade Pier with its amusement arcade. The Victory Bar on the pier has been one of Southsea's main venues for live music but is apparently threatened with closure. Continuing west, you have the choice of walking along the promenade or through the rock gardens which lead to the Pyramid Centre. On a wet or cold day families can enjoy the indoor swimming pool here instead of the beach. About another hundred metres west are the D-Day Museum and Southsea Castle. The castle was built by Henry VIII in 1544. I used to take my sons there when they were young and I thought they enjoyed the cannon on the flat roof, but they confessed to me later that they found the whole place quite spooky. They must have prefered the D-Day Museum, easily spotted by the tanks just outside. Here you can see the wonderful Overlord Embroidery that tells the D-Day story. Made over a period of several years at the Royal College of Needlework, it is actually longer than the Bayeux Tapestry. The next port of call for families would be the Blue Reef Aquarium, which I often visited when it was the Sea Life Centre. It is relatively expensive but a great place for children in wet weather. You might be lucky enough to see the fish being fed in the open-top tank. There is a cafeteria as well as a gift shop. If you continue along the promenade past Southsea Common you will reach Clarence Pier, where there is a funfair in the summer. From here you could take a hovercraft over to Ryde on the Isle of Wight, but the car ferry leaves from Portsmouth. Crossing the common, the imposing Queen's Hotel stands before you on the corner of Osborne Road with its small shops and restaurants. Walking down here will lead you to Palmerston Road, Southsea's main shopping precinct. Apart from W H Smith, Boots, Woolworth, Dyas, Costa Coffee, Heidi's. Laura Ashley, Monsoon and Past Times, there are branches of Lloyd's, Halifax, Natwest and Barclay's (Barclay's is on Osborne Road). The two department stores, Debenham's and Knight and Lee (a branch of John Lewis), may not be there much longer. Debenham's has opened a store in Portsmouth, and following the demolition of Portsmouth's ugly Tricorn, John Lewis are planning to build a store on that site. I believe there are plans to keep the Palmerston Road area alive with perhaps a leisure centre. Just round the corner from Knight and Lee is Waitrose, Southsea's main supermarket, next to which is a multi-storey car park. Don't miss the fascinating little shops on nearby Marmion Road, where you can stop for a drink or lunch at the Greenhouse Kitchen, a vegetarian cafe. I can recommend their smoothies, coffee and sandwiches. If you like Indian food, it's only about five minutes' walk to the Tiffin Room at the India Arms on Great Southsea Street - their Indian-style lamb chops and mash are delicious! Some of Southsea's residential areas are quite affuent, but many large old houses have recently been bought up for renting out to students at Portsmouth University, particularly in the area surrounding Albert Road. Albert Road is a series of small shops, cafes and pubs, and is the location of the Wedgewood Rooms, a live music venue, as well as the King's Theatre. There are branches of Tesco and Somerfield alongside new age shops, hairdressers, Indian restaurants and florists. Southsea is of course very close to Portsmouth's Gunwharf Quays and the Spinnaker Tower, as well as Commercial Road shopping precinct and Portsmouth Guildhall. There are plenty of bus services: number 6, every ten minutes, to Gunwharf and the Harbour Station, or the 17/18 bus to Commercial Road and Portsmouth & Southsea railway station, also a ten-minute service. In July 2007 I stayed in two guest houses in Southsea during the period between moving out of a house and moving into a flat. The first was the Esk Vale Guest House on Granada Road, just a stone's throw from the sea front, South Parade Pier and the Canoe Lake. I booked a single room, and was told that the only one available shared a shower room and toilet with another room, but I accepted as it was both holiday time and graduation week at Portsmouth University. The room was on the first floor overlooking the street - not a busy road, but there was quite loud music emanating from Southsea Anglers' Club (directly opposite) on the Saturday evening. The room was very small but had obviously been refurbished quite recently. There was just room for the bed, bedside cabinet, wardrobe and chest of drawers, on top of which was a tray with kettle and the usual supply of teabags, milk, sachets of coffee and sugar. The television was fixed to a bracket high up on the wall, and I did find myself getting a crick in my neck as I sat on the bed watching it. Unfortunately I'm a technophobe, and the two remote controls were lost on me - there were obviously plenty of channels available, but it was all I could do to find the usual terrestrials! Standards of cleanliness were high in both the bedroom and shower room. There were two sittings for breakfast: I was there at the weekend, when the choice was between 8am or 8.45am. The breakfast room was in the basement; I went for the first sitting and the room was not crowded on either morning. There was the usual selection of cereals and the cooked breakfast was excellent: fried egg, sausage, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms and beans. My only criticism would be that only white toast and butter were offered. Orange juice was served, and there was a choice of tea or coffee. The charge for the single room was £30 per night, which I found a little high considering that it was not an ensuite room. Some visitors, however, will appreciate the proximity to the seafront as well as the availability of parking in the forecourt. There were, I think, two rooms on the ground floor, but the guest house is not suitable for disabled visitors as there are steps up to the front door and the breakfast room, as I mentioned, is in the basement. I was a little surprised that payment had to be made by cheque or cash only. From the Monday to the Thursday morning I was at the Everley Guest House on Festing Road, about half a mile from the seafront. I was asked to make a deposit of £10 when I rang to make the booking, but this would have been refunded had I cancelled at least twenty-four hours in advance. I asked for a single room but was told that I would in fact be given a twin ensuite room for the price of a single, which was £26. There were, however, thirty-nine steps to climb! I managed them and was surprised at how spacious the room was in comparison to Esk Vale. It was a little old-fashioned, but I appreciated the space and the privacy. This was an attic room and was actually very hot on the first evening, but that was the only day that the weather was anything like summer during my stay. The shower was in a cubicle in one corner, with the toilet in a lockable area at the opposite end of the room. The beds were placed end to end with a chest of drawers in between; on top of this were the television set as well as the tray with kettle and all the usual tea and coffee-making supplies. Each bed had a bedside cabinet, and there were a rather old-fashioned wardrobe and two easy chairs. The television had certainly been around a while and just offered the basic terrestrial channels. Cleanliness was of a very high standard and the bed I chose to sleep in was certainly comfortable. On weekdays breakfast at the Everley is served from 7.15am in a room on the ground floor. The cereals and cooked breakfast were similar to the fare at Esk Vale, although mushrooms were not on the menu. Drinks were also comparable. I was, however, pleased to find that I could have wholemeal toast at the Everley. The owner, Stuart Fletcher, is an extremely friendly man who enjoys chatting to his guests in between serving their breakfasts, and this makes for a very convivial atmosphere. Again, the Everley is not suitable for disabled guests as there are no rooms on the ground floor. There is no forecourt for parking, and whilst parking on Festing Road is allowed, it may not of course be possible to find a space. This and the lack of choice of TV channels might be a disadvantage for some, but as I said I personally appreciated having a good-sized ensuite room for four pounds less than Esk Vale. I was also glad to be able to make a payment by card. Although not a major resort as I have said, Southsea obviously has its attractions for all the family and is worth a visit at least for a weekend.

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