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Short break in Portsmouth/Southsea?

8 replies

Mrscog · 13/03/2019 19:05

I have an urge to book an Air BnB in Southsea for 3-4 nights in the summer holidays. Am I mad? I've only been for the day before catching the ferry before. DCs are 4 and 7, In my head I've got park trips, watching boats, a museum or two, walking along the common and that sort of pottering along with board games back at the house etc.

Anyone else ever done a short break there or will I be disappointed?

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ElizabethinherGermanGarden · 23/03/2019 11:18

Portsmouth is great! But can also be bloody awful if you get the wrong bits (so don't bother with Commercial Road). It's quite hipster in Southsea with quirky shops and so forth. Basically, you want Southsea and Old Portsmouth only - avoid the other areas in general (they have pockets of greatness and are fine to live in but less lovely for visitors).

The historic dockyard is the absolute must, museum-wise, but there is also Cumberland House natural history museum near Canoe Lake (which has pedaloes and a nice park opposite the beach with tennis courts). There's a lovely fish and chip restaurant (quite dear) at the end of the pier, or lots of places to get chips and sit on the beach. Plenty of places selling hot doughnuts and candy floss and so on, plus there's a grim but excellent slot machine place on the pier with push-tuppence machines and sticky carpets, if you like that kind of thing once in a while (which I do).

The Southsea Beach Cafe (towards Eastney) is lovely, as is the Canteen, down at the hot walls end (Old Portsmouth). The promenade from end to end is about 4 miles so if the children are up for a hike you could do the whole thing in a day and it's wide for scooters etc.

If you get a sunny day, one thing that's lovely and not expensive is to get the Gosport ferry across and back. You could go to Explosion in Gosport to make it worthwhile but the best bit is coming back on the ferry in the afternoon when the sun is going golden on the Spice Island point.

The hovercraft to the IOW is interesting if you've never been on a hovercraft and is fun to watch take off. There's a horrible but v child-friendly cafe nearby called Mozzarella Joe's. The fair (seedy, properly English seasidey) is right by it.

Southsea Castle, where Henry VIII watched the Mary Rose sink, is interesting to visit or just to run around outside and very daring kids can ride scooters down Castle Hill and risk their teeth for adrenaline thrills.

There's definitely plenty to do for a few days and if you get the weather, it's great. A day trip to the IOW is well worth it too, if a bit dear. Hover is about £23 return per adult; the fast cat is about the same price but a bit slower. Not sure about car ferry prices. Parking is an absolute beast so practise your parallel parking for tiny spaces and come prepared to be mildly annoyed a lot of the time if driving around.

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Ninninannanoonoo · 23/03/2019 12:25

Sorry for the slight derailing but does Cumberland House still have taxidermy animals? Loved that place as a child.

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storynanny · 23/03/2019 12:28

You will have a lovely time, and go to Tenth Hole cafe ( near seafront near natural history museum and canoe lake) for cake!

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ElizabethinherGermanGarden · 23/03/2019 12:42

Haven't been to Cumberland House for a few years but I think it's changed quite a bit - the massive dinosaur has gone 😩

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Irunforcakeandfizz · 23/03/2019 12:46

@elizabeth the massive dinosaur at Cumberland house hasn't gone, unless it has in the last few weeks, it was there when we went in the February half term 😁

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Irunforcakeandfizz · 23/03/2019 12:51

@ninn yes there is still the taxidermy animals at Cumberland house

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Ninninannanoonoo · 23/03/2019 13:12

Thanks @Irun. Now having some happy memories of afternoons with my Dad and realising why I have a house full of taxidermy Grin

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ElizabethinherGermanGarden · 23/03/2019 13:45

Shock I'm so glad to hear about the dinosaur! My friend told me it had been taken away but that is glorious news!

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