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Our Living In Southsea guide will give you an idea of what life is like in the area – from local services and history to the kind of entertainment and sport activities that are on offer.
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What Is Life Like In Southsea?
The coastal town of Southsea is located on Portsea Island, just east of Old Portsmouth and two miles south of central Portsmouth. Bustling with independent shops and eateries as well as boutique B&Bs, Southsea has a similar atmosphere to Brighton with delightfully colourful seafront townhouses and historic Edwardian homes.
With a population of only 18,500, Southsea is a retreat with a magnificent coastline, museums, shopping and entertainment for residents. There are plenty of tourist attractions to distinguish the town from the nearby city of Portsmouth – including the Blue Reef Aquarium and impressive Southsea Castle. You can expect to pay between £350,000 and £400,000 for a four-bedroom Victorian or Edwardian town house a little back from the seafront, and £120,000 to £150,000 for a two or three-bedroom terraced dockworkers’ house. Home to a number of famous literary figures including Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling and Arthur Conan Doyle , Southsea is a fantastic location for quiet respite with close links to Portsmouth and London.
History Of Southsea
Portsea Island was used as a defensive port by the Romans as early as 297 AD. Later abandoned, the site went unused for a number of years before a smattering of Anglo Saxons established a defensive burh or hill, and later another castle. The city of Portsmouth still has strong naval ties, which can be viewed at The Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Portsmouth harbour.
Southsea Castle was built along the mouth of the river Solent by King Henry VIII. The castle was completed in 1544. It was used by Parliament in the Civil War to fire its guns upon the city of Portsmouth. It wasn’t until 1809 when a new suburb began to grow that Southsea as it is known today began to take shape.
Days Out In Southsea
With close ties to the city of Portsmouth and an established student population from Portsmouth University, Southsea is well catered for and offers plenty of opportunities for days out.
Explore the Millennium Promenade linking Southsea seafront with the attractions of Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard. Walk the Dickens Trail which winds through the many historic literary landmarks around Portsmouth and Southsea. Wander around the Portsmouth D-Day museum and see the Overlord Embroidery centrepiece for an artistic recreation of the D-Day landings. You can hop on a hovercraft from Southsea’s Clarence Pier terminal and be in Ryde on the Isle of Wight within 10 minutes.
Visit the South Parade Pier for a day or evening out with music and amusements. The pier offers a seafront nightclub venue. The Victorious Festival is held on Southsea’s seafront during the summer, with an eclectic mix of talent performing across the town on several stages. The festival has hosted acts such as Razorlight, Seastick Steve, Super Furry Animals and Dizzee Rascal, among many others.
Things To Do In Southsea
Southsea sets itself apart from the neighbouring Portsmouth with its own variety of independent and chain shops lining its high street. The Kings Theatre offers a mix of professional and amateur shows, plays, ballet, opera and music in an impressive Edwardian theatre. For some leisure centre fun, the Pyramids Centre offers swimming, a wave pool, water slides and inflatable pool features. It also boasts an impressively outfitted gym and spa, and a soft play adventure world that includes mazes, climbing nets and ball pits.
There are a plenty of opportunities for wining and dining, including a mix of traditional and student pubs and bars. The Wine Vaults, The Fat Fox, and The Honest Politician are three of the friendliest and best named places to drink in the town, but you can expect great food from The Belle Isle and Restaurant 27 - Southsea’s only Michelin-Starred eatery.
Schools In Southsea
Southsea has a number of schools and educational facilities.
Pre-schools and nurseries include:
- Fledglings pre-school
- Goldsmith Day Nursery
- Flying Start Nursery
Primary schools include:
- Cottage Grove Primary School
- Goldsmith Infant School
- Craneswater Junior School
- Fernhurst Junior School
Secondary schools include:
- Mayville High School
Transport In Southsea
Southsea has a wide range of excellent transport links.
Portsmouth & Southsea is the nearest railway station, although Fratton is also within commuting distance of the town.
Buses and coaches
Local bus services run as far afield as Southampton and day passes can be purchased for £4.80 for travel around Hampshire.
By air and sea
Portsmouth has international and national ferries leaving from its port. The nearest international airport is London Gatwick, at just 46 mile away. Alternatively Southampton Airport is 16 miles away and has a range of international flights.
Southampton is easily accessible by car via the M275, M27 and A27. The M3 or A3 will bring you to Portsmouth directly from London.