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Stretching from Old Portsmouth in the east to the conservation area of Eastney in the west, Portsmouth’s seafront is one of the most popular areas of the city. Enjoyed by visitors and residents alike, this four-mile stretch of coastline is home to beautiful beaches, historic fortifications, family attractions and a long promenade with views over the harbour and Solent.

Next to the beach and seafront promenade is Southsea Common – a vast open space, ideal for spending time with family and friends, kite flying, informal ball games and picnics. There are also designated barbecue zones on the common.

Click on the links below to discover more about the seafront and plan your visit. You can also read about the council plans to further develop the seafront.

To contact the seafront team: email seafront.services@portsmouthcc.gov.uk or phone 023 9282 8112.

Using the Seafront

Lots of different people work hard to make sure the seafront is a safe, clean and enjoyable place for everyone who uses it, from the lifeguards and gardeners to community wardens and local volunteers who organise beach litter picks.

Help us look after the space for everyone who visits and protect the coastline. If you’re visiting the seafront, walk, cycle or use public transport if you can and put your rubbish in the bin or take it home.

If you’re meeting up with friends and family, please stick to the latest coronavirus rules and advice, make space for other if you’re in a busy spot and be considerate of everyone who is sharing the space.

Sport and play areas on the seafront

There are two play areas along the seafront for children of all ages, as well as Southsea Skatepark catering for skateboarders, in-line skaters and BMX bikers. You will also find a cricket pitch, tennis courts, bowling greens, pitch and putt and beach volleyball. There are three beach volleyball courts, opposite The D-Day Story, that are free to use for the community. If you are using these facilities, please be considerate of others and share the space safely and fairly.

On a warm day, children can have fun in our splash pools – Southsea splash pool on Clarence Esplanade and the Canoe Lake splash pad. Please check for opening before visiting to avoid disappointment.

Attractions on the seafront

There are plenty of places to visit, attractions to enjoy and fun to be had along the seafront.

Family fun. Youngsters and the young at heart can enjoy a fun-filled day at the seafront, making the most of the beaches and much-loved attractions like Clarence Pier, South Parade Pier and Canoe Lake. You can get a bird’s-eye view across Portsmouth Harbour and the Solent beyond from the top of the iconic Spinnaker Tower.

Discover history. A walk along Portsmouth’s seafront is a trip though the city’s past. Explore the cobbled streets of Old Portsmouth, Southsea Castle and the World War Two landing craft at The D-Day Story museum. Why not follow the Millennium Promenade trail? Find the chain link paving stones and stroll through the cobbled streets of Old Portsmouth and along 3km of Portsmouth’s historic seafront.

Relax on Southsea Common. With plenty of space, the common is the perfect place to relax and get together with friends and family. Have you walked along the tree-lined Ladies Mile? If you’re having a BBQ there are dedicated BBQ zones with BBQ-friendly bins.

Tuck in to something tasty. You’ll find lots of tempting treats on offer from the many cafes, restaurants and pop-up food kiosks along the seafront – from classic fish and chips, coffees and ice-creams to more exotic flavours.

Day at the beach. Head to Eastney beach. This shingle beach is a valuable habitat containing nationally rare species and distinct from other stretches of beach along the seafront. Enjoy the peaceful beach and keep your eyes peeled for a wide range of seabirds.

To find out more about all seafront attractions and events follow the link to Visit Portsmouth.

Safe swimming areas and water safety

If you’re planning to take a dip in the sea, please stick to the areas which have been identified as the safest places to swim by the RNLI.

The Portsmouth & Southsea voluntary lifeguards operate at weekends between the Pyramids and South Parade Pier from late May. From July, RNLI lifeguards will be on duty seven days a week, based out of three seasonal stations, between The Pyramids and Eastney Beach.

Swimming between the Blue Reef Aquarium and Hovertravel is no longer deemed safe, due to changes to the foreshore which have led to a steep drop off from the beach. Warning signs are in place here and near the Hotwalls warning of the risks of swimming in these areas. It is safest to swim in areas patrolled by lifeguards.

If you are planning to swim please remember:

  • Always swim between the red and yellow flags
  • Don’t swim in areas displaying warning signs or a red flag
  • Make sure you know the risks of swimming in the sea from rip currents, big waves, fast moving tides and cold water
  • Do not use inflatables in the sea as you can easily be swept out away from the beach and into danger
  • Cold water can seriously affect your breathing and movement. If you’re planning to swim, check the conditions and think about wearing a wetsuit
  • If you enter the water unexpectedly, relax and float, keep calm and signal for help

If you’re in an emergency situation or spot someone else in trouble, you should call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

You can read more about staying safe when you visit the beach on the RNLI website.

First aid

For first aid in the summer months please go to any of the Lifeguard or RNLI stations along the seafront. There are several defibrillators along the seafront that are outside and accessible 24 hours a day in an emergency, including at the Eastney toilet block and outside The Pyramids Centre. Download the Save a Life app so that you can find your nearest point in an emergency.

Dogs on the beach

From 1 May dogs can’t go on the beach at the Hotwalls or the area between Southsea Castle and the Royal Marines statue on Eastney Esplanade. This is to help keep the beaches clean and safe for beachgoers over the warmer months. There are lots of other dog-friendly spots along the coastline and around the city to explore with four-legged friends until these beaches reopen to dogs from 1 October.

BBQ Zones

If you’re planning a BBQ with friends and family at the seafront, please use the designated BBQ zones on Southsea Common. These areas are set up for BBQs with dedicated bins and plenty of open space, where it is safe to start the BBQ.

If you are having a BBQ, please do so safely by following these rules:

  • Use one of our dedicated BBQ zones
  • If you’re using a disposable BBQ, make sure your BBQ is fully extinguished and cold before putting it in a bin
  • Take your cold BBQ home to throw away or put it in a BBQ bin in the BBQ zones on the common – they are black with a red top
  • Find a place away from fire risks like hedges and make sure you have a secure, level base or stand
  • Do not leave your BBQ unattended
  • Keep children, pets and ball games away from the BBQ
  • Do not light your BBQ with petrol or any other flammable material that is not specifically recommended

Beach huts

Beach huts give families a great opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Southsea beachfront. They are available to hire, on a weekly basis, for residents and visitors to Portsmouth and are a great way to get a taste for what it’s like to have your very own beach hut.

The beach huts are currently fully booked for summer 2021 but there is availability from the start of September. To find out more information, including prices and to check the latest availability please email seafront.services@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

The waiting list for annual hire is currently closed. Once the waiting list has reduced it will be reopened.

Getting to the seafront

If you’re visiting the seafront it’s best to come on foot, by bike or public transport if you can.

My Journey can help with your travel choices, whether you’re looking for information about local cycle routes, walking maps or links to Portsmouth’s public transport network.

BBQ zones and tips

Parks and seafront charges 2020-2021