Beaches, piers and parks
Life outside study
When you live in Portsmouth, you'll have an abundance of natural playgrounds on your doorstep. The Solent is to the south, South Downs National Park to the north and the New Forest to the west.
When you live in our halls of residence you'll be close to Southsea seafront and the beach. The 3-mile long promenade takes you from Old Portsmouth to Eastney Beach. Plan a walk at the right time in the evening and watch the sunset over the Solent.
The seafront is the perfect place to spend hot summer afternoons with friends. Living by the sea means you can swim on hot days and do water sports like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.
Behind the seafront promenade you'll find Southsea common.
The common is a 3-minute cycle or 12-minute walk from the centre of campus.
South Parade Pier
South Parade Pier is the second pier along Southsea seafront and the only pier to extend out over the sea. It was opened in 1879 and has an arcade, restaurants and the Gaiety Bar where you can attend glamorous events, dinners and music festivals.
You can get to South Parade Pier from campus in 10 minutes by bike, or 35 minutes walking.
Clarence Pier has a classic seaside arcade and rides, including an iconic ferris wheel overlooking the Solent. Spend the day playing crazy golf or ten-pin bowling. Grab some candy floss and enjoy one of the largest amusement parks on the South Coast.
It takes 15 minutes to walk to Clarence Pier from the centre of campus or 5 minutes by bike.
Walk along the seafront and you'll come across most of Portsmouth's fortifications including Southsea Castle, the Round Tower and Square Tower in Old Portsmouth. Portsmouth was one of the most fortified cities in the world by the 19th Century.
You can walk to the Square Tower from the centre of campus in 15 minutes or cycle there in 5 minutes.
Parks in Portsmouth
You'll always find green open space wherever you live. Victoria Park is close to the centre of campus making it the perfect place for lunch in the sun. Further away from campus, visit Milton Common and Alexandra Park.
Canoe Lake is a popular park close to the seafront where you can ride the lake on a pedal boat shaped like a swan, relax in the cafe and much more.
You can get to Canoe Lake from the centre of campus in 10 minutes by bike, or 35 minutes walking.
Beside our Catherine House halls, Victoria Park is a popular, peaceful space where you can revise in the sun, have a picnic lunch, or feed some of the animals. The park's aviary has exotic birds include peacocks and parrots as well as rabbits and guinea pigs.
Alexandra Park is in the north-west of Portsea Island. Visit the park to walk, relax with friends, use the cycle path, or play cricket, hockey, football or American Football on the playing fields. The Mountbatten Centre sports complex is in the park.
This large park is built on the grounds of a former lake and has 3 small freshwater lakes. The Solent Way, a 60-mile walk, crosses the park.
Milton Common is a great place to spot wildlife. The freshwater lakes have frogs, toads and newts and attract swallows, swifts, house martins and dragonflies in summer. The native grasses of the common feed caterpillars and field voles, which attract kestrels, owls and foxes.
The council website has a list of common species found on Milton Common.
Baffins Pond and Tangier Field are north of Milton Common. You'll find 5-a-side playing fields and wild birds and plants. Buy grain in local shops to feed the ducks and wildfowl.
The Hilsea Lines are 18th and 19th century fortifications reclaimed by nature. They're a wild place for walking and getting fresh air in the north of the city.
Portsmouth City Council has information on self-guided walks along Hilsea Lines.
There are many nature reserves around Portsmouth and in Hampshire. You'll find the closest reserves on this map from Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.
Milton Locks is south of Milton Common, part of Langstone Harbour and home to starlings, house sparrows, butterflies, grasshoppers and crickets. There's a small wood with plants only found in saltmarsh.
A flagship reserve of the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, you can walk the 2.5-mile path around the marshes to see many different birds – including dark–bellied brent geese, redshanks, short–eared owls, warblers and wheatears. Visit the Trust's website for more information on the wildlife and to download an illustrated map.
Eastney beach is a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC). The plant life on the shingle includes nationally rare plants. These plants also act as a valuable roosting and feeding area for birds.
Other nature reserves close to Portsmouth include Langstone Harbour, Chichester Harbour, Broadmarsh Coastal Park, Wildgrounds (Gosport) and Priddy's Hard (Gosport).
If you want an aerial view of Portsmouth to watch the sunset or experience bonfire night, head to Portsdown Hill. You'll need a bicycle or a car (or a friend with a car) to get up there. But the view on a clear day or night is worth it. If you forget to take a picnic, grab a bite from Mick's Monster Burgers – more of a local landmark than a burger van.
Just a short drive off Portsea island, you'll find yourself in the New Forest or South Downs National Park. These national parks are the perfect place to go for a hike, explore the wildlife and take a break from the city.
South Downs National Park
South Downs National Park is the largest national park on the South Coast. It covers more than 1,600 square kilometres and passes through Hampshire, West Sussex and East Sussex.
Perfect for long walks and hikes, cycling and horse-riding, the park hosts events throughout the year including bonfire celebrations in Lewes, Opera at Glyndebourne and the Chichester Festival.
New Forest National Park
The New Forest National Park is another great place for walking and hiking in nature. There are dedicated walking and cycling paths, and an open bus tour along scenic routes.
The New Forest has many conservation projects to protect the extensive wildlife that live there, including wild horses, hares, deer, bats, butterflies, reptiles and wading birds. You can get involved in these projects or experience the culture and history of the national park at their events.
The New Forest also has many historic houses and buildings.
Find out more about life in Portsmouth
Take a closer look at more of the exciting things on offer in our amazing city.
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