Southsea seafront is a beautiful, four-mile long, open area to the south of Portsmouth and Southsea. It’s an area with a rich military and seafaring history. As recently as 1922, the land was owned by the War Department as an area for marshalling troops.
The houses, hotels, bars and shops of Southsea sprang up around the seafront but the open spaces of the common were preserved.
Southsea Seafront remembers D-Day
Clarence Esplanade snakes round from the old port and harbour area of Portsmouth. On the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the Southsea seafront provides an opportune spot for military vehicles to assemble.
Reenactors in full 1940s wear tend their US Jeep “General Purpose” motors. Vintage motorcycles and a recreated field hospital are among the attractions along the coastline.
As well as the displays, the seafront has seen an amphibious landing, a drumhead service and a show from the Red Arrows. Throughout the year, Southsea is a popular tourist resort with views across the Solent towards the Isle of Wight.
A wealth of military history
The seafront has been of major military importance since the 16th century. Henry VIII built Southsea Castle there as part of a series of coastal defences. Nearby, in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard lies the Mary Rose. Henry’s warship, which sank just off the coast.
The south coast of Hampshire was vital to Britain’s D-Day effort. The D-Day Museum on Clarence Esplanade is the UK’s only museum devoted entirely to the Normandy campaign.
Within the museum is the 83-metre long Overlord Tapestry, which tells the story of those involved in the operation in 1944. Tanks stand next to the tree-lined entrance of the museum, which is well worth a visit for anyone with an interest in World War Two.