If I had visited Portsmouth Museum before my stroll between the Round Tower and the Square Tower, I would have thought the railway poster depicting a mother and child soaking up the sun on the beach at “Porstmouth and Southsea” was the most outrageous exaggeration in advertising history. The type, more than anything, implies that you are more likely to find sunbathers in Southsea rather than Portsmouth, but my walk didn’t take in Southsea, so I can safely say that 100% of the sun worshippers I spotted that day were in Portsmouth. I had walked from the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, through the Gunwharf Quay, passed the Isle of Wight car ferry terminal and navigated my way to Tower Alley and the Round Tower, part of Portsmouth’s historic defences. Great views of the harbour entrance were to be expected, a fortification without great views of the harbour would be worse than useless, but I didn’t expect to see a beach!
As you can see, it is small, but perfectly formed. I made a point of walking along the beach, despite being rather overdressed (I must remember to bring my swimming shorts next time; just in case it happens to be a similarly beautiful day). It is almost like the walls and towers are keeping out all the distractions of the city and the commercial aspects of the real seaside, whilst allowing people in to enjoy the Sun; that burning orb that gives everything on this planet life [I have a feeling that there are things that live in the darkest, deepest, oceans and darkest, deepest, caves, but “almost everything” sounds a lot less poetic].
If you like long walks along the shore you might want to consider going else where, but if you’re in Portsmouth and you don’t fancy going as far as Southsea to get sand in your shoes, head for the Round Tower. Beach is in what I think is referred to as “Old Portsmouth”, so if you’ve had enough of historic ships or shopping head round the harbour as I did (preferably on a sunny Summers day) to this unique corner of England.