Treat yourself to a coastal break

What could be more British than a seaside holiday? Our breaks to everywhere from Blackpool to Bognor have taken on an iconic status and show what it truly is to be British. Portsmouth is keeping up this tradition, with an offering that's most certainly coastal, but which also offers that bit more than knotted hankies, kiss-me-quick hats and sticks of rock.

The island city

Let's address the main issue first and foremost - if you want a coastal break, you won't find any cities around the UK better positioned. We do, after all, have a coastline all the way around Portsmouth, what with us being an island and all. Though Portsea Creek (which separates us from the mainland) is hardly oceanic, it does offer waterside walks around the entire city. From the industrialised west to the scenic east; the peaceful north to the touristy south, we are a truly coastal city, with the waterside bordering us at all corners.

This isn't just a selling point; our USP. Instead, it's proof positive that Portsmouth has coastal areas for all different people and all their requirements. If you want to spend the afternoon at a traditional funfair, replete with waltzer rides and 2p nudgers, then head to Clarence Pier just along from Old Portsmouth. Here you can buy candyfloss, doughnuts, sticks of rock and postcards, to really keep up with the seaside tradition. Alternatively, you can head up to the walks through Foxes Forest and alongside Portchester Creek, to get away from the fairground hubbub and into some peaceful territory. Whatever you want from your coastal day out, there are areas that are certain to fit the bill.

Port sport

Of course, there's little point being surrounded on all sides by the water if you're not going to do something with it. As it turns out, we have plenty on offer for those who don't just want to look at the water, but get out onto it.

For a white-knuckle experience on the water, why not try your hand at South Coast Wakeboarding, where a pulley system gets you up to speed so you can hit the ramps and rails to get a bit of air time. If you'd prefer someone else to do the manoeuvring, you could always opt for a power boat ride in the Solent, where you get to experience all the fun of being out at sea, but on a ride that's tailored more to thrill seekers than sightseers.

Alternatively, there are sailing clubs dotted across Portsmouth and the wider area which host regular open days where anybody can try their hand at water sports. Whether you're a total beginner or a seasoned sea dog, these open days welcome everyone to give it a try.

We are sailing

If all the adventure sports sound a bit hectic, don't worry, as there are plenty more coastal activities on offer that give you more time to enjoy the scenery. The Gosport Ferry, for example, runs frequent 'Scenic Solent Cruises', with themed trips running throughout the year. Whether you want to experience the sound of a steel band, the fireworks at Cowes or a cream tea on the Solent Forts, there's a cruise option available.

Alternately, why not charter a boat and head out to catch your supper on a fishing trip? There are numerous marinas across Portsmouth and the wider area where you can charter a boat to spend a day on the water resting, enjoying, and waiting for a nibble.

Inside, looking out

You don’t have to be on the water to enjoy it, of course. In fact, some of the city's most popular attractions have thrived thanks to their views out to sea. Take the Emirates Spinnaker Tower, which offers views of up to 23 miles on a good day, overlooking Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight and The Solent.

Alternatively, the likes of The Still and West, Mozarella Joe's, Southsea Beach Café and The Canteen all do a roaring trade from people wanting some food or drink with a view that's second to none.

Whether you're looking to get out onto the water, or simply take in its splendour from dry land, Portsmouth is the perfect location for a coastal break.

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