Southsea was made for the summer – Kate Thompson talks to people who make their living along the seafront, what they love about being beside the seaside and their plans for the summer…
A magnet for the old and young, Southsea seafront is the perfect place to escape the confines of home, and wallow in the warmth of a summers day by the sea.
And there really is something for everyone with the kiss-me-quick fun of South Parade Pier, and the cool vibe of Southsea Beach Café.
A recent survey claims that Portsmouth is the UK’s most body confident city, with 75% of the residents surveyed saying they had few qualms about their appearance, so it stands to reason that these proud locals will be heading to the promenade to strut their stuff*.
“I love people watching,” confided Melanie Smith, who has been running Beaches N’ Cream selling a variety of hot and cold drinks, snacks, ice creams, and milkshakes for the past three years. “The beach is the best place to be – it’s such a happy place.
A former stewardess with Gulf Air, Melanie has always enjoyed working with people.
“The best part about running a business on the beach is you get to meet so many new people. There’s always something going on at the pier or on the Common – people are on holiday, or out for the day as a family.
“It always puts a big smile on my face.”
Just along the promenade heading towards Eastney, Salim Miah has been running the Indian Food Hut for the past six years. Along with more traditional fare, he serves delicious pakora and onion bhajis.
“A lot of people are now asking for halal food such as halal chips, and I have plenty of regular customers.
“People like the fact that the beach is clean and they can park easily – it attracts people from different ethnic groups.
“They like to come down from London for the day to enjoy the seaside,” he said.
At the popular Southsea Beach Café, manager Ben Truman is looking forward to a busy summer.
“We can’t wait to get the roof off and let the sunshine in,” he said.
Their popular barbecues on the beach on Friday and Saturday nights are back, along with pop-up nights featuring the likes of Shellfish and Soul nights and live music.
On South Parade Pier, Max Hiatt at Tea on Sea is keen to attract even more customers when their new decking area opens.
“It will transform what we can do here. We will be able to cater for 72 people – people can stop for coffee and cake, or churros and crêpes, and we hope it will attract even more people to come here,” he said.
One person with an eagle-eye view of everything going on at the beach is Olga, who has just moved from the Midlands into a penthouse retirement apartment at Savoy House opposite South Parade Pier.
Her balcony offers the perfect position to watch the world go by, aided by the soothing sound of waves lapping on the shore.
“I do love the view, and the fact it is always changing depending on the weather and the time of day.
“I’m really looking forward to being here in the summer and making the most of being so close to the beach,” she said.
*Survey of Britain’s most body confidence cities, taken by MYA OnePoll Survey. Portsmouth polled no.1 out of 15 UK cities as the city with the most body confident population, with 75% of residents rating themselves as very, or somewhat confident about their appearance
How was that shot?
The aerial image was taken by Solent Sky Services, (SSS). Sara Woods of SSS describes how it was shot and the safety guidelines followed. “We sent our remotely controlled drone 100m high in the air and about 50m out from Southsea Castle, which is where we angled the camera and aircraft to capture 8 5.2k images, which were stitched into the panorama. Just like any aircraft we check our drone before take off, landing and during the flight, we had to ensure we were not putting anyone, or other aircraft in danger. Our take off and landing was monitored and kept clear for our pilot, by our spotter.”
Solent Sky Services uses the latest technology and drone equipment to provide images for promotions, special events, including weddings and sailing competitions, along with surveying properties. Call 023 9387 9555 www.solentskyservices.co.uk
Melanie Smith of Beaches N’ Cream. Photo: Sarah Brown
Tea on Sea. Photo: Maison Manning
Southsea Beach Cafe. Photo: Sarah Brown