I live in Southsea… and I LOVE living in Southsea, it’s the coolest place ever, a real hidden gem and I think it’s a marvellous place for a hen do. We don’t see lairy groups with L-plates and blow up penises very often which is a good thing in my book!
Southsea is part of Portsmouth (but don’t let that put you off), we have a lovely beach, a beautiful harbour, lots of quirky independent cafes, restaurants and bars, plenty of creatives offering workshops and some interesting shops.
If I was organising a hen weekend in Southsea (hint hint sister!) these are the places I’d consider including in my itinerary:
Firstly you’re going to need to consider accommodation. There is nowhere that stands out to me as an uber cool place to stay although I hear Becketts (who are a restaurant) are opening a hotel so that’s one to keep an eye on. I’d look at options on Airbnb or consider the good old Premier Inn, it’s in a brilliant location. The historic Queens Hotel has been taken over by new owners and is going through extensive modernisation, so again that’s one to check out and keep an eye on. I think there are some nice B&Bs in Old Portsmouth too and again, that’s a lovely location to be based.
Hen weekends are often focused around food and drink aren’t they so lets start there. For coffee/brunches/lunches I’d suggest Hunter Gatherer (on the infamous Albert Road), have a look at their social pages as they often have events on that may be worth checking out (plays, workshops, record sales and parties), The Tenth Hole (by the seafront and pitch and putt) makes all their cakes on the premises and THEY ARE TO DIE FOR. They also do breakfasts and people queue out the door (the queue goes quickly though so persevere). Southsea Coffee (Osborne Road) is an uber trendy hangout with a great choice of drinks and raw, healthy sweet treats. They also run a vegan supper club under the name Ginger & Peach and do outside catering (so if you’re looking for someone to cater at your accommodation this is a great option to consider). I also LOVE The Teatray (Osborne Road), they do breakfast, lunches and cakes and their interior is so cool, a modern take on vintage I’d say and Fark who runs it with his wife Nicky is big on the street art scene. You’ll see lots of his work around town and he organises for street artists from all over the UK and abroad to come to Southsea and collaborate. All About Tea (near the university) is a nice place to go too, it’s a bit off the beaten track but it’s cool because they make and sell a huge variety of tea on the premises. The Canteen at The Hotwalls is run by the people who run The Tenth Hole. It’s an amazing place right on the waterfront in an old barracks. You can sit outside with a blanket on your knees and watch the marine life going by!
Pie and Vinyl is one of my favourite places in the world for lunch (and it’s right opposite my flat which is dangerous). It’s a record store that sells pies – proper pies served on mismatched plates with mash and liquor. They serve cordial from teapots and sweet treats from Ginger & Peach. It’s the best. A great experience but again, it gets busy. Huis is a Belgian bar/restaurant on Elm Grove, they serve a variety of Belgian beers and some really tasty food. The decor is awesome too and there’s Lego to play with. The Fisherman’s Kitchen and Southsea Beach Cafe are run by the same people and really worth checking out. The Fisherman’s Kitchen has more of a takeaway vibe but could be perfect for a summer beach picnic, they’re SO much more than a fish and chip shop. Bubble & Pho on Albert Road is new but already a firm favourite of mine! Vietnamese food served in a really simple, minimal setting. The food is well priced and delicious. There really are SO many good places to go… I could go on. Oh there’s Rosie’s Wine Bar for Sunday lunch and live jazz music and The Kings Street Tavern is good for Sunday lunch too.
For yummy food and cocktails Two Doors Down springs to mind. They offer tapas style dishes from around the world in a super chic environment. The Bao Buns are my fave mmmmmm. Sant Yago is awesome for cocktails and tapas and they also run Old Toms which again is great for cocktails and small plates. Kassia offers cocktails and Indian tapas. Monty’s and Becketts offer a ‘bottomless brunch’ – unlimited drinks, gotta be a winner for a hen do!
For activities I’d suggest looking at Little Old Goose who offers brush lettering workshops, The Little Florist who offers flower crown workshops or maybe try your hand at paddle boarding? If you’re looking for some Zen check out LANO for yoga and Hooray for the Day Therapies.
If you want to do some shopping go and have a look in Bureau of Change for interior designy bits and gifty items like earrings etc. Strong Island is cool for t-shirts, sweatshirts and products from local designers and makers. The Hotwalls studios (where The Canteen is) is home to artist studios where you can watch them working and purchase their wares.
I feel like there are so many places I’ve missed but this is a great starting point. If you’d like me to organise a bespoke hen package for you please get in touch!
Cover image by www.johnnyblackphotography.co.uk
P.S. I love Southsea so much I created a magazine about it! Please click here to view the online issue.