Frontage 4

SOUTHSEA CASTLE

Frontage 4 of the Southsea Coastal Scheme is the area around Southsea Castle. It stretches from Serpentine square (Blue Reef Aquarium) to The Pyramids.

Work in this area commenced in January 2022 and was completed and opened to the public in May 2024.

Southsea Castle

watch our highlights video here

Highlights in the area around Southsea Castle

  • 145 000 tonnes of rock imported and placed to make up the new sea defences
  • A 96m rock groyne constructed to reduce beach erosion
  • Split-level promenade known as the ‘Theatre of the Sea’
  • 45 tide pools installed
  • Historic elements incorporated into the design with interpretation signage
  • Enhanced lighting and seating, including fully accessible seating
  • Refurbishment of the bandstand in Bandstand Field
  • A boulder garden for children to enjoy
  • Wildflower gardens and bee posts

THE DESIGN DETAILS

Frontage 4 was designed to take the unique heritage of the area around Southsea Castle into consideration.

The primary defence is a rock revetment, designed to dissipate wave energy, and a small concrete wall to minimise overtopping the promenade and offer a safety barrier towards the rock. Around Southsea Castle, an innovative split-level promenade has enhanced views across the Solent. This has also minimised loadings on the castle tunnels and reduced overtopping. The secondary defences are formed of existing high ground and reinforced concrete walls.

The fresh landscaping strategy includes a mix of timber seating arrangements including picnic and swing benches as well as table to accommodate wheelchair users. Wildflower areas, bee posts and tide pools will help to boost biodiversity. Boulder play areas and sound tubes add interest and excitement for children. Combined with new lighting, the area around Southsea Castle area has become a more relaxing, exciting and enjoyable place to spend time.

aerial image near Southsea Castle prior to work starting
BEFORE (2022)
aerial image of finished work near Southsea Castle
AFTER (2024)
aerial image near Southsea Castle prior to work starting
BEFORE (2022)
aerial image of finished work near Southsea Castle
AFTER (2024)

A THEATRE OF THE SEA

Southsea Castle is a nationally important, multi-period monument attesting to the strategic importance of this coastline between the 16th-20th centuries.
The design of Frontage 4 improves the openness and accessibility around the castle and along the seafront. It now provides better sea views and will enhance the way that the castle is showcased in its historic setting.
A split-level promenade including terracing between the upper and lower promenade will replace the existing walkway around Southsea Castle. This will feature a 4m-wide upper promenade, seating tiers and a 6m-wide lower promenade. The lower level promenade will offer safer and closer proximity to the sea.
A terraced design was selected because it has more scope to preserve and enhance the Southsea Castle area. We aim to highlight Southsea Castle and the area’s military significance through sensitive choice of materials, better accessibility and increased public vantage points.
The materials used for the terraces of the new promenade will clearly separate Southsea Castle and the promenade, complementing the castle’s existing tones while maintaining its prominence in the area. 
Features such as the split-level promenade has significant benefits in enhancing this area both socially and aesthetically, contributing greatly to making it a ‘theatre of the sea’.

aerial image near Southsea Castle prior to work starting
BEFORE (2022)
aerial image of finished work near Southsea Castle
AFTER (2024)
aerial image near Southsea Castle prior to work starting
BEFORE (2022)
aerial image of finished work near Southsea Castle
AFTER (2024)

fly with us over the finished area

watch the new improved lighting in action