Blue Reef Aquarium and Dockyard
Yesterday I bought some tickets to Portsmouth on the train ready for our day out today at the Blue Reef Aquarium and Dockyard. It was one of those times I wish I hadn't been so organised and (a) chosen another day to go or (b) just driven there spur of the moment. You see, the problems started when we got to the station. The previous train was cancelled, our train was 'delayed' (with no arrival time at our station yet) and the only one running was an all stopping train. We got on that on the advice of the station staff and headed off. It was already delayed by 30 minutes so not a good start. Almost 2 hours later we arrived at Southsea (we couldn't get as far as Portsmouth). Off we hopped and found out where the buses go to the seafront and hopped on (I'd got bus extra cards with the tickets for both sides of the journey).
Upon arriving, we had a nice little walk to the aquarium itself. It wasn't very big but it won my vote because just inside the entrance area were seahorses - my favourite creature. We walked all the way around quite quickly. I have to confess it's not that exciting but then again, other than the Aquarium in Monterey, I've not found any to be that great. However, once we were done, we went back in.
About half way around the aquarium is a lovely play area for children, with even a little cafe to buy lollies and snacks. We had our picnic and the girls enjoyed 3/4 of an hour play. Sadly, I hadn't thought about swimming costumes or a towel so just told them not to get too wet. That worked....not! Never mind, I'm sure they'd dry off as we walked along the seafront in the sunshine.
We got an ice cream from a gelatto stand - which was the best I've eaten - and then walked a bit further up to sit down and finish them whilst watching the ferries coming and going. The girls were freezing so it was a quick change out of their wet shorts and t-shirts into their leggings and cardigans. Oh well, better than nothing.
They had never seen a hovercraft so we watched one arrive and leave. They loved it. I thought it would be fun for us to go on a return trip to the IoW but when I checked the prices, it would have been almost £50 for us all which was far too much for a 10 minute each way journey.
We walked along a bit further to the arcades (which I avoided like the plague - they just got their photo taken in the car without me putting money in - meanie huh) and then got the bus over to the dockyard.
Not really too worried about doing this again as we've seen it a few times now but we have an annual pass that's about to expire so worth another look around. We just pottered over to HMS Victory and then to the NMRN where they could do their favourite thing - dress up!
Homeward bound we got the 2.59 train from Portsmouth and sat and waited. The 3.15 train was cancelled so those passengers boarded our waiting train. Then we waited some more. Finally we were off...for 400 metres until we stopped again as there was 'congestion' from trains further ahead of us. Oh joy. Having diverted the train around every station to Timbuktu and back again, we finally arrived at our station some 2hrs 40mins later. To say it was not a good journey was an understatement. Missed the bus that didn't bother to wait for our frantic waving and just left and had to wait another 10 minutes for the next one. So it was fish and chips for tea that ended the day rather nicely.
Next time I'm going to pre-book some public transport, someone stop me!