Living in Gosport
PUBLISHED: 17:17 14 December 2010 | UPDATED: 16:41 20 February 2013
Gosport's Millennium waterfront is a great place to stroll and admire Portsmouth Harbour and is just one of the reasons why the town has become popular with buyers Words Jill Belcher
It was named Gods Port by a grateful Bishop of Winchester when he took shelter from a storm in the tiny seaside village in the early 12th century, but it was when England became a naval power that Gosport came into its own.
Major defences were already built by 1678 and in the 18th and 19th centuries the town continued its expansion. The last century saw Gosports Grange Airfield used to train pilots for World War II, while Haslar Creek was home to the coastal forces and HMS Dolphin the submarine services base.
The three-kilometre Millennium Promenade Waterfront, part of the Renaissance of Portsmouth Harbour Landmark Project, has terrific views of the harbour and its ships and won the 2001 Paviors Award
Stokes Bay, Beach Street and Hardway were three of the major embarkation points for D-Day and in the post-war period the area was still much-used by the Royal Navy, while thousands of naval families lived nearby.
But the 1990s saw the gradual closure of defence establishments and a decline in the defence manufacturing industries which had supported the town. New industries sprang up and while boat-building has survived, there was also a boom in marinas.
Today new housing developments and a growing population has attracted major supermarkets to Gosport, while the town retains a thriving market which must have one of the best views in the south. Every Tuesday and Saturday you can see Portsmouth Harbour and the Spinnaker Tower while browsing up to 60 stalls in the High Street.
The three-kilometre Millennium Promenade Waterfront, part of the Renaissance of Portsmouth Harbour Landmark Project, has terrific views of the harbour and its ships and won the 2001 Paviors Award. Gosport has three marinas, making it the busiest sailing destination along the south and south-west coastal regions.
In the centre of town, Gosport Discovery Centre combines a traditional local library with opportunities for learning and leisure, while Explosion! The Museum of Naval Firepower is an award-winning facility at Priddys Hard and the superb Royal Navy Submarine Museum is just a short walk from the main shopping area.
The attractive area of Alverstoke, which has a fine Georgian crescent, has always been popular with house-hunters as has Stokes Bay, with its beach, sailing club and views across to the Isle of Wight.
As well as being convenient for sailors, golfers enjoy Gosport and Stokes Bay Golf Club, a true links nine-hole course which tests all abilities. If you just want peace and quiet, the Alver Valley Country Park is the place to find it, with its wildlife and walks.
"Stoke Bay is fantastic for running and it has two cafeterias, crazy golf, tennis and a paddling pool - really good place for families. We have a vintage car festival, fireworks...I love Gosport!"
You will find a wide variety of primary schools within the Gosport area as well as three secondary schools: Bridgemary Community Sports College which has specialist status in sports; Brune Park Community College with specialist status in performing arts; and Bay House School, which has a sixth-form.
Residents who work in Portsmouth avoid the busy northbound A32 with a short-cut using the Gosport Ferry, which takes just four minutes to reach Portsmouth and welcomes motorbikes as well as pedestrians and cyclists. For fast trains to London, Portsmouth Harbour Station will speed you to Waterloo in about one hour and 40 minutes. Its five miles to Fareham and the M27, to travel west to Southampton or east to Portsmouth.
Its a four-minute ride on the Gosport Ferry across Portsmouth Harbour to the Gunwharf Quays shopping centre, if youre feeling active you can play golf at Gosport and Stokes Bay Golf Club, walk in Carters Copse Heritage Area or ice-skate at Gosports ice rink.
Excellent base for sailing
Short hop to Portsmouth
Great variety of housing
Comprehensive shopping centre
Superb views of the Solent
Why I live in Gosport
Mancunian Mary Leask fell in love with Gosport when she joined the Royal Navy and, apart from a posting to Scotland, has lived here ever since with her family. A senior admin officer at a local primary school, she is also a keen marathon runner, completing the London Marathon and the Bristol Half-Marathon last year and she enjoys training in the Stokes Bay area. She says people who commute to Gosport often fail to see the best parts of the town and get the wrong impression about what it is like to live here.
Stokes Bay is fantastic for running and it has two cafeterias, crazy golf, tennis and a paddling pool its really a good place for families. There are plenty of family activities in the town which you can find out about by visiting the Discovery Centre. We have a vintage car festival, fireworks, all sorts of things for families to enjoy together. I really love Gosport!