Canoe lake is located in Southsea, but with the amount of things going on, it certainly needs its own write up. If you have smaller kids in the mix, you would be mad not to make a visit here if in Portsmouth.
Dating back to 1886, Canoe lake epitmomises the Victorian era of having fun by the sea. The main attraction is a boating lake where you can hire a giant swan or duck to peddle around the lake - 20 mins for 8 mins and you can fit upto 5 people makes it great value for money. Its also well known for crabbing and so you'll see lots of children suspending their fishing lines and nets from the side - you can buy all the paraphernalia from the shop next to the lake.
Next to the lake is a huge children playground where you'll find lots of things to climb on, swings, a zipwire, sandpit and, a mini water park where kids can run in and out of jets of water coming out of the ground - they LOVE it! This is all free of charge and set out over quite a large area and so even on a busy day, it doesn't feel over crowded. During the summer months, there are additional things to do, including a trampoline and bouncy castle slide - again reasonably priced.
There are a couple of cafe's on site. One is your more traditional set up with burgers and chips and of course ice-cream - lots of unusual flavours, good quality and waffle cones! The Cafe on the green is more of a traditional cafe offering light lunches - the food is well presented and looks out onto green tennis courts which is great on a summers day.
There is plenty of green space around the lake to lay out your picnic and during the summer months you'll see lots of families doing just that - its great and you can make a full day of it with children running around having a great time. You are also just across from the promenade and so if you fancy a dip in the sea, you are not far away and just adds another element to the day.
Last but not least, you also have easy access to the Portsmouth's Natural History Museum at Cumberland House - free entry, it is a museum dedicated to the natural world surrounding Portsmouth. During the summer months you'll find a butterfly farm and aquarium set up in there.
Parking (you need to pay) and toilets are on site.