IT’S better known for shops than sandcastles – but Gunwharf Quays has suddenly become a destination for beach-lovers.
Families have enjoyed using buckets and spades since the middle of the shopping centre became a sandy shore.
It was an unusual place to soak up the sun as the south sizzled in a mini heatwave.
Temperatures have hit around 75F (24C) as hot weather at the start of the school summer holidays makes up for a disappointing July.
But sun-seekers were urged to make the most of the high temperatures as rain is due to put a dampener on the summer holiday from Thursday.
The Gunwharf beach opened last week opposite Jamie Oliver’s new Italian restaurant.
The site will hold traditional seaside attractions over the next few weeks including sandcastle competitions and Punch and Judy shows.
Anthony Hutchings, 45, from Eastney, Southsea, was in the sunshine yesterday with four-year-old son Brennan.
He said: ‘It’s different and exciting because it’s something for me and my son to do while the wife goes and does her shopping!’
Met Office forecasters said Portsmouth would enjoy inland temperatures of up to 77F (25C) degrees today with only small patches of cloud appearing.
But rain will roll in from Thursday and is expected to continue through the weekend. Temperatures will drop to 68F (20C).
August as a whole is expected to be very similar to July, which saw a mix of very heavy rainfall and hot spells.
July saw around four millimetres more rain fall over the month than the average.
Dan Williams, a spokesman for the Met office, the UK’s weather service, said: ‘We urge everyone to enjoy the hot weather while they can because Thursday and Friday will be much wetter.’