In a recent poll of the happiest places for children to live in the United Kingdom, Portsmouth came fourth.
Just ahead of us were Sheffield, Leeds and Norwich, which took the top spot.
Since I became a father to my daughters Caitlin and Alyssa, I’ve often felt lucky to be able to bring them up in a city that caters very well for children.
As a Portsmouth boy myself and someone who was born in the city and have lived here all my life, it’s often quite nice to do things here with my daughters that I used to do myself as a child. For example, standing on the seafront in Southsea and picking up the best stones to try to skim them into the foamy waves. Or when the waves recede, you follow them down and run for your life when they come back at you – such fun.
Then there’s something my daughters love doing – swimming, particularly at the Pyramids Centre, which is a place I’d spend most Saturdays when I was a child. They love riding down the blue and green slides, just like I did 20 years before.
Another thing that makes this city a great and fun place for children is the amount of play parks on offer. There’s the incredibly popular park next to Canoe Lake in Southsea, just a stone’s throw away from the seafront. With pedal boats and a water play area, it’s a perfect place to take the kids.
Then there’s the park next to Baffins Pond in Portsmouth, a favourite with my daughters with its huge slide and monkey bars right next to the stunning pond with all the wildlife that call it their home.
I get to relive all the things I loved during my childhood in Portsmouth through my daughters and it’s great to see them having fun here.
So well done Portsmouth for coming fourth, although in my opinion we’re definitely number one.