Hampshire Beach Guide
In 1958 a 12 year old school boy called Peter Chilvers decided to attach a sail to a board … and duly invented windsurfing! Ever since, Hayling Island in Hampshire has been known as the home of windsurfing and remains one of the best places to windsurf in the UK.
Hampshire’s coastline overlooks The Solent which serves the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, making it one of the busiest shipping lanes in England. This area has a rich maritime past with strong links to the Royal Navy - don’t miss a visit to Lord Nelson’s legendary HMS Victory. On Saturdays you can also visit the Hovercraft Museum at Lee-on-the-Solent.
The New Forest National Park meets the coast between Milford on Sea and Calshot and The North Solent National Nature Reserve also covers this stretch of coast.
At the end of Milford on Sea’s coastal spit is Hurst Castle. Built by Henry VIII as a fortress to defend the narrow entrance to the The Solent, it is now owned by English Heritage and it offers spectacular panoramic views.
More amazing views are to be had from the 170m tall Spinnaker Tower. With its modern sail-like architecture, it’s a stunning landmark in Portsmouth Harbour and, for the daredevils amongst us, it’s possible to abseil 100m down the outside of the building during the summer months! Three viewing platforms offer a less hair-raising experience and with 360 degree views of up to 23 miles on a clear day, you’ll get the ‘wow’ factor.
Southsea is a traditional seaside town located less than a mile from Portsmouth city centre. There is a promenade, a recreational area with salt water lake (good for crabbing), cafes, ice cream parlours and South Parade Pier with amusements for all the family. Hayling Island also has everything you need for a traditional seaside holiday with miles of unspoilt coastline and excellent water sports facilities.
The beaches between Highcliffe and Milford on Sea are popular - with pretty rows of Hamphire beach huts set at the bottom of the cliffs overlooking the shingle beaches. Lee-on-Solent and Stokes Bay are great for watersports and watching activity on The Solent.
- Great for watching large ships, cruise liners and sailing boats
- Perfect for watersports enthusiasts with windsurfing, sailing, skiing, Kayaking/canoeing and Jet-skiing
- Interesting maritime history
- Most beaches are shingle or pebble
- Some beaches on the west coastline have cliffs, so please check access