Think of the perfect destination in Hampshire for a weekend break and I’ll give it to you, Gosport, doesn’t exactly spring to mind. But Haslar Marina, based on Haslar Road just a ten-minute stroll from the Gosport Ferry terminal, is here to change all that.


While we’ve all been immersing ourselves in picturesque New Forest breaks or jetting over to the Isle of Wight for some family fun come the summer, the people at Boatfolk have been quietly and understatedly transforming their marina ready to offer a whole new guest experience…and now, everyone is invited whether you own a boat, or not.

Great British Life: Beyonder is perfect for family trips out on to the SolentBeyonder is perfect for family trips out on to the Solent (Image: Haslar Marina)

In fact, not owning a boat is actually welcomed here at Haslar, who have partnered with Beyonder Boating to offer families young and old the opportunity to get out on the water and enjoy the Solent, without having to worry about scrubbing down the deck afterwards. Something that immediately appealed to me and my family of two boys (aged 7 and 5) and husband, who cards on the table, does know his way around a boat pretty well and has worked in the training industry along the Solent for close to twenty years.

Great British Life: Elizabeth's own husband and two boys had a great time onboard the Merry FisherElizabeth's own husband and two boys had a great time onboard the Merry Fisher (Image: Haslar Marina)

No pressure then for our skipper, Director of Beyonder, Piers Covill, who brilliantly orchestrated our trip to allow all of us to have a go behind the wheel, despite some choppy waters at times. The Beyonder Merry Fisher was spacious enough for us all to sit comfortably inside and out and felt stable on the water, which was ideal for enjoying with children. Piers clearly loves boating, and his enthusiasm for the Hampshire waterways and genuine delight for making this beautiful aspect of the county more accessible for, particularly children, is clear to see. We navigated our way up the Solent and into the mouth of the Beaulieu River where we stopped for a bite to eat before heading over to Cowes and along the Medina. We couldn’t believe how much land (or sea sorry) that we covered and arrived back to the berth full of excitement and joy for the day we’d just had together.

Great British Life: The Lightship looks stunning at duskThe Lightship looks stunning at dusk (Image: Haslar Marina)

Piers himself sails a yacht which he keeps moored in the marina, and the reception he received from locals and staff at The Creek shows he clearly enjoys spending time within this community. And a community is really what it feels like as soon as you arrive. The team at The Creek and its sister restaurant, the newly refurbished The Lightship, are attentive and friendly with nothing being too much trouble.

Great British Life: For an alternative dining option head to The CreekFor an alternative dining option head to The Creek (Image: Haslar Marina)

For lunch, they’d thought of everything, packing us up an amazing picnic of sandwiches and savoury snacks, beers and sparkling wine and soft drinks for the boys and the biggest, chocolatiest brownies we have ever tried in our lives. You certainly won’t go hungry on a trip to Haslar as the service continued into the evening with a wonderful meal at The Creek. The boys opting to share a whole seabass while I enjoyed the seafood linguine and a well-chosen wine list. There are good Hampshire ingredients referenced on the menu too, such as Old Winchester cheese, Mermaid spirits and wines from The Grange. Should you wish for a more formal dinner or a night cap, you shouldn’t leave without heading over to experience The Lightship, which opened to customers last year. This lovingly restored piece of maritime history, what was formerly the Mary Mouse 2 is now a decadent restaurant and bar space serving expertly crafted cocktails alongside delicately decorated dishes. Closed for most of the year apart from for private events, during the summer months, The Lightship opens its doors to winers and diners galore, offering a very special and unique experience for foodies.

Great British Life: The rooms at Haslar are spacious and modernThe rooms at Haslar are spacious and modern (Image: Haslar Marina)

But the best thing about our day exploring Haslar, was that we were able to roll just a few metres back to our room for the night, where we couldn’t believe the space; it was like a tardis. A large open bedroom equipped with TV and tea and coffee making treats, ensuite bathroom with shower and a separate room with bunk beds for the boys welcomed us and ensured everyone slept soundly after inhaling all that sea air. We woke up the next morning to silence, both boys still asleep clearly worn out from all the adrenaline from the day before. We made some wonderful family memories here and were sorely tempted to sign up to a membership ourselves, which starts at £500 per month and lasts for 12 months. If you already hold a Powerboat Level 2 certificate, then there is no upfront cost, however, you can receive training at Haslar too from Andrew Simpson Yachting.

When you see the entrance to a marina it often seems intimidating, behind closed gates, only for those who are experienced in boating. But at Haslar they have literally broken down the barriers. They are welcoming, lovely, Boatfolk, who genuinely want you to enjoy the water and all it can offer for friends and family.

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What's in the area

To further enhance your time away head over to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, which is included in an entry ticket to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and experience life on board HMS Alliance, the only remaining Second World War era submarine. Or make your weekend go off with a bang on a trip to Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower, where you can marvel at missiles, torpedoes, small arms, cannons, and guns as well as the ammunition that was used inside them. Head to to find out more about tickets and events during the summer months.