10 top coastal activities in Hampshire
- Credit: Archant
Make the most of the last days of warmer weather and head to the coast for a bit of watery fun
1. Set sail
One of the best ways to enjoy the Hampshire and Isle of Wight coastline is from the water. If you are not one of the fortunate few that have access to your own boat, then there are several yacht charter companies along the Solent who can provide a range of packages to suit your needs; whether it is a meander along to Cowes or the Beaulieu River or a full on jaunt down to Poole.
Book: Solent Yacht Charter are based in Gosport and have a fleet of boats available to hire from £338 per day. Tel: 02392 602708 or visit www.solentyachtcharter.com to find out more.
2. Bird life
For all you ‘twitchers’ out there, surely a day out at the coast wouldn’t be complete without seeing the odd species of bird. But if you’re looking for a whole host of feathered friends then take a trip to Keyhaven Nature Reserve on the Lymington shores and marvel at the millions of migrants that make the area their home every year. Owned by Hampshire County Council, there are many different circular walks to take to make the most of the visiting wildlife including Godwits and Turnstones.
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Book: There is no need to pre-book unless you are intending in going as a guided group. You can download maps and routes from www3.hants.gov.uk/countryside/lymington-keyhaven.htm and there is also information on wildlife to look out for.
3. Dine alfresco
Enjoy breathtaking cliff top views from renowned restaurant Pebble Beach in Barton on Sea. Gaze over the Solent to The Needles whilst tucking in to sumptuous seafood treats such as whole local lobster and Lymington dressed crab. Wash it down with a nice Gavi di Gavi from their extensive wine list and relax as you watch the sun go down - sounds idyllic doesn’t it?
Book: Call 01425 627777 or visit www.pebblebeach-uk.com for the full menu and to make a reservation.
4. Thrill rides
If you’re looking for a more exhilarating way to enjoy Hampshire’s coastline then one of the best ways to raise your heartbeat is by jumping in a rib and jetting across the Solent at 40 knots. There are many different companies along Southampton Water and in Portsmouth that cater for both groups and individuals and rides can last between 45 and 90 minutes.
Book: Local companies include SeaDogz in Ocean Village, Southampton (www.seadogz.co.uk) who charge £45 per person for 60 minutes. Or, from Portsmouth, Onboard Charters do a 45 minutes blast experience for £25 per person.
5. Go for a paddle
Stand Up Paddleboarding or SUP for short is the new craze to hit the South coast and is one of the fastest growing watersports in the world. It is a great way to keep fit, improve your core and also enjoy Hampshire’s waterways without, fingers crossed, getting wet.
Book: Action Van can cater for individual or group tuition with prices starting from around £36 per person for a group of up to 6 or £50 for a one to one session for two hours along the stunning Hamble river. Visit www.actionvan.biz to find out more.
6. Underwater world Instead of enjoying the coast from above the waterline, how about diving down below to get to know the rich sealife that inhabits our shores? If you are not already trained in scuba diving, there are a vast number of clubs and centres throughout the county that can show you the basics as well as organising trips along the South Coast. Book: A taster day in a pool tends to start from around £25 per person for a two hour session and jumps to around £299 for a full open water course with Liquid Divers in Woolston (www.liquiddivers.com). An online search will point you towards your nearest dive school.
We recently featured this high-energy sport and it is a fantastic way to get fit and have fun on the water. If you’re not feeling very adventurous then grab yourself some fish and chips and watch from the waters edge – the sights can be quite spectacular.
Book: Hampshire Kitesurfing (www.hampshirekitesurfing.com) can offer both private and group tuition from Lee on the Solent. Prices start from around £100 per person for a day’s course.
8. Coastal views
Head over to the Isle of Wight from either Southampton or Portsmouth and spend the day exploring on a ramble along the coastal path. There are six different routes ranging from eight to 16 miles covering all parts of the island including Cowes, Yarmouth, Brightstone, Sandown, Ryde and more. For those of you who are up for a challenge, the whole route will take you along 67 miles of stunning coastline with views out over the Solent and beyond.
Book: You can book on to scheduled guided walks or head out on your own with one of the coastal path maps. Visit www.visitisleofwight.co.uk for more information.
9. Hit the beach
There may not be any long, stretching sandy beaches on the Hampshire coastline but head to the Isle of Wight and you are spoilt for choice. Whether it is the arty, Mediterranean style Ventnor that takes your fancy or the golden sands of Shanklin and Sandown, touring the Isle of Wight beaches can result in stumbling across hidden bays and quiet dunes.
Book: No booking required for this particular past time, just grab your bucket and spade and take a glance over the beach guide at www.visitisleofwight.co.uk to find the best spots.
10. Row your boat
Embark on a rowing adventure in a beautiful Cornish Gig around the Langstone area, Hayling Island and The Needles. Whether you are in a group looking for something new to try or by yourself, rowing can be a great team building activity and can provide a way of making new friends.
Book: Langstone Adventure Rowing organises everything from beginner rows to racing and charity events. Contact Mike on 07767 350512 to find out more or visit www.langstonerowing.co.uk.