CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hampshire Life today CLICK HERE

10 of the best Hampshire boat cruises

PUBLISHED: 10:40 18 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:40 18 July 2017

Set sail on the Stavros S Niarchos

Set sail on the Stavros S Niarchos


As we enter high summer and the temperature rises, many of us head out and on to the water. Claire Pitcher has handpicked some exciting ways to explore the sea, rivers and canals around Hampshire

Tall Ships Adventures

Want to give sailing a go but don’t want to commit to a long voyage? Day sails on these wonderful ships give a fascinating insight into life at sea. You will also learn some of the fundamental aspects of sailing. Sail on the 200ft brig-rigged tall ship Stavros S Niarchos for the day and you can climb the masts, take the helm and set the sails. There’s food on board as well as tea, coffee and juice. No sailing experience is necessary.

It costs £139 for the day and you can book online at

Puffin cruises, Lymington Quay

Running frequently throughout the day and with full commentary, the 30-minute ‘Puffin Billi’ cruise takes you down the Lymington River past the marinas and through protected salt marshes, which are a haven for seabirds. Every hour from 11am there is also a picnic cruise. Pack something nice to eat and take a leisurely cruise out into The Solent. There’s also a sunset cruise to Alum Bay, the Needles and lighthouse at 6pm and pirate cruises for the children.

River cruises are £7.90 for adults, £3.90 for children. The pirate cruise is £7.90 for adults, £4.90 for children. See or call 07850947618

Beaulieu River Cruise

This 30-minute leisurely cruise on the beautiful Beaulieu River is accompanied by a commentary revealing the river’s history and the wildlife that inhabits its banks. You have to pay to get into Buckler’s Hard to go on the cruise, but if you walk into Buckler’s Hard from Beaulieu along the public footpath (two miles) there is no charge.

Tickets are £4.50 for adults, £4 for seniors, £2.50 for children and £12.50 for a family. If you pay on the day it’s 50p more and you will need to pay cash onboard. Book in advance at

Shieldhall Steam Ship

Shieldhall is a heritage steam ship operating from Southampton and a flagship of the National Historic Fleet. It’s the largest working steamship of her type in Britain and is licensed to carry a maximum of 200 passengers. On board, the galley serves hot and cold food, plus there’s a bar for that important G&T.

Tickets range from £20 to £50 depending on which cruise you choose. See the options at

Solent & Wightline Cruises

Whether you are looking for boat trips around Portsmouth Harbour or a cruise from the Isle of Wight, Solent and Wightline have a route for you – they can even tailor a cruise to suit. There are trips from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, Gunwharf Quays, The Historic Dockyard and Ocean Village in Southampton. Among their regular cruises is the Portsmouth Harbour Tour from Gunwharf Quays (£8 adults, £5 children), and Two Ports Cruise of Cowes and Portsmouth.

For a full list of seasonal cruises see and book by calling 01983 564602

John Pinkerton Canal Cruises

From the sea and rivers, to canal trips and the John Pinkerton II for a cruise in the peaceful surroundings of the Basingstoke Canal. You can choose a shorter cruise from the Fox & Hounds pub, Fleet, for £6 for adults and £4 for under 16s. There’s a longer two-hour trip from Odiham where a family ticket for two adults and two children is £25. Public trips depart from Colt Hill wharf, Odiham, heading east towards Winchfield, or west towards Greywell and Odiham (King John’s) Castle. The John Pinkerton is owned by The Basingstoke Canal Society with a crew of volunteers. There’s a bar and refreshments on all cruises.

Book online at

Exhilaration Boat Rides

If a leisurely sail is too relaxed for you, you could take a one-hour speed voyage taking in the Solent, Southsea, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight coastline. It costs £30 for adults and £21 for children (12 and under). Or just turn up for a 15-minute blast for £10 adults, £7 for 12 and under. Exhilaration also offers harbour tours, a half-day Cowes trip, and private charters.

Book online at

Waverley Paddle Steamer

The last seagoing paddle steamer in the world was built on the Clyde in 1947 to replace the original Waverley that sank off Dunkirk in the 1940 evacuation. The Waverley was originally built to sail between Craigendorran and Arrochar in West Scotland. Each year she sails around Britain offering regular trips at various ports and piers along the way. Between September 8-21, she comes to the south coast.

Prices vary depending on the length of journey but as an example, a Southampton, Needles and Lighthouse cruise lasts eight hours and tickets are £43 for adults, £21.50 for children. Book online at

Oyster Boat Terror

As the last remaining example of a gaff-rigged, open-decked sailing boat, Terror is considered to be one of the most beautiful sights in Emsworth Harbour. Terror sits low in the water and with high side-decks, everyone on board feels secure. She’s wide in the beam too, so nice and stable. A trip lasts around two hours, visiting the most beautiful parts of Emsworth Harbour, the inlets that wind down to Langstone and out into the channel. Every penny of your booking fee goes towards preserving Terror for future generations. The cost is £20 per adult and £10 for children from six to 16 years old. Up to six passengers can be accommodated on any one trip. Children must be six or over and each child must be accompanied by an adult. If the whole boat is booked, the cost reduces to £110.

To find out more call Emsworth Yacht Harbour on 01243 377727 and ask for Terror bookings. Visit the website at

Gosport Ferry

There are 15 summertime cruises to experience on any of the three ferries run by Gosport Ferry. Take a day trip to Lymington for £19.75, a Medina River Cream Tea Cruise for £21, ‘See the Cruise Ships’ for £19.50, experience Cowes Fireworks Night for £33 or make your way up the River Hamble for £19.50. Those are just a handful to choose from.

See them all at and to book

More from Out & About

Yesterday, 11:16

This thriving community in North Hampshire is a desirable location for residents and visitors alike

Read more
Yesterday, 10:54

Running a successful regional theatre means thinking beyond the bricks and mortar to reach out to the community. We ask four of Hampshire’s leading impresarios, how do they ensure that the show goes on?

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Savour spectacular views of the Needles and Alum Bay and discover history tales on this invigorating walk on the Isle of Wight

Read more
Monday, November 12, 2018

With late-night shopping, fairs, Christmas markets and plenty of food and drink, we’ve rounded up some of the best festive offerings in Hampshire

Read more
Monday, November 12, 2018

Havant a clue where to go or what to do? Here are some pointers to parks, paths and performances

Read more
Monday, November 12, 2018

With its connections to Shakesepeare and royalty, the village of Titchfield is full of surprises

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

As the mellow fruitfulness of autumn takes hold across the New Forest, what could be better than spending a few days in and around Lyndhurst? We take a tour and come up with our top 8

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

Hampshire is full of autumnal scenes this month, so we asked the county’s photographers to share their secret spots for stunning vistas

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Hampshire this month

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Remember, remember… Here’s a quick round up of some stunning displays across Hampshire this year

Read more
Monday, October 22, 2018

Is this the ultimate city break? Winchester has it all: from ancient history to space exploration, plus cafes, cocktails, culture and countryside… But with so much to do, choices are going to have to be made

Read more
Monday, October 22, 2018

Our guide to some of the best Halloween events on offer across Hampshire this October

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

The community shop is thriving. Why? And what makes the perfect village store? We went in search…

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

From Jane Austen to Karl Marx, our towns and villages have fascinating links to some of the biggest historical celebrities. Viv Micklefield follows in their footsteps with the help of a blue plaque or two

Read more
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Latest Competitions & Offers

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search