Things to do along Hampshire's coastline
PUBLISHED: 16:13 05 August 2014 | UPDATED: 16:23 27 May 2015
Enjoy a day out at one of the many coastal attractions in Hampshire.
Royal Victoria Country Park
Overlooking Southampton Water, Royal Victoria Country Park provides the perfect opportunity to take a tranquil stroll along the seashore to admire the stunning views that can be seen across the Solent.
The park is a wonderful place to keep the whole family entertained for hours. Perhaps play a family game in one of the fields, bring some paper and crayons to do some bark and leaf rubbings in the woodland, take a ride on the fabulous miniature steam railway or even hire one of our picturesque barbecue sites.
The site plays host to a rich variety of wildlife, look out for the deer in the woodland, visit the duck ponds and discover the sites amazing shorelife. Go bird watching and enjoy the diversity of birds at this fantastic location. Spot song thrush and green woodpeckers in the woodland and oyster catchers and brent geese in the estuary.
Dogs are welcome in the country park and there is plenty to keep you and your four-legged friend entertained. Play fetch in the fields, go for a ramble in the trees or even let your hound enjoy a splash in the Solent.
Hayling Island Beaches
Hayling Island has over 3 miles of beaches along the seafront facing the Solent and many more miles of shore around the Harbours of Langstone and Chichester. The three main beaches of the Island have won both the European Blue Flag and the Keep Britain Tidy Group - Seaside Award Flag for cleanliness and management.
The Hayling Seafront is primarily a shingle beach above the high tide mark, with long stretches of sand below this line. Views of the Solent are exceptional with the Isle of Wight plainly seen and wide stretches of open water, criss-crossed with yachts and ferries going to the Continent.
At high tide the waters can get deep quickly with the shelving of the beaches, at low tides the waters are usually shallow, especially at West Beach, which is excellent for swimming. The West Winner sand bank stretches for about a mile into the Hayling Bay, providing shelter from the larger waves for the beaches and at West Beach, a ‘lagoon’ within which the waters warm nicely as the tide rises during the day.
Lymington and Keyhaven Marshes
These internationally important coastal marshes and mudflats are teeming with fish - and as a result - thousands of sea birds and waders. Although this is the largest reserve at nearly 720 hectares, it is not one for exploring but for admiring the stunning vistas across the reserve and the Solent, to the Isle of Wight and Hurst Castle.
In spring, watch vast numbers of black-headed gulls, sandwich terns and little terns nesting on the marshy islands among the mudflats and open water. Out at sea majestic cormorants glide above the water before diving deep beneath the waves for fish.
Listen to the distinctive high-pitched sounds of redshank, oystercatcher and the bright white little egret, as they wade through the marshes, looking for insects and molluscs to spear with their long bills.
In summer, look for the jewel-like plants among the shingle banks. Yellow horned poppy, sea campion and sea aster flourish here, surviving the salt spray carried on the breeze.
In winter admire the mass gathering of brent geese, the smallest of British geese, grey plover, dunlin and black-tailed godwit all roosting and feeding in the sheltered marshes.
Lepe Country Park
Lepe is a coastal country park in the New Forest National Park with stunning views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight.
With over a mile of beach, pine fringed cliffs, historic D-Day remains and wild flower meadows, Lepe is a great day out, whether you want to relax and take in the views or do something a bit more energetic.
The park is popular for walking, swimming, fishing, windsurfing and bird or boat watching. There is a children’s play area, picnic areas, barbecues for hire, toilets, ample parking and a café.
As well as enjoying the far-reaching sea views, perhaps you could take a walk along the beach, spot local wildlife or even hire one of the barbecue areas and enjoy some sizzling sausages with friends and family!
There is also a café serving s a range of hot and cold snacks and drinks, so if you fancy a warming soup after a bracing winter’s walk or afternoon tea with delicious hand-made cakes do call in.