Some of the best things to see and do in Gosport
PUBLISHED: 12:57 20 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:57 20 May 2019
From kite surfing to kayaking, there is no shortage of ways to spend time on the water in the seaside town of Gosport
Summer is just around the corner, which means for many of us it's time to head out on to the water. Gosport and Lee-on-the-Solent provide great access to the Solent, one of the prime sailing areas in the world, and there are so many ways to enjoy the river's plethora of watersports. Whether you're looking to hire boats or yachts, take sailing tuition, bring your own yacht into one of the four marinas (all with deep-water access), go on fishing trips, or enjoy windsurfing, kite surfing, and jet skiing, it's easy to find something for all ages and abilities.
The beaches at Gosport's Stokes Bay and Lee-on-the-Solent offer great sea swimming in designated zones. Factor in some of the mildest temperatures and most consistent winds in the country, plenty of boatyards and chandleries, 10 free public slipways, and its no wonder Gosport is considered the ideal destination for being on the water.
Whether you are looking to learn to sail and gain a RYA qualification or just want to charter a boat for a few days, Gosport is the perfect place for a base. Companies such as Nomad Sailing at Gosport Marina can help you to get on the water with a RYA Start Yachting course, or if you're already on your way to becoming competent crew, the team can help you succeed - they're so confident they offer free resits. If you're after more of a sailing experience first, before you commit to becoming skipper, Dream or Two Sailing has a daylong experience to try on their Class 40 yacht. Be part of the team for just £150 per person.
You could also join a sailing club too, such as Hardway Sailing on Priory Road, or Stokes Bay Sailing Club on The Promenade on Stokes Bay Road.
In the shelter of Portsmouth Harbour, why not try a paddling session at The Paddle Club. They have a fleet of sit-on-top kayaks as well as stand-up paddleboards to try for just £20 an hour. This is something the whole family can enjoy together. Under-10s can sit in a twin or family kayak. Beginners can get to grips with the technique, while more experienced paddlers can still get a good workout. If you have your own kayak and want to get out on to the water, there are public slipways at Stokes Bay Angling Club and Stokes Bay Public Slipway.
Life's a beach
If you prefer to keep your feet fully on dry land there are coastal walks and beaches to enjoy in and around Gosport. Visit Stokes Bay, a shingle beach close to the village of Alverstock. If you feel like being entertained by the kite surfers, just four-and-a-half miles from Gosport is Breezes Café at Hill Head, serving up tasty lunches, cakes and breakfasts.
You can take your dog along to Browndown Point beach, which is actually owned by the MOD. Rumour has it that this is a nudist beach; however that would be in contravention of the 1954 MOD Browndown and Rowner Military Lands byelaws.
Wave and wind
Did you know that Hampshire kite surfers still currently hold the Guinness World Record for the largest parade of kite surfers? Virgin Kitesurfing Armada UK's attempt off Hayling Island involved 423 participants 'parading' over a one-mile course in June 2016. Even more impressive - the oldest participant was 72 years old!
For those of you who still don't know what it is, it can be described as an extreme sport, combining aspects of windsurfing, wakeboarding, paragliding and kite flying.
Just a short journey down the road from Gosport, in Lee on Solent, you can often see beginners, enthusiasts and experts catching some air on their boards. Kite Surf UK at Hill Head is just one of the schools that offers lessons. A kite surfing taster day costs £105 and all instructors are BKSA qualified.
Over in Hill Head, at the Breezes Café, Hampshire Kitesurfing offers stand-up paddleboarding lessons. If you've ever tried attempting it yourself, you will know how tricky this can be. If your balance is off, then so are you - into the water!
Getting to grips with your paddleboard can be tricky in the waves, so your instructors will advise you on timings and location. If you're a novice, start with the learn to ride lesson for £45. Then, when you're feeling confident you could experience a Paddle 'Surfari' where you can explore the Solent waters, including river and sea routes.
Get some air
Down at Marine Parade West, the newly refurbished Hovercraft Museum is a must visit; see the hovercrafts that featured in James Bond films and the SR.N5, the first production-built hovercraft in the world. More importantly, make sure you go along on a day when they are offering hovercraft rides, leaving from the museum. A trip costs £15 for adults and £6 for children.
Take the ferry
There has been a boat ferrying passengers from Gosport to Portsmouth since the early 1600s. The original Gosport and Portsmouth Watermen's Steam Launch Company was established in 1875 and since then has merged many times until it became the Portsmouth Harbour Ferry Company, one of the longest running ferry services in the UK.
It takes just four minutes to make the journey, but you might want to take in the sights for a little longer than that. You can take your pick of summertime cruises, from a Caribbean evening listening to calypso songs by a live steel drum band, to a trip taking in the stunning Needles with a stop-off in Yarmouth.
You can even navigate the beautiful Beaulieu River for an afternoon before returning via Portsmouth Harbour.
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