Things to do in Gosport during summer 2016
PUBLISHED: 11:35 05 July 2016 | UPDATED: 11:35 05 July 2016
Whether on land or at sea, Gosport is enjoying an action packed summer. Viv Micklefield dips into some of the many different ways to entertain the whole family
Water, water, everywhere
It’s fast and it’s furious when the P1 Grand Prix of the Sea returns to Stokes Bay, Gosport on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 July. As the Solent prepares to gear-up for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup series a fortnight later, this hi-octane prequel is more than a warm-up event. Featuring ten P1 Panther powerboats and more than thirty-five AquaX jet skis competing in the world’s largest challenge of its kind, the action is free to watch and isn’t confined to the water. On-shore, the Race Village has live music, a funfair and plenty of kid’s entertainment to keep everyone gripped throughout the weekend.
Gosport’s familiar green ferries run a daily passenger service between Gosport and Portsmouth Harbour transporting you in just four minutes for some retail therapy at Gunwharf Quay’s designer outlets, or a tour of the Historic Dockyard. During the summer months there’s also the chance to ride the waves for a bit longer by joining a cruise up the Hamble or Beaulieu rivers, getting up close to The Needles or to the Solent Forts, and for a really chilled-out experience there’s a Caribbean evening in the Solent.
Between 10am and 7pm during summer months The Splash Park on the Stokes Bay sea front provides hours of watery amusement for children aged eight years and under.
The award winning Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower at Priddy’s Hard tells the story of naval warfare in dramatic style. Housed at the Royal Navy’s former Ordnance Depot, this interactive experience centres on the powder magazine designed in 1771. Family tickets cost from £21 (1+3) with more options at www.explosion.org.uk.
Don’t forget you can get to both Explosion! and the Submarine Museum aboard the Harbour Waterbus which operates from Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, where all attraction tickets can also be purchased.
You might not expect to come face to face with a Star Wars Storm Trooper but that’s just one of the highlights at this year’s Lifeboat and Blue Light Services Day taking place between 11am and 4pm at Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service, Lifeboat Lane, Stokes Bay on Sunday 17 July. The event is free and showcases the work of the area’s emergency services including the Royal Navy Police, the National Coastwatch Institution and Hampshire Police Marine Unit.
‘Save’ a seal
Take part in a Marine Life Rescue family activity afternoon designed for little ones at Gosport Diving Museum on Stokes Bay Road, Saturday 16 July between 4.30pm and 5.30pm. Tickets, including refreshments, cost £3.
Join the celebrations
Brune Park Community School is enjoying its 50th anniversary and to mark the occasion, SummerFest 2016 takes place on Saturday 9 July. With stalls, inflatables, a pets’ corner, family sports, BBQ and much more for all the family, monies raised will go to Gosport Charity F.I.S.H. The fun starts at 2pm.
Deep within Alver Valley Country Park is Wildgrounds Nature Reserve, 67 acres of unspoilt woodland pasture and a site of special scientific interest because of its wildlife. Between Wednesdays and Sundays 10am until 4pm take a way-marked trail strolling between the magnificent 400-year-old oak trees and meet ‘Old Man’, the guardian of the woodlands - visit butterfly meadows, spot dragonflies, kingfishers and herons from the hide on Woodland Pond, and explore the riverside fen along the banks of the Alver. The reserve entrance has daily entry permits available, or get a monthly permit from Gosport Tourist Information Centre and The Town Hall.
Try sea fishing
With a pick-up from the Gosport Ferry Terminal it’s your chance to take to the open seas and (hopefully) catch a big-un. Cod, Bass and Pollock, are likely to be on the menu during the summer months and with over 30 years of experience, skipper Ray McLaren will always head for the best fishing waters.
Follow the track through the woods and prepare for a little bit of magic to unfold as one of Gosport’s hidden secrets reveals itself on Sunday 3 and 10 July, and the weekend of 30 and 31 July. Little Woodham Living History Village at Grange Farm opens between 10:30am and 4:30pm and a host of local characters will be sharing their homes and what it’s like to ‘live’ in 17th Hampshire. From weavers and potters to sawyers and blacksmiths, traditional crafts once again take centre stage in this enchanting setting amidst the wood smoke. Family tickets (2+3) cost £16.
The tour guides at Fort Brockhurst on Gunners Way have a new expose of this 19th century Palmerston stronghold planned for 2016. So why not be one of the first to experience this on Sunday 10 July when the fort drops its defences between 11am and 3pm. Entry is free to this fascinating site.
Dive, dive, dive!
Step aboard Britain’s only surviving World War 2 era ocean-going submarine, to re-live the personal stories of life beneath the waves. The Royal Navy Submarine Museum’s HMS Alliance, docked on the Haslar Road, is just as the crew would have left it - and the chance to peer through the working periscopes offers an unforgettable view of Portsmouth Harbour. Open every day between 10am and 5pm; family tickets (2+3) cost £38 and under 5s go free.
Have a paddle
Ever wanted to hone your kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding skills? Demo evenings currently being held most Fridays at Alver Valley Lake are organised by Andy Biggs, whose Gosport shop has a big hire section for enjoying some fun on the open water.
Enjoy the sunset
Grab a bag of freshly cooked fish and chips from one of Gosport’s finest, The Village Fish Bar in Little Lane and head for the shingle beach at Stokes Bay to watch the sun go down. If you’re lucky, one of the ocean going cruise liners heading majestically out of Southampton water might make an appearance. And, of course, the view comes free!