CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hampshire Life today CLICK HERE

Things to see and do in Lee on the Solent

PUBLISHED: 10:45 13 September 2016 | UPDATED: 10:45 13 September 2016

Freestyle kitesurfer George Dufty helps run Hampshire Kitesurfing Centre (www.hampshirekitesurfing.com)

Freestyle kitesurfer George Dufty helps run Hampshire Kitesurfing Centre (www.hampshirekitesurfing.com)

Hampshire Kitesurfing Centre

It’s all about the waterfront in this coastal town, says Emma Caulton

Morning

Hit the beach! The waterfront at Lee on Solent stretches for miles, from Hill Head in the west to Stokes Bay in the east, with promenades, shingle beach and lots of wide open spaces, such as Salterns Shore and Monks Hill, perfect for games and picnics. Simple pleasures include children searching for shells and fossils, views across to Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, and busy waters with ships making their passage to and from Southampton, yachts scudding along, and the high jinks of kitesurfers.

This is traditional seafront. At Hill Head there’s a line of beach huts, mostly painted dark green with the occasional one in shocking pink, while at Stokes Bay children throng on their bikes, making for the adventure play area and splash park with slide and fountains.

For watersports enthusiasts, these waters, sheltered by the Isle of Wight, are ideal. There is a trio of family-friendly sailing clubs, including Lee on Solent Sailing Club, offering RYA courses and free ‘try a sail’ sessions, Hill Head and Stokes Bay Sailing Clubs. It is also popular for windsurfing and kitesurfing as conditions are considered the best in the area. The Isle of Wight boosts any south-west breezes, and a sandbar kicks up good jumping waves in a strong wind.

For old fashioned family fun, have a go at the Mini Golf at Stokes Bay, but you can play the proper game, too, at Lee on Solent Golf Club (with a challenging course) or Stokes Bay Golf Club (with views over the Solent).


Lunch

Head into Lee on Solent’s centre for lunch in one of the excellent clutch of cafes. Including The Tea Party, a vintage tea room and not to be confused with The Tea Room, although they both serve good cakes and sandwiches, have friendly service and a retro, candy-colour vibe. New kid on the block, Maison where you sit on pews and eat at butchers’ blocks. Popular Caffe Lee, which wins plaudits for its cakes and coffee, and Laneway Cafe which specialises in gluten-free and dairy-free cakes and sandwiches and features monthly pop-up dinner nights.

While you are here have a browse around the shops. These include the expected, such as a beach store with buckets and spades, and the unexpected: White Dog Gallery with colourful prints, Made By Me where you can paint your own pottery, Eltikki jewellers making bespoke pieces, and Hidden Treasures’ collectables.

If you want a bite to eat on the beach, try Bayside Cabin Cafe at Stokes Bay with good food and great views or The Shack on the beach at Hill Head.


Afternoon

Don’t miss Titchfield Haven, one of the finest nature reserves on the south coast, with a landscape of fens, meadow and reedbeds crossed by boardwalks, and paths alongside the River Meon. It is home to dragonflies, butterflies and wildflowers, but best known as a sanctuary for birds, and a great place to get up close to wildlife with eight observation hides. Children may also discover fairy doors on the east side of the reserve or hear the plop of Ratty disappearing underwater - water voles were introduced here in 2012. The visitor centre includes popular Haven Cafe, opposite idyllic Hill Head Harbour.

Want to learn about local history? There’s a number of intriguing water-themed museums in the area, including the world’s only museum dedicated to hovercraft (open Saturday and Wednesday), accessed via a slipway in Lee on Solent. It is run by a small group of volunteers with 65 craft on display including James Bond, Scrap Heap Challenge, military, racing, commercial and home builds.

Another museum to discover is The Diving Museum, Stokes Bay Road (open weekends and bank holidays from Easter to October). This is the country’s premier historical diving museum and exhibits the best range of military, commercial and recreational diving equipment anywhere in Europe. Gosport is considered home of the global diving industry as the co-inventor of the diving helmet, John Deane, lived there from 1835 to 1845, during which time he discovered the Mary Rose. The museum is housed in a Victorian battery and was voted one of the top six family-friendly museums in the UK last year. 


Evening

Book a table with a view at Leon’s Bistro on the Waterfront. It’s popular with a relaxed approach to dining. There is everything from eggs Benedict for breakfast, traditional ploughman’s for lunch, cream teas in the afternoon, and mussels with chorizo in the evening. There’s also live music every Thursday. Staying over? Try The Old Lodge at Alverstoke, a lovely, comfortable hotel with a tasty menu.


More…

What to do in the village of Tadley - Famed for its treacle, as well as its fairs and festivals, this village has a real sense of community, as Claire Pitcher discovered

More from Out & About

Yesterday, 11:12

Blow away the Christmas cobwebs on a walk with fine views and a striking memorial

Read more
Mon, 14:07

Treat yourself to lunch and tea with a visit to one of these fantastic Hampshire tea rooms.

Read more
Mon, 14:06

Is there anything more refreshing than a stroll on a crisp winter’s day? We don’t think so! Here are a few of our favourite rambles across the county to enjoy this season

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

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

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

With 100 years since the last guns were fired during World War One, we remember the sacrifices Hampshire made

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

With the New Forest, South Downs and a picturesque coastline, Hampshire is an amazing place for a walk. We round up a few of our favourites

Read more
Friday, November 30, 2018

There is so much to see and do in Hampshire over the festive season, from carol services to markets and of course amazing food and drink and our day-by-day guide brings you the pick of the best

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

If you’re planning to add a new extension, remodel the internal layout or create a brilliant new kitchen overlooking a landscaped garden, a visit to the South East Homebuilding & Renovating Show (19-20 January 2019) at Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre is a must

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

Huge Christmas markets, frosty countryside and cosy pubs; winter in Hampshire is second to none…

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

When it comes to celebrating the festive season, Winchester is alive with the sound of music. From Cathedral choirs to community singers and from family musicals to classical concerts, there’s something for everyone

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Get in the festive spirit with our selection of the Hampshire's top dining experiences this Christmas…

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

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

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

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
 
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory



Property Search