Messing About on Hampshire’s Waterways

If you like spending time on the water, whether it be a day out sailing or quiet contemplation while fishing, Hampshire has it all. We’re lucky not only to have a beautiful 230 mile coastline from Chichester Harbour all the way to Highcliffe on Dorset’s border, but some beautiful inland waterways including three chalk stream rivers. There are many opportunities to enjoy a day out on the water from family outings to sports for the more adventurous. 

Boat Trips

A boat trip on the Solent is a great way to spend some time on the water. You can take a boat trip around Portsmouth Harbour from the Historic Dockyard or Gunwharf Quays. Further east on Chichester Harbour you can take the solar boat from Itchenor or Emsworth for a leisurely tour and if you’re lucky you might spot some harbour seals. 

Portsmouth Harbour
Take a boat trip around Portsmouth Harbour

From Southampton, the Steamship Shieldhall is Britain’s largest working steamship and serves as a seagoing tribute to Britain’s maritime heritage. There are several days throughout the year when the public can enjoy a day out on her and there are also group packages available.  

If you fancy popping over to the Isle of Wight during your stay at Wallops Wood, you can take the Hovercraft from Southsea to Ryde which takes just 10 minutes! Once you’re there you can take a train from Ryde Pier along the east coast of the island and spend some time at one of the island’s small seaside resorts. 

For something faster and more exhilarating, a ride in a rib boat can be great fun. There are several companies offering rides on Rib boats out of Portsmouth and Southampton. Onboard Ribs offer rides from Gunwharf Quays which you can also charter for groups. 

Other Ribs operate from Southampton area and the Hamble. Try Southampton Rib Charter or Bluetooth Rib Charter.

Accessible Boat Trips

Wetwheels provides the opportunity for all disabled people to access the sea in a safe, stimulating way on board fully-accessible powerboats. Wetwheels operates from several locations across the country including experiences departing from the Hamble, close to Southampton. Find out more.

WetWheels Solent
WetWheels Solent Offers Accessible Boat Rides

Paddle Boarding & Kayaking

If you enjoy a little more action on the water, then there are plenty of places you can go paddle boarding and kayaking along the coast. Stoked Watersports in Gosport offers both kayaks and paddle boards for hire. Wesup on the Hamble offers paddle boarding and kayaking on the Hamble with instructors in a more sheltered spot than the open sea. The Paddle Club in Portchester also offers paddle boarding in Portsmouth Harbour with instructors. All are within an easy reach of Wallops Wood.

Learning to Paddle Board
Learning to Paddle Board

Wild Swimming

If you want to completely immerse yourself in water, there are plenty of opportunities for swimming while visiting the coast. If you’re brave enough, enjoy a dip in the Solent from any of the many beaches near Wallops Wood. West and East Wittering beaches near Chichester are lovely sandy beaches stretching for miles, whereas many of the beaches nearer Portsmouth are shingle.  Calshot beach near Southampton is also a popular place for swimmers from its shingle bank where Southampton Water meets the Solent. Inland, the River Itchen offers some wild swimming locally including St Cross in Winchester and Compton Lock near Twyford, just outside Winchester. If all that cold water is rather too much bear, then don’t forget to enjoy your daily 45 minute swim slot in our heated swimming pool! It may not be wild swimming but it is a bit warmer 😃

East Wittering Beach
Take a dip at East Wittering Beach


There are many places to go fishing in the sea and on Hampshire’s water ways. For a day out sea fishing, there are trips available from Gosport with DointheDo, who offer fishing trips and sightseeing. Kelly’s Hero Charters also offer fishing from Gosport as well as harbour tours.

You can also enjoy fishing on Hampshire’s rivers and waterways. Hampshire has three chalk rivers, the Meon, Itchen and Test which are wonderful for trout fishing. Just up the road from Wallops Wood in East Meon, is Meon Springs. This is a fly fishery in a beautiful setting with four spring fed lakes and is a place anyone can visit regardless of age and experience.  You can book day fishing and evening fishing slots and tuition is also available. 

A little further away is Avington Trout, with three fishing lakes fed by the River Itchen. The lakes are stocked with trout from their own fish farm and you can book a day’s fishing in a beautiful and peaceful setting. 

Fly Fishing at Meon Springs
Fly Fishing at Meon Springs