Beaches and Coast
Beachlands on Hayling Island has been recommended by the MSC's Good Beach Guide, meaning its perfect for a day out by the seaside and great if you fancy a paddle or a swim. Or why not take your dog for a walk along Hampshire's dog-friendly beaches?
Imposing Fort Nelson, with its massive guns overlooking Portsmouth Harbour, and Portchester Castle, with its well-preserved walls, offer a fascinating insight into the nation's military heritage and can be combined with coastal trips.
Chichester Harbour, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has many unspoilt villages, beaches and inlets and is popular with walkers and birdwatchers.
Lovely walks along the Hamble Valley take in woodland, salt marsh and river views and you may see birds such as oystercatchers, cormorants and kingfishers.
The coastal nature reserve at Titchfield Haven provides tranquillity for birdwatchers, walkers and horse riders while Hampshire's role in the D-Day invasions can be seen in the remains of mulberry harbours at Lepe and Hayling Island.
For child-friendly, clean beaches head to Hayling Island near Chichester which holds a European Blue Flag beach award. It also won the Tidy Britain Seaside Award in recognition of the cleanliness and superb facilities of its beaches.
Its five mile long seaside shore along the south of the island is divided into West Beachlands and Beachlands, the busier seafront area of Hayling Island where the Blue Flag beach is located. Hayling Island was the birthplace of windsurfing and remains a popular destination for watersport lovers.
Lepe is a coastal country park in the New Forest National Park. It has nature reserves all around and you can also watch the ships passing in and out of Southampton Water. It played an important role in the D-Day preparations and was a major departure point for troops, vehicles and supplies. An audio trail is available plus there is a 5 mile circular walk with views over the salt marsh and Beaulieu estate.
Close by to Lepe, Calshot Spit is lined with brightly coloured beach huts, leading up to the Calshot Activities Centre, one of the south's biggest outdoors centres offering sailing, rock climbing, a velodrome and indoor skiing. On a clear day you can see the Spinnaker Tower across the water.
Royal Victoria Country Park in Netley overlooks approaches to the port as well as the dramatic Fawley oil refinery - popular with young families for picnics, woodland walks and kite flying. Former site of the Royal Victoria military hospital, all that remains is the old chapel, now a visitor centre.