Visit Hamphire
Catergories: Activitiesthings to do

With a gorgeous 230 miles of coastline along England’s sunny southern shores, Hampshire is a haven for water devotees who have been drawn to the area for hundreds of years reflected in the county’s rich nautical history.

What makes Hampshire so exceptional when it comes to water activity is the Solent – one of the most famous sailing areas in the world. This special strait of water is protected by the Isle of Wight to the south, trimming the New Forest coastline to the west and the historic maritime city of Portsmouth to the east, with the modern commercial port of Southampton at its centre.

Within this natural aquatic playground there are so many watersports to try, and whilst we’re submerged in the summer months there is no better time to dive right in and have some fun (just be sure to know you limits and check the conditions and tide times before you go).

Southampton Boat Show

Sailing and boating in Hampshire

There is good reason that Hampshire is world-famous for its sailing – the county’s coastline is dotted with countless marinas and natural harbours to satisfy seasoned sailors as well as those seeking to try their (deck)hand at sailing for the first time.

Lymington, a pretty Georgian market town with two marinas, is one of the top sailing spots in Hampshire and a great place to start your voyage. Meander up the neighbouring Beaulieu River in the New Forest and stop by the 18th century shipbuilding village of Buckler’s Hard.

Further east, the River Hamble is widely recognised as a premier boating destination, with several marinas along the river and the delightful Hamble village.

The county’s keen boating scene is reflected in major events throughout the year including the Round the Island Race, Cowes Week, and the Southampton International Boat Show.


Kitesurfing in Hampshire

Beaches lined by beginner-friendly lagoons and reliable sea breezes offer some great year-round conditions in Hampshire for wind watersports like kitesurfing, wind surfing, and wing foiling.

Calshot, a unique spit of land surrounded by water at the entrance of the Southampton water, lends itself to some of the best kitesurfing conditions on the south coast with Nomadic Kitesurf school offering courses for newbies.

Another great place to learn and launch, Hill Head, between Southampton and Portsmouth has a well-known kiters beach.

Hayling Island is home to CBK Kitesurf School, the longest running kitesurf centre in the UK, and the annual Kitesurfing Armada – the biggest kitesurfing and live music event in Europe.

Windsurfing at Calshot

Windsurfing in Hampshire

With similar conditions needed to kitesurfing but without the limitations of needing space to launch, windsurfing has been popular in Hampshire for decades.

Calshot is one of the best places to get started with the RYA training centre at Calshot Activities Centre offering a great range of windsurfing courses for all levels.

Lepe, Hill Head, Lee-on-Solent, Stokes Bay, and Hayling Island are also top windsurfing spots in Hampshire.

Wing foiling Hampshire

Wing foiling in Hampshire

The new kid on the watersports block, wing foiling is a fusion of kite surfing and windsurfing with the added excitement of riding a foil board when you’ve mastered the wing.

This new water sport is taking off in Hampshire with courses being offered in Hamble and Fareham by Adventure 360 and Nomadic at Calshot.

Paddleboarding Calshot

Stand-up paddleboarding in Hampshire

One of the fastest growing watersports, the popularity of stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has surged in recent years and it’s easy to see why – it’s a super fun and accessible watersport that the whole family can enjoy.

It’s not just the coastline that offers great watersports in Hampshire, the county’s waterways and rivers also lend themselves to water sporting adventures. With calm waters, the Basingstoke Canal is a great spot for beginners to test out paddleboarding for a relaxed trip out on the water with pubs along the way. You’ll need to get a paddleboard licence (£5 for the day) to explore the canal.

The River Hamble is a legendary SUP spot in Hampshire – don’t forget to reward your paddling efforts with a drink at the Jolly Sailor pub overlooking the Hamble marina.

Beaulieu is a beautiful river to explore from the water, it’s privately owned so the only place you can launch is Bucklers Hard, which needs to be pre-booked and paid for, but the 6-mile round trip up the river to Beaulieu is beautiful.

Keyhaven to Hurst Castle in the New Forest, and Langstone Harbour near Portsmouth are also great spots for beginners – just be sure to check the tide times so that you don’t get stuck in the low-tide mud!

When you’re feeling confident to hit the coast, Stokes Bay (where you can hire boards from Stoked Watersports), Southsea Beach, and Hayling Island are all great seaside SUP spots.

New Forest Activities Kayaking

Kayaking and canoeing in Hampshire

If you prefer paddling whilst sitting, all the SUP spots can also be enjoyed by kayak and the New Forest Activities specialises in canoeing and kayaking excursions to explore the Beaulieu River Nature Reserve.


Wakeboarding in Hampshire

There are designated areas in the Solent for wakeboarding and water-skiing with Stokes Bay or Osbourne Bay being good locations for getting towed in the water.

Further inland, there are some great wakeboarding parks in the county at the New Forest Water Park near Fordingbridge (where you can try the inflatable obstacle course too) and the South Coast Wakepark in Portsmouth.

E-foiling in Hampshire

For a unique watersports experience, the Cadland Estate near Calshot has launched the Cadland Fliteschool where you can fly above the water and experience the exhilaration of e-foiling with Pro Kitesurfer Tom Court.

Make a weekend of it

Make the most of your watersports experience by booking a night or two to stay in Hampshire.

Hampshire has a variety of places to stay – from quaint self-catering cottages to holiday centres and the best glamping sites. If you are looking to get the family together or maybe treat them to a getaway – we are sure that you will find the perfect break in Hampshire.

Visit our accommodation page and browse a range of hotelscampsitesglamping sites, and self-catering properties

We’d love to see your photos of watersports in Hampshire on our InstagramTwitter, or Facebook pages.  Tag us in your pics by using #VisitHampshire.


Towns & Villages

The Georgian market town of Lymington is set on the coast in the beautiful New Forest National Park, between Southampton and Bournemouth. Famous for its sailing history, there are two large marinas filled with fishing boats and yachts, as well as two sailing clubs. The town’s narrow streets are lined with pretty period cottages and houses, as well as plenty of local pubs and restaurants.

Towns & Villages

Whether it's enjoying a riverside picnic, exploring the charming High Street or visiting the world-famous motor museum, the village of Beaulieu provides a great day out.

Buckler's Hard
Buckler's Hard

Escape to the beauty spot of Buckler’s Hard, where history and stunning scenery come together for an unforgettable trip out in the New Forest countryside. Once a bustling shipbuilding village where ships for Nelson’s Navy were built, the charming village of Buckler’s Hard now a peaceful haven. Relax with a cuppa and a slice of cake, take a ramble beside the Beaulieu River, or delve into the village’s history in the Maritime Museum.

Towns & Villages

Hamble is a picturesque destination which is ideal for anyone wanting to discover some of Hampshire's best coastline and countryside. With superb riverside views, Hamble village and its quaint cobbled streets offer an alternative shopping and dining experience.

Cowes Week
Sporting Event
Isle of Wight, Lendy Cowes Week, Sailing, Things to Do, Events

There's nothing quite like Cowes Week; the oldest and largest annual sailing regatta in the World and an iconic feature of the British sporting calendar.

Southampton International Boat Show
Southampton International Boat Show

Southampton International Boat Show is back with Britain's biggest festival of boating returning to the shores of the Solent in September 2022. Experience life on the water at Europe's largest purpose-built marina and enjoy a fun family day out against a stunning backdrop of some of the world's most exciting and innovative boats.

Nomadic Kitesurf
Water Based Activities
Nomandic Kitesurf

Nomadic Kitesurf school follows the wind waves and sun offering Kitesurf and Paddleboard lessons in the UK as well as coaching clinics abroad. The cater for everyone from individuals to large groups and run everything from 2 hour taster sessions to a 5 day course.

Hayling Island CBK Kitesurf School
Water Based Activities
Hayling Island CBK Kitesurf School

Hayling CBK Island kitesurfing school and the kitesurf shop have been established for 10 years now. However with the introduction of the kitesurf club this now allows all three core activities to be co-ordinated under one organisation.

Kitesurfing Armada
Kitesurfing Armada, Hayling Island

The Kitesurfing Armada is a unique kitesurfing festival held on Hayling Island, bringing the kitesurfing community and general public together for one fantastic weekend of kiting, live music, fundraising and entertainment! This event is the biggest kitesurfing and live music event in Europe!

Calshot Activities Centre
Leisure & Activity Centres
Calshot Activities Centre

Calshot Activities Centre offer a wide range of exciting water and land based activities, for all abilities and ages throughout the year, either indoors within our historic hangars which accommodate a climbing complex, an indoor velodrome and a dry ski slope or outdoors on land or the water.

Towns & Villages

This small, quiet village overlooks the Solent and has lovely views of Hurst Castle and the Isle of Wight. Although there are no shops, there are two sailing clubs and a small pub.

Hurst Castle
Castle / Fort
Hurst Castle, Lymington.

Come and discover this artillery fortress, built by Henry VIII, at the seaward end of a coastal spit offering one of the best views in England. Commanding the entrance to the Solent, its strategic location has developed the castle into a powerful fortress, steeped in centuries of military history.

Langstone Harbour
Marina / Harbour
Langstone Harbour

Langstone Harbour lies between Portsmouth Harbour to the west, and Chichester Harbour to the east. It is a tranquil and beautiful place, the heart of a dynamic urban area, and a vital part of an extensive biological system.

Stoked Watersports
Water Based Activities
Stand up paddleboarding at Stokes Bay with Stoked Watersports

Stoked Watersports provides kayak, SUP, Red Shark Bikes and SUP Wings for hire. Able give a great experience for all abilities from beginners to experienced enthusiasts of all ages.

Hayling Island
Towns & Villages
Hayling Island

It’s not surprising that windsurfing was invented on Hayling Island in Hampshire. The island is bordered by both Chichester and Langstone harbours and also has three miles of beaches along its seafront on the Solent.

New Forest Activities
Sports Ground
Family Canoeing with New Forest Activities

New Forest Activities offer a variety of safe and enjoyable activities for families, couples, individuals and groups of all ages and abilities led by expert outdoor instructors. For tours with a difference, take to the water with Canoeing and Kayaking on the Beaulieu River Nature Reserve.

New Forest Water Park
Water Based Activities
New Forest Water Park

New Forest Water Park is a family run business situated just outside Fordingbridge, on the outskirts of the New Forest. They have several activities running on site, wakeboarding, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding and the UK's 1st Aqua Park being. The inflatable Aqua Park now measures in at 80 metres long, 40 metres wide and has 2 trampolines, monkey bars, flippers, slides, hurdles, rockers, rollers, an overhang climbing wall, a swing, a giant iceberg(!) and much more.

South Coast Wakepark
Leisure / Swimming Pool
South Coast Wakepark

Welcoming everyone from beginners to pros, South Coast H2O is home to the UK’s longest System 2.0 straightline cable; suitable for wakeboarders, kitesurfers, wakeskaters and just about anyone who wants to rip it up on the water from 8 years old.

Adventure 360
Water Based Activities
Adventure 360

The Adventure 360 wingsurfing and wingfoiling school is based at Cliff Road Meon Shore Titchfield Haven Fareham and Warsash Shore Road Southampton offering the best conditions possible to set you on your Winging journey. Adventure 360 also offers paddle board lessons on the River Hamble.