There’s more to the Solent than simply sailing


Osborne House

The Solent is the UK’s most popular place to keep a boat, and no wonder. With protected waters and plenty of harbours and marinas, it has lots to offer powerboaters and sailors. Sail away from the obvious honeypots, try a new destination and experience something different.

Portsmouth Harbour

At the eastern end of the Solent, Portsmouth’s natural harbour has been prized as a strategic destination since Roman times and is now home to the Royal Navy. Haslar Marina is located right at the entrance of the harbour with fantastic views across the city.

The obvious thing to do in Portsmouth is to explore naval history at the Historic Dockyard, Submarine and Explosion museums. Continue through history with a wander around the old town and out onto the Hot Walls, where you can now watch artists at work and enjoy refreshments with a spectacular view.

For an unexpected view of history, visit Little Woodham living history village in the Alver Valley Country Park, Gosport. The number 9 bus will take you back to the seventeenth century.

Isle of Wight

The rivers, creeks and bays of the Island’s Solent shore are stuffed with boats, from Bembridge in the east to Yarmouth in the west. Right in the centre is the River Medina, with Cowes on one bank and East Cowes on the other. East Cowes Marina provides a quiet respite from all the buzz yet is still only a walk or water taxi ride from the shops, pubs and clubs.

Built as a holiday home for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Osborne House is a short walk from the marina, and a visit to the house, gardens and beach will fill your day. Another Victorian gem is St Mildred’s Church in Whippingham, which can be reached on foot, or take your dinghy to the riverside Folly Inn and walk across the fields.

Red squirrels are readily seen in the early morning in the woods and suburban streets of East Cowes, at Northwood Park in Cowes and on the Cowes to Newport cycle track.

River Hamble

The Hamble can sometimes feel like wall-to-wall boats but, follow the river to Deacons Marina at Bursledon Bridge, and you’re in for a green surprise.

Beyond the bridges, the river runs between oak woods and green fields. With a bit of planning and careful navigation, it is possible to make a dinghy safari and explore the river right up to Botley.

River Hamble Country Park is a perfect spot for exercising dogs and kids, and little people will love meeting the animals at Manor Farm. The park can be reached by car, but there is also a high tide pontoon for dinghies. Another lovely walking spot slightly further away from the river is Swanwick Lakes Nature Reserve an oasis in suburbia.

For something completely different, take a trip to Bursledon Brickworks to see steam engines and learn about our industrial heritage.

Tell me more

If you’d like to explore the hidden Solent, book a berth at Haslar Marina in Portsmouth Harbour call 02392 601201, at East Cowes Marina call 01983 293983 or at Deacons Marina call 02380 402253.

Change units of measure

This feature requires cookies to be enabled on your browser.

Show price in:

Show lengths, beam and draft in:

Show displacement or weight in:

Show capacity or volume in:

Show speed in:

Show distance in: