Beaches and Coastlines
Beaches and Coastlines
Southampton’s existence on the coastline of Britain may lead many to assume that it hosts a number of beaches, similar to its neighbouring town Bournemouth. However, although Southampton is famous for its bustling port, which sees millions of people and cargo arrive and depart the docks each year, the city does not actually contain a traditional sandy beach that would usually be associated with the South Coast.
What it does have to offer, is Weston Shore, located on the edge of the city close to Royal Victoria Country Park and one of a few places in Southampton where you can have immediate contact with the Solent water. A shingle beach, this stretch might be better suited for a leisurely walk or a spot for picnics whilst viewing boats, ships and cruise liners. Recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Weston Shore can be located by using postcode SO19 9DX.
Shingle, stone or sandy - there are many beaches within an hour’s drive from Southampton:
Milford on Sea
Hurst Road and Hordle Cliff beach both within the SO postcode, the beaches at Milford on sea are shingle beaches. Facilities such as a café, restaurant and ice-cream kiosk are available, as well as a children’s play area, making it an ideal location for young families.
A beach rich with history dating back to 70,000BC, Lepe’s stony coastline was once used as a departing site for soliders fighting in WWII. Now part of Lepe Country Park, the area is used to activity of a different kind. Visitors can now take a stroll down the coast, partake in water activities or venture out into surrounding areas to explore the adventure playground or local wildlife habitats.
Probably one of the most well-known South Coast towns, Bournemouth boasts seven miles of beaches. The beaches include: Bournemouth central, Durley Chine, Alum Chine, Boscombe and Southbourne Beach. Bournemouth Central beach offers a vibrant atmosphere, a popular sandy coastline, as well a pier with many family friendly attractions, only a 15 minute walk away from the shopping centre. Southbourne is one of the quieter beaches, so is often popular with locals. Where-as Alum Chine is a dog friendly location. However all of the beaches offer the usual beach amenities such as beach huts, cafes and restaurants as well as toilets and showers.
Avon Beach, Mudeford, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 4AN
Located in Christchurch, Dorset, this family run beach resort has everything you need for a traditional beach day out, a shop which is open year round, coffee cabin, ice-cream parlour and a classic fish and chips restaurant/takeaway. An extra feature are the beach huts, available to pre book for long periods or can be hired for a day throughout the season.
A coastal village situated on the edge of the New Forest, Barton-on-Sea would be suitable for the more adventurous types, with cliff top walks, fossil collecting and kite flying (on windier days). On the cliff edges, ‘disappearing tennis courts’ exist, which have been taken by the sea, due to constantly eroding cliff tops. Although much of the beach has been over-taken by coastal defences, the beach that is left, is predominantly stony, with sandy areas depending on tide times. On the cliff tops, a café, restaurant and news agents are available.
West Wittering Beach
In the opposite direction of Southampton lies West Wittering Beach. West Wittering is regarded as having an ‘unspoilt’ sandy beach and is recognised for its wildlife and unique beauty. However, it does provide facilities such as a café, meaning it is still suitable for a family day out.
As well as being a sandy beach with the standard food outlets, Sandbanks in Poole also has a crazy golf course which is open from Easter to October half term. In addition, a road train also cruises on the promenade. Another exciting feature of this beach is the wide selection of water sports available to try, such as inflatables, jet-ski’s and power boat rides.
Isle of Wight
Further afield, Isle of Wight, known for its festival and sailing events also boasts an impressive 22 beaches within its 57 mile coastline. Whether you prefer a sandy or shingle beach, The Isle of Wight remains a popular destination for its visitors. Alum Bay Beach is known for its picturesque views, where-as Cowes beach is a well-known destination for fans of sailing. Those looking for a popular and thriving location, would love Sandown Beach which offers a traditional English sea side experience, complete with a pier and amusement arcades! The Isle of Wight can be reached within 25 minutes on the Red Funnel Ferries, departing from Southampton.
Sandown - Isle of Wight
Barton on Sea
Hythe Beach - Fishing