Hampshire’s Beaches and the Family Attractions Nearby

Welcome to the coastal charm of Hampshire, a place where the beauty of Hampshire’s beaches meet family-friendly attractions.

How do you fancy reading a captivating book by the gentle lap of waves? Strolling leisurely alongside serene rivers? Or, soaking up the atmosphere of bustling waterfronts? Hampshire’s proximity to the water offers something for everyone. From refreshing dips to intermittent breaks, your day on the beach is only made better by the attractions nearby.

Here’s our definitive guide to the top attractions nestled near Hampshire’s idyllic beaches, soothing rivers, and expansive outdoor spaces.

Hampshire’s Beaches

From vibrant seaside towns to serene coastal walks, get ready to immerse yourselves in a world of adventure, natural beauty and making unforgettable memories. Hampshire’s beaches are a joy to visit, discover and relax on after experiencing a fun attraction nearby. 

A mother and her young daughter are at one of Hampshire's beaches at the Royal Victoria Country Park. The woman is holding a yellow bucket and kneeling down to hug her daughter. They are both smiling.
Royal Victoria Country Park

Located in Southsea Clarence Pier is a traditional seaside amusement park full of nostalgia. The pier features a range of rides including a rollercoaster, water slide, and arcade games. After the adrenaline rush, enjoy fish and chips on the beach. Once you’re done eating, take a stroll along the promenade for a very traditional day out at the seaside. 

On the shores of Southampton Water, Royal Victoria Country Park is a beautiful nature reserve, offering stunning views of the Solent and the Isle of Wight. Explore the woodland trails and relax on the beach.

Lepe Country Park is a beautiful nature reserve located on the shores of the Solent, offering stunning views of the Isle of Wight. Visitors can explore the woodland trails, enjoy a picnic on the beach and watch the boats sailing by.

Along the coast from Lepe Beach, Calshot Activities Centre is a thrilling option! This watersports and outdoor activities centre on the shores of the Solent, offers you the chance to try sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and rock climbing. Calshot Beach is a pebbled beach perfect for relaxing on and watching the cruise ships come in and out of Southampton. 

Isle of Wight Beaches

Exploring Hampshire’s beaches would not be complete without heading across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. Sandham Gardens is a family-friendly attraction featuring a range of rides and attractions, including a rollercoaster, water slide, and crazy golf course. Sandown beach is nearby, with its dreamy golden sands, and you can also take a stroll along the promenade.

One of Hampshire's beautiful beaches at Sandham Gardens.
Sandham Gardens

The Needles is a famous landmark located on the western tip of the Isle of Wight, known for its stunning views and unique rock formations. You can take a boat trip around the rocks and ride the chairlift to the beach. There is jaw-dropping nature around every corner on the Isle of Wight.

Combine a visit to Compton Beach or Freshwater Bay on the Isle of Wight with Tapnell Farm is a family-friendly attraction located on the Isle of Wight, featuring a range of farm animals and activities. Visitors can meet the animals, ride the tractor and explore the breathtaking Isle of Wight countryside.

Beachy Historical Adventures

If you fancy discovering the island’s history of prehistoric life Dinosaur Isle is for you! Here, you’ll find interactive exhibits, learn about the fossils found on the island, and enjoy a picnic on the beach. Plus, you will find Sandown Beach and Yaverland Beach nearby for an afternoon of relaxing after a morning of fascination. 

Osborne is a historic house and garden, once the summer residence of Queen Victoria. This special place is steeped in so much royal history to immerse yourself in. Walk the very steps Queen Victoria walked in a home she treasured. Imagine being able to say you’ve been to Queen Victoria’s private beach; now that’s one of Hampshire’s beaches you don’t want to miss out!

Waterfront Attractions in Hampshire 

For a nautical day out Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is a world-class visitor attraction not to be missed. Portsmouth Harbour and HM Naval base is home to a range of historic ships and museums. These include HMS Victory, the Mary Rose Museum and the National Museum of the Royal Navy, so plenty to explore! Take a Harbour Tour to get up close to the modern Royal Navy. 

Two children with their grandparents at Spinnaker Tower, looking over at the spectacular views at this epic spot of natural beauty. They are all smiling, the sun is shining and the woman is carrying a shopping bag.
Spinnaker Tower

The iconic Spinnaker Tower is a 170-metre tall observation tower located in Portsmouth, offering stunning views of the city and the Solent. Why not take a ride to the top of the tower? Enjoy a meal in the restaurant, and even abseil down the side of the building. And whilst you’re in the area, you can explore all the joys of Portsmouth Harbour too! 

Historical Waterfront Attractions

Located near to Southsea Beach, The D-Day Story museum showcases the history of the D-Day landings and the role of Portsmouth in the Second World War. Explore the interactive exhibits and learn about the soldiers who fought in the war. 

Portchester Castle is a historic castle next to Portsmouth Harbour, dating back to Roman times. Visitors can explore the castle, learn about its history and enjoy a picnic in the grounds for a memorable day out with the family. Portchester Castle is near Southsea Beach, Port Solent and Portsmouth Harbour. 

Take to water aboard Steamship Shieldhall; is a historic steamship offering a range of cruises and tours around the Solent and the Isle of Wight. Visitors can explore the ship and learn about its fascinating history, as well as enjoy all of Southampton’s parks. And why not pack a picnic to enjoy on the deck, or explore the many things to do and see along Southampton Waterfront?

God’s House Tower is a historic tower in Southampton, dating back to the 13th century. The tower is now home to a contemporary art gallery, showcasing the work of local and international artists. Experience cultural moments taking in all the amazing art! Plus, head to the buzzing hub of Southampton Waterfront afterwards, with all its historical buildings, parks and piers. 

Riverside Attractions Hampshire

If you’re seeking a delightful escape surrounded by the beauty of rivers and open spaces, you’re in for a treat. 

The Bombay Sapphire Distillery is a unique visitor attraction in Laverstoke, near Basingstoke. You will have the opportunity to take a tour of the distillery, learn about the history of gin, and enjoy a cocktail in the bar. You’ll find this state-of-the-art sustainable distillery in the Victorian and Georgian buildings of Laverstoke Mill along the River Test. With proximity to the river and the surrounding picturesque countryside, this is a delightful destination for gin enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

The Bombay Sapphire Distillery with a blue sky behind it and sunlight reflecting off the glass of its two glass buildings.
Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Explore Historical Gems in Nature’s Playground

The River Hamble is known as the yachting Mecca. You can combine riverside walks with a number of Hampshire attractions including Manor Farm. As well as a living history museum it is a working farm where you can meet the animals, and watch demonstrations of traditional crafts and skills. After your visit, take a leisurely stroll through the country park down the beautiful River Hamble with the family! 

River Hamble Country Park is a beautiful nature reserve on the banks of the River Hamble. If you’re looking for a place of true tranquillity, you’ll find it here! Think picturesque woodland trails and unbeatable views of the water and surrounding countryside!

In the New Forest, Buckler’s Hard is a historic village located on the banks of the Beaulieu River, famous for its shipbuilding heritage. Visitors can explore the village, learn about the history of shipbuilding, and enjoy a picnic by the river.

The Eling Tide Mill Experience is a unique visitor attraction located in Totton in the New Forest, showcasing the history of watermills in Hampshire. This working tide mill has a 900-year history to unravel! After you’ve finished learning about the milling process and refuelling in the Mill Cafe, you can take a delightful riverside walk around the mill’s picturesque surroundings! Stroll around Eling, taking in the Eling Great Marsh, Goatee Beach, Eling Church and Bartley Reach. 

In Test Valley, on the banks of the River Test, Mottisfont is a National Trust historic house and garden, famous for its stunning rose gardens and art collection. In addition to the river, there is 1600 acres of surrounding countryside to explore, rich with wildlife and gorgeous sights. Mottisfont also cares for Stockbridge Down, Stockbridge Marsh and Curbridge Nature Reserve. 

Get active

If you enjoy watersports, New Forest Activities is an outdoor activities centre located along the charming Beaulieu River. Take part in a range of activities including kayaking, archery, and bushcraft. When you’ve finished your activities, walk along the river and discover the surrounding countryside whilst spotting all the wildlife.

Be sure to check out the vouchers page to save money on family days out across Hampshire’s top attractions, whilst you sit back, relax and unwind on a budget-friendly day out at one of Hampshire’s beaches!

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