A popular beach resort from the 19th century, Portsmouth ticks most beach boxes – miles of Blue Flag coastline, watersports, ice cream parlours and, if you’re feeling adventurous, even its own naturist beach.
Beaches in Portsmouth
Southsea Beach should be your first stop. A short walk from Southsea Castle, the aquarium and the D-Day Museum, the shingle beach is the most popular in Portsmouth, with plenty of ice cream stands on the promenade and a lake behind the beach where you can fish for crabs or hire a canoe and laze away a sunny afternoon. A day out at Southsea Beach puts you right in the heart of the fun – you’re a short walk to Clarence Pier and the fairground or across to the Pyramids Centre with its huge soft play area, flumes and wave pool. Or, take a simpler approach, pick up a 99 ice cream from one of the regular kiosks and sit back and enjoy the views over the Solent to the Isle of Wight. Do remember it is a shingle beach, so make sure to bring some beach towels or something comfortable to sit on if you’re planning on spending the day.
Hayling Island Beach
Hayling Island Beach
Over the other side of the harbour is Hayling Island Beach. Popular with wind surfers and swimmers, the sheltered beach has great views across the Solent and across to the Isle of Wight. The Blue Flag shingle and sand beach is the perfect place for a summer swim, and thanks to the onshore breeze, it never gets too hot should the UK hit a heatwave. At over four miles long, it’s also the perfect beach for running and walking while the grassy dunes behind come alive with wildflowers and birds during the summer, with over 100 acres to explore.
You might need to bare a bit more than your arms and legs if you want to check out all of Eastney Beach. As well as offering water sports, a café and toilets, part of the beach is used by naturists, although hopefully not in the middle of winter. The pebble beach is also home to some derelict anti-tank blocks and radar buildings, giving it a real sense of history. It’s a great beach for dog-walking, although there are tight restrictions during the peak season from May to September.