The natural beauty and sea air make Hayling Island a sought-after holiday retreat at any time of year. With more than three miles of award winning beaches, great windsurfing opportunities, a seaside railway, nature reserves, walks and cycle rides it has plenty to offer for a relaxing break. Its unspoilt nature is what sets it apart from many other, larger, resorts.
The Island is a great place for relaxing in the open air. There is a Blue Flag beach at Beachlands, an area of land by the shore – its grassy dunes providing delightful picnic spots, with an area for barbecues, a beach volleyball court, adventure playground and a nine-hole golf course.
The area is very popular for watersports such as wind-surfing (it is claimed that wind-surfing was invented on the island), sailing and kite surfing. The National Watersports Festival takes place on Hayling Island every autumn and recently the Virgin Kite Surfing Armada has set a Guinness world record for the largest parade of kite surfers.
It is perfect for walking and cycling, with a local nature reserve and the Hayling Billy Trail. Golfers are well catered for with three golf courses, including Hampshire’s only links course.
Hayling’s Heroes are commemorated in the COPP memorial and World War II Heritage Trail along the front on South Hayling. It tells the story of the acts of heroism on the island during the conflict.
Check out the Adizone at Eastoke Corner; this open air gym features equipment such as leg and abdominal bench presses, a tennis wall, climbing wall and areas for aerobics, basketball, and football. And the Terracotta Pot Shop on Eaststoke Corner is a great place to browse.
At the northern end of the island, Northney is a delightful village with tea rooms serving ice cream from the Farm Shop; and the Langstone Hotel is a great place for lunch or to stay.
The two waterside locations of Emsworth and Langstone Harbour are near the Island. Emsworth, with its harbour, independent shops and galleries, wonderful eating places and the South Downs National Park nearby, is perfect for visitors who can spend time by the seaside or take restorative walks on the Downs. A traditional fishing village, it is gaining a reputation as a destination for food lovers. There is a monthly farmers’ market and a range of eating places – a Michelin star and other fine dining restaurants, welcoming pubs and cosy cafés. Once the home of PG Wodehouse, it is the inspiration for the name of Lord Emsworth. Boat trips on Chichester Harbour – an area of outstanding natural beauty, as well as walks along the coastline are possible.
Langstone is also a very picturesque village and is situated on the shore, offering great views of both Langstone and Chichester harbours.
Linking the sea and the rolling countryside is the market town of Havant. Shoppers will find plenty of bargains at the Tuesday and Saturday street markets and also in the indoor shopping mall. The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre is a great venue, which offers a range of talks, theatre shows, art exhibitions, cinema screenings and live music. It also houses the local museum.
Havant is also home to Staunton Country Park, which has around 1,000 acres of landscaped parkland, an animal farm, Victorian glass houses and walled garden – a firm favourite with all age groups.
Stansted Park at nearby Rowlands Castle is well worth a visit; visitors can experience what life was like both above and below stairs of a grand house, lose themselves in the maze then explore the 1700 acres of forest that overlooks the coast.
Enjoy the great outdoors on foot by taking one of the many way-marked paths that include the Solent Way; the Staunton Way, which runs all the way from Langstone to the Queen Elizabeth Country Park near Petersfield; or even part of the South Downs Way, which passes through England’s newest National Park. The new Shipwrights Way, with sculptures along the route, runs from Alice Holt Forest to Hayling Island and ultimately the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
For more information: www.visithavant.co.uk