Lymington Marina - boat trips from Hampshire

The Best Boat Trips in Hampshire

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You are spoilt for choice when it comes to boat trips in Hampshire. Not well-known for its water activities, Hampshire has over 230 miles of coastline and numerous rivers and canals to explore. From ferries to canal boats and everything in between, there is something to suit every family member.

A boat trip is always a new adventure; hopefully, if the sun is shining in Blighty, you’ll get a good dose of Vitamin D too!

All of these boat trips around Hampshire are available to the public – unless otherwise stated that private charters are available.

As so many boat trips are available, we’ve broken this post into several sections.

Check out the best boat trips in Portsmouth, including Onboard RIBs, Portsmouth Harbour Tours, MiniPort Gunwharf Quays, WetWheels Solent, Portsmouth Fishing Charters and the number of different ferries from Gosport and the Isle of Wight.

Onboard RIBs Portsmouth - boat ride in Hampshire
Blast your way around Portsmouth Harbour – Image credit: Onboard RIBs

Find the best boat trips in Southampton, including Blue Funnels Cruises, Steamship Shieldhall, WetWheels Hamble and the different ferries from Hythe and the Isle of Wight. We’ve also covered hiring a boat in Southampton if you want to create your water adventure at your own pace!

Ocean Scene Blue Funnel Cruises - Boat trips Southampton
Explore Southampton Water, rivers and The Solent on this popular boat trip – Image credit: Blue Funnel Cruises

Around the stunning county of Hampshire, check out these best boat trips locations to get you out on the water:

Boat trips from Hayling Island

Rosie K Boat Trips

Jump aboard the Rosie K and go exploring for Harbour Seals and other wildlife around Hayling Island. Take in views of the amazing Hayling Island coastline, meander around the picturesque Langstone Harbour and spot one of the few grey seals resting on the sand flats, often at low tide.

This boat trip lasts for just under 1 hour and is one of Hayling Island’s favourite things to do.

Trips depart from Ferry Road, opposite the Ferry Boat Inn, which is a perfect spot for a bite of lunch!

Hayling Ferry

Catch the short Langstone Harbour link from Hayling Island to Portsmouth and explore beyond the island! Known as the Pride of Hayling, you can travel the passenger ferry on foot and with a bicycle if you are on two wheels, going between Hayling Terminal and Eastney Terminal. Hayling Island has some great cycle routes, with Portsmouth also being a part of the National Cycle Network, adding to the adventure that the ferry links join the two.

Head across the water from Hayling Island to Southsea and explore this popular Portsmouth seaside resort with a few of the best beaches in Portsmouth. Catch the Southsea Skipper bus to venture further afield, also connecting to other public transport links.

Don’t miss the Southsea Parade Pier for some traditional seaside fun!

Pride of Hayling Ferry Boat from Hayling Island
Pride of Hayling (Hayling Island Ferry) – Image credit: ITookSomePhotos

No mention of boat trips and Hayling Island goes without highlighting Chichester Harbour Water Tours. Although technically in West Sussex, it’s a short distance from the island. This boat trip explores Sandy Point on Hayling Island, East Head, Emsworth, the Thorny Island Channels, Bosham and Dell Quay. A wide variety of habitats dictates a variety of fascinating ecosystems, including sand dunes, mudflats, shingle banks and woodlands. This is ideal for your little twitchers, so take your binoculars and camera! They also offer 2 fishing charter boats offering excursions for all the family.

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If you are looking for something a little more adventurous on Hayling Island – known as the ‘Home of Watersports’, check out CBK. They offer lessons and hire in Kitesurfing, Stand Up Paddleboarding and Wingsurfing – it’s never too late to try something new!

Boat trips from the New Forest

Puffin Cruises, Lymington

Jump aboard ‘Puffin Billi’ or the infamous pirate ship ‘Black puffin’ for a 30 minute scenic river cruise. Head downstream towards the mouth of Lymington River and be shown the points of interest through the protected saltgrass marshes, a haven for plenty of wildlife.

Based at Town Quay in Lymington, these boat trips run from April to September, with sailings approximately every 30 minutes.

The Black Puffin Lymington Puffin Cruises - boat trips in Hampshire
The ‘Black Puffin’ boat – Image credit: Puffin Cruises Lymington

Wightlink, Lymington

Sail away from Lymington on the Wightlink passenger and vehicle ferry. Cross The Solent from this pretty village to one of the gateways of the beautiful English island of the Isle of Wight. Plan a holiday or head over for the day. You’ll arrive in Yarmouth Harbour with the town within walking distance and full of quaint cafes, shops, restaurants and galleries.

This is a Hampshire boat trip to remember!

Boat Beds and Charter, Lymington

If you are looking for something a bit different, stay onboard a luxurious motor yacht in Lymington. This unique accommodation blows the socks off any New Forest cottage stay! Moored at the beautiful marina, the WOW factor on these boats is impressive!

Choose to stay overnight within the marina or a skippered cruise to whisk you away into The Solent. There are so many options to choose from – stay overnight in Lymington and take a cruise the following day, depart from Southampton’s Ocean Village, sail across The Solent to the Isle of Wight, the list goes on with this ultimate bespoke experience.

If you are looking for something more tranquil, check out kayak hire from Lymington Kayaks – the perfect way to explore the Lymington River in a very peaceful way.

Beaulieu River Cruise, Buckler’s Hard

Take a visit to Buckler’s Hard on the stunning Beaulieu River and discover even more with this 30 minute river cruise. This beautiful little village hosts this interesting boat ride as you discover this unique river’s pretty marina, history and wildlife. There is nothing more relaxing than this gentle cruise within an unspoilt haven.

Boat trips run from April to October, with regular daily sailings.

Check out our review of what we thought of this charming Beaulieu River Cruise and Buckler’s Hard Village.

Beaulieu River Cruise Buckler's Hard - boat trip in the New Forest, Hampshire
Beaulieu River Cruise – Image credit: Buckler’s Hard

Hurst Castle Ferry Ride, Keyhaven

Meander down the Keyhaven River with a 10 minute ferry ride to Hurst Castle. Home to a wide range of habitats, Keyhaven marshes are interesting to explore with their grasslands, scrubs, saltmarshes, shingles, fresh and saltwater reed beds. Hurst Castle is only accessible by this leisurely ferry ride or from a 2 mile walk along Hurst Spit. But’s worth the journey. The view from the top of the Tudor Keep within the castle has been described as some of the best in England. Take in the scenery of the Isle of Wight, which lies across the Needles Passage. It looks so close that you think you can almost reach out and touch it.

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Keyhaven Ferry Ride - boat trip in Hampshire New Forest
Keyhaven Ferry – Image credit: JWalkingin

Greg Pitt Sea Fishing, Keyhaven

Departing from Keyhaven, this family fishing business offers both private fishing trips as well as sightseeing trips around the famous Needles rocks, lighthouse and colourful Alum Bay on the Isle of Wight.

There is a range of different fishing charters available from 3, 5 and 6 hour trips. The sightseeing trips are for 2 hours. Check out their availability and lock in a date and time as they sell out very quickly!

Boat Trips from Emsworth

Oyster Boat ‘Terror’, Emsworth

Located in the Emsworth Yacht Harbour, don’t let the name put you off this memorable boat trip. One of the last examples of an open-decked working sailboat from Emsworth’s Oyster industry, ‘Terror’, would collect the catch from the larger Oyster merchants’ vessels and transport them back to shore. From there, they would be ready to go straight to the busy fish markets in London.

This experience is one of the longest boat trips in Hampshire, being about two and a half hours as you explore the most beautiful parts of Emsworth Harbour. Discover the small inlets that wind down to Langstone and out into the channel leading to The Solent.

Up to six passengers can be accommodated on any one trip, with a minimum of three passengers needed for a trip to run.

Boat trips from Basingstoke

Galleon Marine, Odiham

Flowing between the tiny village of Greywell in Hampshire to Woking in Surrey, the Basingstoke Canal passes through the countryside, trees, farmlands, fields, and lakes whilst being full of wildlife. Enjoy the quieter and slower side of life as you gently cruise by the beautiful waterside homes and gardens, taking in some of the canal’s history as you glide along.

Galleon Marine offers some great water experiences. Go tranquil by hiring a rowing boat, kayak, canoe or paddleboat. Add some adventure by travelling further on an electric hire boat. Or why not try a Narrowboat day hire or holiday to experience the Water Wellness the canal can bring.

These really are some of the best boat trips in Hampshire. And not where you’d expect to find them! A kiosk on-site and a picnic area with tables, seating and facilities are also available.

Galleon Marine Basingstoke - boat hire Hampshire
Galleon Marine Boatyard, Colt Hill Wharf – Image credit: Galleon Marine

Basingstoke Canal Boat Trips

The Basingstoke Canal Society is a registered charity. They run two passenger boats providing leisure trips along the Basingstoke Canal. The John Pinkerton II operates from Odiham in Hampshire and can take up to 50 passengers. The Kitty, operating from The Town Wharf in Woking (Surrey), can take up to 12 passengers.

These boat trips offer some beautiful views of Hampshire. As the Basingstoke Canal Society runs them, all proceeds go directly to safeguarding the canal for the future.

Do you have a favourite boat trip in Hampshire? We’d love to know in the comments below.

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