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There are many gorgeous beaches in Portsmouth in the UK – all scattered around this unique piece of the south coast.
Portsmouth is on England’s south coast, between Chichester, Southampton and the stunning Isle of Wight. The city is an island, thanks to the narrow Portsea Creek separating it from the mainland, making it the UK’s only island city. It lives within the county of Hampshire, which also has some stunning beaches along its coast.
Beaches in Portsmouth
Southsea Beach, Portsmouth
This is one of the most popular beaches in Portsmouth, and for good reason too! It’s within walking distance of the city centre with plenty of things to see and do, including views of the Isle of Wight that look like it is within touching distance. It is an impressive four mile long beach with open space at the southern tip of Portsea Island. Southsea isn’t always about the beach itself though… it’s more about what there is on offer behind the beach, including the famous Southsea Parade Pier!
With an Aquarium, canoe lake, castle, museums, splashpools, skateparks and more – it’ll be hard to decide what to do:
And that’s not including the two piers, cafes, restaurants, bars and numerous shops and amusement arcades on offer!
Southsea is a pebble beach, with some parts that have a steep shelf into the sea. Portsmouth and Southsea Voluntary Lifeguards patrol busy stretches of the beach and are proud to be the oldest Lifeguard Club in the UK. It is a dog friendly beach from October to February with an all year round permitted area from the Royal Marines Museum to Henderson Road.
Plenty of paid parking is available along the roadside, with a few car parks scattered close along the seafront.
Old Portsmouth Beach
At the mouth of Portsmouth Harbour, Old Portsmouth Beach is often referred to as Hotwalls beach due to being a sun trap; heating up the old walls behind it during the summer. There is an impressive art hub as the entrance to this beach called Hotwalls Studios.
Take a walk to the top of the walls and the Round Tower for great views over the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour. Watch the many ferries and boats as they head into The Solent, to the Isle of Wight and even over to France.
It’s a small pebble beach that isn’t recommended for swimming due to the strong currents in and out of the Harbour. It is dog friendly from October to April. Paid parking is limited within Old Portsmouth but is within walking distance of the city centre and Southsea.
It is also known as a good fishing spot!
Eastney Beach, Portsmouth
Eastney is another (local) popular beach in Portsmouth.
Eastney’s pebble beach is long and wide, with 2 miles of continuous coastline between Southsea Castle and Fort Cumberland. To the west, the beach merges with Southsea Beach. It’s the ideal place to swim and cool down on hot sunny days. It is popular for water sports, with zoning for windsurfing. Naturists also use a part of this beach.
Find facilities, a cafe and The Royal Marines Museum along Eastney Esplanade, with plenty of parking spaces. There is no lifeguard patrol on this beach and is dog friendly from October to April.
Beaches near Portsmouth
Hayling Island Beach, near Portsmouth
Hayling Island should not be forgotten in any list of beaches in Portsmouth. It’s just a 20 minute drive from Portsmouth City Centre, or 12 miles in distance. Or why not catch the Hayling Ferry from Eastney Beach. It takes just 3 minutes and can carry foot passengers, as well as bicycles.
Hayling Island has over 3 miles of Blue Flag beaches along the seafront with views of The Solent and the Isle of Wight. It is a shingle beach with some stretches of sand below the high tide mark. Sheltered by the West Winner sand bar, it’s ideal for swimming, however there is no lifeguard patrolling in this area.
It’s a relaxing spot but also has many facilities and activities on offer. There are beach huts, amusement arcades, fairground rides, cafes, restaurants, ice cream and even a volleyball court and watersports. For the kids, there is a skate park and children’s play area close to the beach.
There are plenty of parking spaces and is dog friendly from October to April.
Stokes Bay Beach, Gosport
This bay is a little less known gem when it comes to the best beaches near Portsmouth. Located just outside of the city, Gosport is home to this untouched delight. It is perfect for the simple pleasures, but also has a couple of small cafes, facilities, children’s play areas and parking close by. It is a long beach, stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s popular for swimming, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, fishing and other water sports.
We love that Stokes Bay is also home to Stoked Watersports. Head out into this gorgeous part of The Solent by grabbing a kayak or paddleboard hire for an hour.
In the mood for something different? Try out their Red Shark Bike Experience and take to cycling on the water! Mastered stand up paddleboarding? How about now adding wings? We dare you!
If you love seafood, check out the Pebbles Fish and Wine Bar with its stunning views across the water to the Isle of Wight.
Stokes Bay beach in Hampshire is a dog-friendly beach from October to April. Some beach areas are restricted during other times.
Are there sandy beaches in Portsmouth?
Portsmouth has many great things, but not many sandy beaches close to the city. There are plenty of pebble and shingle beaches to choose from, some with sandy parts but not ideal for your bucket and spade. The same can be said for nearby Southampton, however head further along the southwest coast to Bournemouth and you’ll find plenty of sandy beaches along this coastline.
However, there are alternatives and a few options to find a sandy beach near Portsmouth.
West Wittering Beach, Chichester, West Sussex
To the east of Portsmouth and Hayling Island, you’ll find West Wittering Beach. This is by far one of the sandiest beaches in the area and a little unknown gem. It is a beautiful stretch of white sand and dunes that will have you never wanting to leave. It’s about a 30 minute drive from Portsmouth City Centre, about 24 miles, with plenty of paid parking available. With a Blue Flag award, it offers beautiful views of Chichester Harbour and the South Downs, backed by unspoilt natural beauty. There are plenty of facilities available, a cafe, watersports on offer and lifeguard patrols during the summer months.
Thorney Island Beach, West Sussex
Thorney Island is about a 20 minute drive east of Portsmouth and is quite unique in its location. Based on the south of the island, there is a Ministry of Defence base that is not accessible to the public. The only way to get to this island’s sandy beach, which really is golden sand, is to walk around the 7 mile public footpath. Being only accessible by foot, it’s often very quiet and you can have it all to yourself!
Ryde Beach, Isle of Wight
Another alternative to finding a sandy beach near Portsmouth is to jump on the Hovercraft from Southsea and head over to Ryde… on the Isle of Wight! It only takes 10 minutes! The Isle of Wight is blessed with stunning golden sandy beaches and Ryde is absolutely one of them. The Hovercraft drops you right off at the beach so have your spade ready for those enormous castles! There is plenty to see and do in Ryde so you really could make a day of it.
Sandy Point Beach, Hayling Island
There is a closer alternative, known as Sandy Point Nature Reserve on Hayling Island, east of Portsmouth. At the southeastern corner of the Island, it’s a lovely walk from the promenade. You can go paddling along the sand bank, or just relax and watch the boats coming and going.
Sandy beach near Portsmouth… check!
Do you have a favourite beach in Portsmouth? Do you travel to find a great beach near Portsmouth? We’d love to know in the comments below.
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