As the nights draw in, many of us are dreaming of warmer days on the water. With uncertainty about overseas travel for 2021, it’s the perfect opportunity to make the most of the excellent sailing destinations we have right here in the UK.
If you’re thinking about going cruising in the Solent, we’ve put together some ideas for your itinerary.
Explore spots on both the mainland, and sail to the Isle of Wight, and enjoy some of the best cruising destinations the Solent has to offer…
Cruising The Hamble River
The Hamble River offers seven marinas and lots of sailing clubs. It’s well sheltered with great access to the Solent, so for many is an ideal base for exploring the area.
Onshore you’ll find plenty of charming pubs and local shops in villages such as Hamble, Swanick and Warsash.
A little further afield is Southampton, which has great train links to London.
Sailing to Cowes on the Isle of Wight
A popular stop on the north coast of the Isle of Wight, Cowes is famous for its annual regatta, attended by around 1000 yachts and over 7000 competitors.
You’ll find a great range of marinas, including the central Cowes Yacht Haven, or more easterly Shepherds Wharf.
Cowes has a bustling town centre, with lots of high street names, plus good bus links if you’re looking to explore more of the island.
(image from Visit Isle of Wight)
Visit Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight by boat
The old fishing village of Yarmouth is a popular stop for sailors, so we recommend you arrive early or try to pre-book your stay.
Located on the NW coast of the Isle of Wight, Yarmouth is packed full of maritime history, plus famous sites including The Needles and Yarmouth Castle.
Popular places to come alongside include the Yarmouth Harbour Marina and The Royal Solent Yacht Club.
A relaxed cruise up Wootton Creek
Another great spot to visit on the Isle of Wight it Wootton Creek, on the NE coast. This unspoilt tidal estuary has pretty wooden valleys on either side, perfect to escape the hustle and bustle.
Looking for ideas onland? Why not hop aboard the steam train at Wootton Station and enjoy a scenic trip to Havenstreet and Smallbrook.
Sailing down Beaulieu River
If you’re looking for spots to visit on the mainland, Beaulieu (pronounced “bew-lee”) River is a lovely choice to escape and relax.
Situated in the beautiful New Forest National Park, head to Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour for short stays. Explore the village of Beaulieu and enjoy a cream tea or visit the British National Motor Museum.
At high tide, head upstream to explore areas that can only be reached by water - spot rare birds on Gull Island and the floating Mulberry Dock that was used for the D-Day landings.
Visit Newtown on the Isle of Wight by boat
Get away from the tourist side of the Isle of Wight with a visit to Newtown, on the NW coast.
You’ll find lots of wildlife and a small, tranquil village - be sure to arrive well-stocked as there are no onshore facilities, pubs or shops.
The area can get busy at weekends, so we recommend heading there during the week or out of season.
If our list has inspired you, why not start putting some plans together with our Route Assist tool? Enter your start point and final destination and we’ll show you everything you need for an enjoyable sail, from marinas to fuel, chandlers and days out along the route.