You have a week’s holiday on Hayling Island and you are booked in at one of the many hotels, B&B’s, campsites or self catering accommodation that the island offers. So now what??
Cycling, walking, fishing and sailing feature on this beautiful, peaceful island, as well as the more traditional fun seaside amusements, such as the Hayling Seaside Railway and Funland Amusement Park – roller coaster courage required!
Things to do in Hayling Island
Cycling in Hayling Island
Bicycles can be hired from Black Point Cycle Hire (Phones: 07800708163) and these come with all the equipment you will need for a cycle day, even a rucksack if necessary, plus specialised children’s bicycles so the whole family can enjoy their day (or more) cycling around one of the Island’s many cycle routes. If you are part of a couple, then you may wish to try one of the tandems there are on offer. You can download a cycle map from www.cyclehayling.org.uk which will mark out leisure rides across and around the island and very importantly, also show useful information like cafes and pubs along the way. Lunch is always a necessity!
Walking in Hayling Island
Walking routes abound -the two favourites are the Hayling Billy Walk and the Hayling Island Beach Walks.
The “Billy” walk is over flat terrain, quite easy to navigate, although sturdy shoes are definitely recommended. It is 5 miles long, although it may extend to 10 if you retrace your steps. It usually starts at Havant Station (which is on the mainland), over Langstone Bridge then along the coast. Let the fresh coastal air blow all the cobwebs away and re-energise you. Google Hayling Billy Trail Route for a map of the walk.
The “Beach” walk is 3.5 miles long. Start at Sinah Common (free parking) and walk down to the beach via the Golf Club path. Turning left, walk across the pebbly beach, if you choose to wander through the waves, then don’t be caught out barefoot once you take your walking shoes off. Strong jelly shoes or beach flip flops are recommended to prevent you hurting your feet on the pebbles lurking on the sea bed. Before you have even clocked up a ten minute walk, there is a very handy café/pub (Inn on the Beach) and ice cream van. Even if you are not thirsty, stop at the inn and pretend, because the views, if sitting on the open air terrace, over the water are gorgeous.
Not only that, but if you walk round to the far side of the café, you will discover a bench, made out of half a boat that was actually used as part of the D Day landings. Now that is definitely worth discovering (and I’m sure you could manage a coke, or a 99). Whilst at Sinah Common, before you set off, try to spot any of the wildlife that reside there and also, if you are lucky, you may find some honey on offer too.
Fishing in Hayling Island
When it comes to fishing, you can’t beat Hayling Island for choice. Fish from the beach or fish from the boat. Mick’s Fishing Tackle (Address: 9-11 Mengham Rd, 023 9235 2800) sells everything you may need and its staff are local experts. There are many places to fish from, however, if you are fishing from Langstone Harbour, watch out for that seaweed. If it bothers you, just move elsewhere, it’s only ten minutes to the other end of the island.
Combine food and fishing, with The Ferryboat Pub (Address: Ferry Rd, PO11 ODG) and the Inn on the Beach, (Address: 97 Sea Front, PO11 0AS) both of which have excellent beach fishing within a few minutes stroll.
If you are settled at Langstone, try fishing for conger on Langstone Bridge, and try eating at The Ship, another superb eatery along the Island’s unspoilt coastline. If you would like to fish but have no experience, you can even sign yourself up for a beginner’s carp fishing course where you will learn everything you need to know from how to tie a rig, casting, and how to actually catch your fish (email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more details).
Sailing in Hayling Island
So you fancy sailing? Take yourself off to Hayling Island Sailing Club (Address: Sandy Point, PO11 9SL) which is known for its dinghy and keelboat racing and sailing to both international and Olympic level. They provide everything from dinghy classes through to youth events, organised racing to accommodation and restaurants on site. They also offer both adult and youth training courses.
If all this sounds too energetic, and you simply like the sound of “messing about on the water”, then rosiekboattrips.co.uk may be your dream answer. (Address: Ferry Rd, PO11 0DG, Phone: 07542 807272). A family run business with an abundance of experience will sail you around Langstone harbour and point out all sights and places of interest along the stunning coastline. If you are lucky, you may also see a variety of wildlife. Again, wear firm footwear.
Family Activities in Hayling Island
Now, having covered the more physical, sporty activities, let’s think about fun and specifically, children geared fun. There are many beaches to choose from (remember pebbles = jelly shoes/flip flops) and the usual frisbee, rounders etc are perfect, as are beach picnics.
Hayling Seaside Railway is a two mile steam train ride (return) along a narrow gauge light railway. This only runs on Wednesdays and weekends so plan around it. It departs from the seafront (Address: PO11 0AG Phone: 07775 696912) and puffs its way along a charming route via Blue Flag beaches and rare plants specific to the seaside, connecting Beachlands and its amusements and funfair to Eastoke Corner – think shops, pubs and cafes.
And finally, the amusements and funfair. Funland Amusement Parks (Address: The Sea Front, PO11 0AG). Thrill rides, children’s rides, family fun, even dog friendly (on a lead, of course). Places to eat, amusement arcades, what’s not to love? And in the summer, it closes at 8pm – bonus!
Places to visit near Hayling Island
If you wish to travel further afield whilst staying on Hayling Island, both Portsmouth and Chichester are well worth a visit. Portsmouth is a mixture of old and new, from being able to clamber aboard Nelson’s final ship, HMS Victory, to enjoying panoramic views from the ultra modern Spinnaker Tower. It also has plenty to attract the “shoppers” amongst you, with a High Street and two shopping centres, Gunwharf Quays and Cascades – go on, treat yourself, you’re on holiday.
From Portsmouth, if you so desire, you can also catch the Isle of Wight ferry, only a 45 minute journey and operating up to 14 times each day. Chichester is a cathedral city with links back to Roman times, evidence of which can be found all over including Roman baths. It houses many grade II listed buildings, a theatre and a harbour, all of which make an interesting day out, for only a half hour drive from Hayling Island, ten minutes longer than the drive to Portsmouth.
Final thoughts on Hayling Island
All in all, for a peaceful family or couples holiday, with as many or as few activities as you wish, plenty of fresh air and a wide choice of accommodation with places to eat and drink, Hayling Island is the place for you.