This blog post is about my holiday on Hayling Island, which is situated on the south of England in the UK.
As many people in the UK do, I grabbed a caravan holiday deal via the Sun newspaper. The deal was a good excuse to go explore an island that I had only briefly visited in the past. So my girlfriend and I packed our backpacks, not quite sure of what to expect.
Getting to Hayling Island.
Unfortunately there is no direct train to the island now, as that was removed during the 20th century. However the island is easy to get to even if you are not driving a car. For me it was a train connection from Portsmouth Harbour to Havant and then a bus from Havant to the island. It was a short and trouble free journey.
At the end of the blog post, I will mention ‘leaving’ via boat.
The accommodation and self-catering.
You can read about my Hayling Island caravan experience if you follow the link. I was extremely happy with the Parkdean caravan park experience, so didn’t bother to look at what else was available for future trips!
What to do at Hayling Island?
For me, this holiday was a much needed break as I was exhausted from work. So my girlfriend and I decided to take a relaxed trip and decide what to do on a per day basis, which was especially wise seeing as the weather forecast wasn’t looking too good! However we lucked out, apart from one day, which we decided to spend indoors reading and watching DVDs. Below I will cover what we saw and did on the island.
For us the holiday was about fresh air and time together. We avoided hopping on the buses for the most part, and strolled to locations, whether it was a beach, car boot, seafront train or ferry.
The widest stretch of beach is impressive, regardless of it being primarily pebbles and not sand. With plenty of seating, great views, toilets and nearby facilities, the Beachlands area was pleasant and relaxing to explore and enjoy.On more than one occasion we strolled along, eating ice-creams, enjoying the sea breeze and the calm environment. We were visiting in early May, so there wasn’t too many people around, but the weather for most of our trip was glorious, which was a must for enjoying the island.
Car boot sale.
I had heard about the car boot sale from Lynn a Twitter friend, and it just so happened it was open on the Wednesday morning we were nearby. So we went out of our way to take a look around. All the stall holders that I chatted to were friendly, and we brought a couple of second-hand DVDs for 50p each! There was a great fruit and veg stall, and plenty was on offer, to tempt us.
Train ride at Beachlands!
Again on the Wednesday we were lucky to discover the train along the seafront was running! We hopped on the little train, and apart from a noisy family in our carriage, enjoyed most of the ride. I will admit I’m a train geek, so especially soaked up the ride. We hopped off the train at the termination point at the seafront, near the road ‘Rails Lane’.
Nature Reserve at the seafront.
I had seen mentioned somewhere about the nature reserve at Sandy Point at the bottom right corner of the island, but forgot to bring my binoculars and apart from a few glimpses of small birds, I only saw pigeons close up!Then the weather turned, with grey clouds rolling over, drops of rain and the wind picked up. All this wasn’t helped by the fact I wasn’t wearing a thick top, so I started to get cold. All in all, a missed opportunity. Around the corner from the reserve we discovered a bench, and with the weather becoming pleasant again we took a moment to take in the views.We then strolled towards the marina, and detoured along a road and found a bus stop on Sandy Point Road.
Leaving Hayling Island by Ferry.
We decided to not leave the way we arrived, and opted to go via ferry to Portsmouth. We brought a couple of drinks and chocolate and headed off to the seafront WW2 gun placements near Ferry Road. Not much to see there now, but reminded us of the bravery of the soldiers defending the UK.Part of the WW2 site is now closed off and unfortunately is falling apart.Perhaps we had walked the wrong way, but found ourselves walking on the road for a short stretch. Then back on a path we strolled along and admired the beautiful view of the tide being out and envied some of the seaside homes. Further along the road we found a pub and the small boat / ferry terminal. The ride was brief, but pleasant and as we departed the boat the owner wished us a good day.We were fortunate that a bus was waiting at a nearby stop and we hopped on and journeyed to the bus terminal outside of Portsmouth Harbour station.
We didn’t walk the Billy trail on the island, mainly because of the lack of toilets on-route, and didn’t find the time. We took a relaxed view on our activities and instead of rushing to see everything, just enjoyed the calm, quiet and beautiful surroundings. We didn’t bother with the fairground rides or crazy golf as we didn’t feel like going on them. We also neglected the top area (near the bridge), which we will likely visit if we return.
I found the locations we visited to be very clean, apart from a few bits of rubbish here and there. The island isn’t a place to visit if you are after a bit of history and neither was it a hive of activity, but for a much needed relaxed and quiet holiday in May, and with some good weather, Hayling Island was an enjoyable holiday.