If you love to get out on the water, then you may be surprised by just how many opportunities for watersports there are here in the New Forest.
The New Forest is most commonly known for its fantastic walking and cycling routes, in our beautiful woodlands and open moors where wild ponies roam free. However, one of our many hidden gems is that we have a wonderful 43 miles of glorious coastline. People often don’t realise that the New Forest is on the coast and there are lots of fantastic ways in which you can enjoy it! Think luxury sunset cruises through to adrenalin-rush Rib rides and the south coast’s first water-skiing and wakeboarding cable system and you’ll get the picture.
What kind of watersports are on offer in the New Forest?
With exclusive rights to the privately-owned Beaulieu River, New Forest Activities, based near Beaulieu, offer an abundance of water-based activities. Jump into their open 'Canadian style' canoes and enjoy a gentle paddle through the Beaulieu River Nature Reserve, this activity is great for all ages from 18 months upwards! Their stable touring kayaks are perfect for discovering the hidden creeks and waterways of the river. Or why not hire some sit on top kayaks and splash about in the river's calm waters? For groups, a 'Paddle to the Pub' is a great way to while away a day in the sunshine. After an enjoyable paddle along the river you'll disembark and enjoy a refreshment at the riverside pub in Buckler's Hard. At Christmas time look out for special paddles with Father Christmas, a fantastic activity for some family fun.
You can explore our scenic coastline or our rivers and estuaries with The New Forest Paddle Sport Company. Whether you are a beginner wanting to try a taster session, or an experienced paddle boarder wanting to hire one of the boards, there are several options available to you. Families looking for a day out with a difference should look out for the Hurst Castle experience. Start your journey with a two hour guided paddle from Keyhaven to Hurst Castle through the salt marshes. Once you arrive at the castle you will have lunch provided and the opportunity to explore before catching a ferry ride home. This is a fantastic way to see some of our beautiful coastline and keep fit in the process.
New Forest Water Park, just a few miles from Fordingbridge, offers watersports in 50 acres of New Forest countryside. Try your hand at wakeboarding, take a ride around one of the lakes on a banana boat, inflatable ringo or speedboat or hire a kayak or stand-up paddle board and discover the lakes for yourself. For some great family fun, the outdoor floating inflatable aqua park is a must. With two trampolines, monkey bars, flippers, slides, an overhang climbing wall, and lots more, this is a sure way to have some great fun on the water. Anyone that enjoyed watching Total Wipeout will have lots of fun here. There’s also on-site camping if you fancy a water sports break.
Set sail from Lymington and out into the Solent with Escape Yachting. Escape Yachting offer experience days where you can learn to sail in a friendly environment. Or, if you fancy doing a more relaxed cruise, let the captain and his crew sail you around the Solent over to the Isle of Wight with complimentary champagne on arrival. Escape Yachting not only offer day cruises, but short breaks and holidays too.
Calshot Activities Centre, which sits on the end of Calshot Spit overlooking Southampton Water and on the edge of the Solent offers water sports sessions and lessons on dinghy sailing, kayaking, windsurfing and powerboating. There are also storage facilities for boats, windsurfing boards, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.
If you want to take part in some sailing then Calshot Sailing Club offers membership and a busy schedule of sailing events. Alternatively, Spinnaker Sailing Club, near Ringwood is a RYA recognised training centre which runs sessions including introducing your children to sailing, learn to sail yourself and team racing.
Lymington Town Sailing Club runs regular training sessions that are available to non-members. These include dingy sailing and powerboat courses.
Sailing days and boat charters are often available from the seaside town of Lymington, with its three marinas. Including Escape Yachting.
Anyone that fancies a spot of fishing whilst visiting the New Forest should check out our fishing page where we give you some great tips on both coarse and sea fishing that you can do in the area.
Make savings on New Forest watersports
Buy a Go New Forest Card in advance of your visit for £10 and save money off activities including watersports, accommodation and eating out.