I spent the night on Hayling Island and in the morning explored its delights before heading back onto the mainland. The beach is like the rest of this coastline – wide, steep, noisy, with large, large pebbles to make sitting out almost impossible unless you rent a deck chair, along with the wind break, which together will make your beach time bearable.
This is where the only bridge joins the island to the mainland. So English with the tide out.
So it’s back up around then down to Southsea. This is the coastal part of Portsmouth, which faces out onto the Solent and the Isle of Wight. Now Southsea is somewhere I would come back to. There is a touch of class about the place and so much going on. Just past the Model Village is South Parade Pier, the winner of the Pier of the Year Award 2018, whatever that means.
The whole town seems to be ready to welcome Jo Public for holidays and breaks.
There is so much history. You can wander into Henry VIII’s fort, built to defend the naval dockyards, which, in turn were built by his father in 1494. The Palmerston forts were built out in the Solent to deter Napolean from invading.
At the end of Southsea Esplanade the creaking iron girders of Clarence Pier stands tall at the passing of all vessels into and out of Portsmouth harbour. Its trusses are edged in rust and it seems so frail and fragile that even a stiff breeze would reduced it to a pile of matchsticks.
The hoverport is next door.
Then out is up into Old Portsmouth and the old naval dock yards. Locals will find any patch of stones and sand to soak up the rays. The 18th century fortifications provide very effective wind breaks.
Then it is not a short passenger ferry ride across to Gosport but a longer drive up and around and down to the town which has grown up at the east end of Stokes Bay.