Our guide to Hayling Island holidays
We love Hayling Island…it’s one of those classic destinations that have managed to keep that seaside charm that reminds us of family days out way back when. With the kind of scenery that could have been made to grace the front of postcards, this beachy corner of Hampshire has a great atmosphere and plenty to see and do.
For one thing, Hayling Island Beach proudly sports a Blue Flag award, and the brightly coloured beach huts that line the seafront lead the way to the attractions that entertain visitors of all ages. How about starting at Funland? With rides to suit every age group, this much-loved attraction’s a great way to keep the whole family entertained no matter what the weather decides to do. Don’t worry if you’re not too keen on the rides, you can still while away an hour or two reliving memories and showing the kids how it’s done on the penny slot machines.
With more than three miles of beach to its name, it’s easy to see why Hayling Island’s a firm favourite with those of you looking for bucket and spade days, and we can’t think of a better spot to wander the seafront and enjoy views across the shimmering Solent on a sunny day.
Hayling Island Beaches
Right, we promised you a haven for beachgoers, so we’ll start with the Hayling Island beaches. As we’ve already pointed out, Hayling Island beach has a Blue Flag, a Seaside Award for its water quality, cleanliness and management. So, if this is going to be one of your first breaks as mum and dad you can rest assured that the beach is safe as well as beautiful. This beach is pretty much a shingle beach, although if you make your way below the high tide mark when the tide goes out you’ll find a wide expanse of sand for those sandcastles you’ve been meaning to try your hands at.
If you want to take the kids paddling, make your way along to West Beach, as the water here tends to get shallower when it’s low tide. A popular spot with swimmers, this beach tends to become home to a lagoon when the tide goes out, which warms up in the sunshine and makes a great place for a dip later in the day.
Places to visit on Hayling Island
There’s one place that’s a bit of a must during your Hayling Island holiday, and that’s Funland. The kind of attraction that’s just as much fun on a wetter day as a scorching one, this amusement park’s home to rides, games and everything you need to keep the kids (and yourselves for that matter) entertained. Wild Billy’s Runaway Mine Train, the Beaver Creek log ride and the Drop Ride are some of the attraction’s most popular, and you can buy a wrist band that enables you to go on as many as you like during the day.
Things to do on Hayling Island
There are some fantastic things to do on Hayling Island, and it’s a great place to stay if you’re hoping to spend your break from it all doing things you’d never do back at home. For one thing, it’s a popular destination with windsurfers, and the sport was actually invented right on the island itself. Whether you’re feeling like giving the sport a go or you’re happy to sit back and watch the action on the Solent, it’s part of life on the island.
If that’s a little adventurous then you’ll also find the Hayling Seaside Railway waiting to ferry you the two miles along the seafront in style.
The Hayling Theatre makes an elegant venue for that evening out, and the fact that the building’s a converted former goods shed only adds to its character. You’ll find some of the theatre scene’s leading shows to enjoy throughout the year, so make sure you check what’s on when you book your stay nearby.
Hayling Island restaurants
With all that sea air we reckon a Hayling Island holiday should bring out your inner foodie, so we’ve checked out some of the restaurants that have the reviewers retuning time and again. The Maypole Inn prides itself on its home-cooked meals, so if you find yourself in the mood for a big portion of something hearty during your stay then give it a try. There’s a beer garden for the summer months and open fires to warm up winter afternoons, and we’d recommend booking in advance if you’re going to eat.
Next, we couldn’t leave out the Mad Hatters Tea Room. A popular choice for a cup of tea and a slice of cake and (particularly) for a cooked breakfast, this café’s got a great reputation for its choice and the service from the friendly team.