Southampton doesn’t have any beaches – I know it sucks doesn’t it! The good news is that there are plenty of stunning beaches near Southampton, within an hour drive. Living in Southampton for a good 14 years, I have explored quite a few of them.
We don’t get too many beach days, but when it’s sunny and warm you want to be prepared. So, I’ve created this list of the best 10 beaches Southampton beaches so that you’re ready for the next heatwave!
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1. Durdle Door beach – the most spectacular beach near Southampton
Durdle Door is by far my favourite beach and one of the best beaches in the UK! It’s situated in Dorset, just over an hour drive from Southampton. Durdle Door is part of the famous Jurassic Coast featuring white sharp cliffs, crystal clear turquoise water and rolling hills covered with green fields.
Park your car at Durdle Door Holiday Park, which is a campsite (parking fee applies) and walk down and right to see the Durdle Door arc and the stunning beach down the cliff.
You can stay on that beach for the day or walk left to Lulworth Cove. The walk is scenic and takes 30 minutes. Once you’re there, there is a beautiful bay and many cute places for lunch.
On the way back you can come back the same way or via the main road. If you want to be on your own, instead of going left from the Durdle Door point, go right. After the first hill, crowds will vanish and you will have peace and quiet.
TIP: Take snacks, water and good hiking shoes.
Best stays near Durdle Door
Luxury Lulworth Cove Inn
This charming hotel is located just a minutes’ walk from Lulworth Cove beach. It boasts bright en suite rooms with a nautical design. Each room comes with tea and coffee making facilities and free wifi. There is an onsite pub that serves award-winning ales and lager as well as seasonal dishes and can make packed lunches for your treks.
Mid Budget Rose and Crown
Rose and Crown is located between Bournemouth and Durdle Door (30 min drive) and it’s an excellent base for exploring more of Dorset with Corfe Castle and Brownsea Island Nature Reserve 20 min away.
Mid Budget The Countryman Inn
The Countryman Inn is situated only a 10 minutes drive from Durdle Door and Lulworth village. It’s family own and comes with a traditional pub. All rooms are equipped with en suite bathrooms and tea and coffee making facilities.
2. Bournemouth beach- top beach break in the UK
Bournemouth beach is located just 40 minutes drive west from Southampton. On a sunny weekend in the summer, this is the place where all people from Southampton head to. And it’s not surprising because Bournemouth has it all.
The beach is wide, sandy and stretches over a few kilometres. Bournemouth is a very popular UK seaside resort attracting many holidaymakers from the country and abroad alike. For that reason, you will find here all the facilities that you would need for a perfect beach break in the UK.
The beach is equipped with showers, changing rooms, toilets and sun chairs to hire. There is a lifeguard on duty so you can swim here safe. There are also plenty of bars and restaurants facing the beach.
TIP: Hire a bike and cycle along the Bournemouth promenade or join a surfing class!
Best hotels in Bournemouth
Hampton by Hilton Hotel boasts a central location, only 5 minutes walk from the seafront. The train station is located just over 1 mile from the hotel. Rooms are modern and come with coffee and tea making facilities, and bathrooms are equipped with hairdryers and complimentary toiletries. Guests can use the hotel’s fitness centre, which is open 24/7. Breakfast is included in the room rate.
Midrange Bournemouth West Cliff Hotel and Spa
West Cliff is a 3-star hotel located 10 minutes’ walk from Alum Chine beach. The hotel boasts extensive leisure facilities that include a fully equipped gym and a heated pool. For an additional charge, guests can enjoy an adult-only relaxation area featuring a plunge pool, sauna, steam room and aromatherapy room. There is also an onsite restaurant, where guests can have breakfast for an additional charge.
Budget Hotel Celebrity
Hotel Celebrity is located a 5 minutes’ walk from the seafront, close to the East Cliff Railway, on the eastern side of the city. Bournemouth Pier is only 15 minutes walk. The hotel features simple rooms equipped with en suite bathrooms and coffee and tea making facilities. There is a free car park, a restaurant with an outdoor sitting area and a lounge bar.
3. Highcliffe beach
Highcliffe beach has been one of my favourite for a long time until there was a land slide and part of the beach was taken by the sea. Today the beach is back and running.
Only 40 minutes from Southampton through Lyndhurst. What I like the most about this beach is that it is quiet. You can park in town for free on one of the side roads and pick up some picnic snacks from a local convenience store on your way to the beach.
At the top of the beach, on the cliff there is a cafe and public toilets should you need them. If you walk right and down from the cafe, the beach is pebbly and bordered with rocks. If you decide to walk left, there is a sandy beach.
The beach diminishes in the afternoon with a high tide. Also this part is quite busy, but the further left you go, the less people you’ll meet. Take time to look for your perfect spot!
Best hotels near Highcliffe
Luxury Lord Bute Hotel
Lord Bute Hotel is situated just a few minutes away from the beach and a short drive from Highcliffe Castle. The hotel boasts stylish 5-star accommodation, including a family room and a luxury suite. The rooms are equipped with king-size beds, coffee and tea making facilities, free toiletries and a clothes press. Guests can enjoy a complimentary, cooked breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant, renowned for its Sunday lunches and weekly entertainment such as jazz nights.
Midrange The Heather’s Bed and Breakfast
The Heather’s Bed and Breakfast is located 1 mile away from Highcliffe beach and a short drive from Highcliffe Castle. The property is clean and cosy. Rooms are equipped with tea and coffee facilities and free wifi. Guests can enjoy a communal lounge and complimentary breakfast daily.
Budget Hoburne Beach Escape
Hoburne Beach Escape is a holiday home located less than 1 mile from Highcliffe Beach in Mudford. Holiday homes come with two bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen and a private balcony. Free parking for guests is available on site.
4. Southbourne beach in Christchurch
Southbourne beach is a perfect compromise between a great beach with all the facilities and a quiet beach. This beach is situated 42 km south-west from Southampton. You can park by the seafront and walk down the steep cliff to the beach.
The beach is wide and sandy. There is a lifeguard on duty so you can safely swim here. There is a bistro and an ice cream place that gets long queues of people on a hot day. There are also toilets and some beach essential shops.
This is the beach that I visit the most because it’s less busy than Bournemouth but it’s equally nice! There is a line of beach huts along the beach and a long promenade that will take you all the way to the next beach- Boscombe.
Best hotels near Southbourne beach
Luxury Captain’s Club Hotel & Spa
Captain’s Club Hotel is located on River Stour banks, 1.5 miles away from Southbourne beach and 35 minutes drive from Southampton. The hotel boasts a range of luxury suites that come with a separate kitchen and lounge area. There is a Club Restaurant overlooking the river and spa facilities that feature a hydrotherapy pool and sauna. Full English breakfast is included in the room rate as well as free parking and free wifi.
Midrange Commodore Hotel by Greene King Inns
Commodore Hotel boasts airy and spacious rooms overlooking the sea. The hotel is situated on the clifftop at Southbourne, 1 mile away from the Southbourne beach.
Budge Bub Lane Cottage
Bub Lange Cottage is located 3 miles away from Southbourne beach in a historic building dating back to the 1980s. The rooms are simple and clean, come with coffee and tea making facilities and complimentary toiletries. Guests can enjoy a communal garden and a patio and undertake cycling and windsurfing in the area.
Mudeford Sandbank beach is situated just off Christchurch harbour. There is no direct road to the beach as the whole area is part of nature conservation scheme. However you can park at Hengistbury Head car park and take a train to the beach. Alternatively you can take a ferry from the mainland either from Christchurch or Mudeford Quay.
The beach is worth the effort getting though, I’ll tell you that! Sandy with breathtaking views extending over the harbour and the Isle of Wight’s famous Needles.
Mudeford is also home to the most expensive beach huts in the country. There are over 300 of them! There is a beach cafe, public toilets and a shop.
You can sunbath there, walk along the beach or try some water sports on the harbour side of the sandbank.
Best Hotels near Mudeford
Christchurch Harbour is situated just minutes’ walk from Mudeford sandbanks, and it’s set in a grand Victorian building overlooking the sea. It features 63 en suite rooms of different standards. It boasts an excellent and newly refurbished spa centre that includes a fully equipped gym, indoor pool, jacuzzi, sauna, and guests can select various beauty treatment form an extensive spa menu. The hotel restaurant features an outdoor sitting area overlooking the water and Michelin-starred chefs.
Midrange Avon Causeway Hotel
Avon Causeway Hotel is situated a 12 minutes drive from Mudeford beach on the edge of the New Forest, making it a perfect location for an active getaway hiking, cycling, canoeing and more. The hotel is renowned for its Murder Mystery events. The hotel boasts free parking for guest. Rooms come with a coffee and tea making facility and complimentary toiletries in their en suite bathrooms.
Budget Sea View Lodge Mudefor
This property consists of fully equipped, two-bedroom holiday homes with stunning sea views. The kitchens come with dishwashers, microwaves, and washing machines perfect for a more extended stay and family holidays. Guests can use an outdoor pool and a fitness centre. There is also an onsite restaurant.
6. Isle of Wight beaches
The Isle of Wight is situated just off the southern coast of England. You can get there by catching a ferry from Southampton. You will have a few beaches to choose from here such as Shanklin Beach and Ventnor Beach.
The most iconic landmark of the Isle of Wight is the Needles- 3 massive white chalks rocks and a lighthouse. You can go on a chair lift to go down to the beach and see it.
There is plenty to do here for example discovering fossils and dinosaur remains! You can visit Carisbrooke medieval castle or Queen’s Victoria residence- Osborne House. The place is also fantastic for hiking!
Best hotels on the Isle of Wight
Luxury Lakeside Park Hotel & Spa
Set on the banks of a picturesque lake in Ryde, Lakeside Park Hotel features 4-star accommodation, including suites with four-poster beds. The hotel boasts an extensive spa facility, including a pool, sauna, steam room, a hot tub and a range of pampering treatments. Guests can also enjoy a meal and cocktails in a hotel brasserie with an outdoor sitting area overlooking the lake.
Midrange The Wight Mouse Inn
The Weight Mouse Inn is located in the southern part of the island in the town of Chale. The hotel boasts a range of rooms overlooking either the sea and the English Channel or the St. Catherine’s Down. The local area has some excellent walking trails, and Newport can be reached within 20 minutes drive. The room rate comes with a cooked breakfast.
Budget The Wheatsheaf Hotel
The Wheatsheaf Hotel is set in a 17th-century building with many original features dating back to that area in the city of Newport. It is also conveniently located in terms of the public transport links and 10 minutes drive to the ferry port that links Isle of Wight with Southampton. Traditional English breakfast is included in the room rate.
7. Weston Shore
Situated just outside of the city centre across the river Itchen, Weston Shore is the closest to a beach available to the residents of Southampton.
Weston Shore stretches from Woolston to Netley. You won’t be able to swim here, but on a sunny day you can bring a blanket and spread on a grass and enjoy a picnic.
There is a wide pavement, a free parking area and a playground. The placed is liked by dog walkers, parents with children and runners. I used to live in this area and loved coming here for a Sunday walk.
TIP: Sit down on one of the benches and watch huge container ships entering the Southampton docks.
Best hotels in Southampton
Southampton Harbour Hotel is located in the Ocean Village – a trendy part of the city, and it’s been built in recent years. The hotel boasts a spa featuring a pool, sauna, hot tub and a range of beauty and pampering treatments. The hotel is also renowned for its restaurant with excellent vegetarian options and a fancy bar with a sunset view over the marina.
This 4-star hotel is situated in Southampton’s heart, a minutes’ walk from the city’s historic walls and West Quay Shopping Centre. The hotel has a spa centre featuring an indoor pool, sauna and a gym. Guests can also enjoy a meal in The Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill.
Budget Jurys Inn Southampton
Jurys Inn boasts a range of modern en suite rooms. The hotel is situated in the heart of Southampton, overlooking East Park, and it’s within walking distance to Southampton’s main attractions.
Lee-on-the-Solent is probably closer to Portsmouth than to Southampton, but I include it in this list as it’s reachable from Southampton in under an hour. The beach is located in Gosport Borough.
You can park along the coastal road for a small charge or find a back street to park for free.
This place is great for a long walk as it’s got a nice, long promenade along the beach. There are a few cafes and pubs facing the sea.
The beach itself does not have the same soft sand like Bournemouth beach, as it’s covered in very small stones.
Best hotels in Lee-on-the-Solent
Midrange Milvil Hotel
Milvil is a bed and breakfast accommodation located in Gosport, 10 minutes walk to Lee-on-the-Solent beach. The rooms come with tea and coffee making facilities and complimentary toiletries. Guests can choose between continental or full English breakfast.
Budget The Waters Edge
The Waters Edge is located 10 minutes’ walk from Solent beachfront and boasts spacious rooms equipped with tea and coffee making facilities, hairdryers and complimentary toiletries. HMS Sultan is 2.5 miles from the property, and HMS Collingwood is 3.1 miles away.
9. Hayling Island beach
Hayling Island beach is another great beach within an hour drive from Southampton. Hayling Island is situated just east from Portsmouth. It stretches over 5 km on the Solent side and it’s primarily a shingle beach.
The beach is perfect for a nice long stroll if the weather is not great for sunbathing.
The beach is sheltered by the Isle of Wight which creates perfect conditions for water sports such as sailing, windsurfing, power boating, jet skiing and kite surfing.
Best hotels near Hayling Island
Midrange Newtown House Hotel
Newtown House Hotel is located in South Hayling and is set in an 18th-century farmhouse. Rooms are individually designed, and the hotel is a marriage of traditional elements with modern comforts.
Midrange Seaglass Cottage
This property situated in South Hayling features one bedroom, bathroom and fully equipped modern kitchen, including a washing machine and a private garden. There is also free parking and wifi.
10. Southsea beach
Southsea beach is located just a kilometre from Portsmouth city centre. It will take under an hour to get there from Southampton. You can either drive and leave your car in the park and ride facility just outside of the city or you can take a direct train from Southampton.
The beach is mostly covered with shingle and there are all the facilities and entertainment that you would expect from a British beach resort such as fish and chips and ice cream booths.
TIP: Check out D-Day museum located on the seafront.
Best hotels near Southsea beach
This luxury hotel is located a 5 minutes walk to the seafront and boasts quality accommodation featuring Egyptian cotton and feather duvets. There is free parking for guests and an excellent a la carte breakfast.
Midrange G Boutique Hotel
G Boutique Hotel has a superb location, within a 10 minutes walk from the seafront. The hotel boasts unique and modern rooms with quirky décor, free wifi and free parking. The room rate includes a cooked a la carte breakfast with fresh fruit and freshly baked bread. Guests can enjoy hot food in a chic bar set in the hotel’s cellar.
Budget Southsea Rocks Hotel
Southsea Rocks Hotel has an excellent location, 10 minutes walk from Southsea beach. It features simple and clean rooms. Some more budget options include a shared bathroom, and others come with an en suite bathroom.
Sun loungers – lightweight chairs that you can take with you to any beach
Picnic sets for a romantic date or family gathering