Harbours to Visit

Most of our events on Sea Essay (other than our summer cruise) start from Mercury Yacht Harbour which is close to the village of Hamble and only a short distance from Southampton. Sailing from here, you can experience excellent sailing conditions and fascinating scenery, beautiful natural countryside and historic warships in Portsmouth Harbour. The waters of the Solent provide a special sailing experience, suitable for both novices and experienced sailors.

Here are some notes on a few harbours you could visit on your next cruise from Hamble on Sea Essay.


Sailing east from Hamble is the maritime city of Portsmouth. Famous for its Historic Dockyard, warships, Spinnaker Tower and Gunwarf Quays shopping center to name but a few destinations.

In addition to the naval traffic that includes the Aircraft carriers, Portsmouth Harbour is also the destination for numerous ferries, other ships and a multitude of private yachts and boats. Its a busy harbour that has several marinas, basins, docks, pontoons and mooring fields so there is plenty of interest to see. There are are strict rules that must be followed when using the small boat channel to enter and leave the harbour so careful planning, meticulous execution and a good lookout are essential.


The port and city of Southampton is usually clearly visible toward the north once we leave the River Hamble. In Southampton Water you will often see large oil tankers, vehicle transporters some of the the worlds biggest cruise ships and cargo ships that dock in the city. The city is full of history and a visit to the SeaCity Museum is perfect for those interested in all things nautical.

There are several marinas to choose from and a number of mooring fields suitable for a temporary stop including some with a great view of the commercial docks where the largest cargo ships are unloaded.

Hythe Marina is also worth a visit. Not least because it is a good place to experience going through a lock in a yacht but its also a bit quieter over night than ocean Village.


Almost directly south of the entrance to the River Hamble lies the Isle of Wight, River Medina and the town of Cowes. The town is full of small sailing related ships so is perfect if you need to pick up any gear. If you have a couple of hours free, there is also the Classic Boat Museum where you can see over 50 old and new yachts, powerboats and lifeboats and learn more of the town’s wonderful maritime history.

If you have more than a few hours Osborne House is also worth a visit. It is walk able at a stretch from the ferry at East Cowes but a taxi might save your legs.

There are plenty of pubs and restaurants to choose from on the High Street where you can enjoy locally caught fresh seafood.


Head west from Hamble and you’ll find the scenic river Beaulieu which leads up to a small marina at Bucklers Hard. From here it is possible to walk into the village of Beaulieu, a small village located on the edge of the New Forest National Park.

Visits to Beaulieu Abbey  the National Motor Museum are also possible from here.


Further west from Beaulieu is the town and harbour of Lymington where a berth for the night can be found in the Yacht Haven, Berthon Marina or even up at Town Quay.

If you have a few hours spare head to the St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery where you’ll find art exhibitions and a selection of historical artifacts from the New Forest area. If you fancy a wander, there are walks along the coast path with views of a nature reserve and across the Solent to the Isle of Wight.

Several restaurants including The Ship and the Mayflower.



NewTown Creek




Wooton Creek


Langstone Harbour

Southsea Marina – A challenging approach through a shallow channel

Chichester Harbour

East of Langstone.

Several Marinas and other places to overnight

Sparkes Marina

Northney Marina

Itchenor Moorings

Chichester Marina

Channel Sailing is a division of the CSSA