Whether you want to brave a dip in the UK’s oldest open air water baths or feast on the freshest seafood with pinch-me views, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has got you covered. NATLIE FRENCH rounds up some of the best spots to stop along the coastline…

  1. The Hut, Colwell Bay

Those in-the-know head to The Hut on the Isle of Wight. This laid-back, glass-walled beach restaurant serves up local lobster, surf and turf and Big Fish catch of the day for the table to share. Sip deliciously dry Provence Rosé, while listening to tunes from the resident DJ, and soak up the sublime sunsets over the sea. Open daily until the end of October, you can arrive by boat and the tender will bring you ashore – alternatively, take advantage of the heli-landing sites and nab a lift with one of the Hut Trucks. thehutcolwell.co.uk

  1. Southern Bell, Hayling Island

Book a first class trip on your visit to Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, to this super-cool beach house – built around two vintage railway carriages from 1903 and 1974 – with direct access to Hayling Island’s Blue Flag Beach, via your own private gate. Southern Bell takes its name from the fastest steam train of its time, which whisked passengers from London to Brighton in an hour. This light and bright space sleeps eight and is dog-friendly. And did we mention those panoramic sea views? co.uk/the-beach-house

  1. Seashore Foraging

While the New Forest steals all the glory when it comes to foraging forays, the Hampshire coastline has its own edible offerings. In the peak summer months, the lagoon at Hurst Spit is abundant with marsh samphire. This salty treat (otherwise known as glasswort, pickle weed and mermaid’s kiss) thrives in the muddy, marshy sea water; wash it thoroughly before you fry it up with some garlic and lemon. New to foraging? Forage London offer The Edible Seashore workshop this summer with professional forager Peter Studzinski. foragelondon.co.uk

  1. King Charles III England Coast Path 

Don the walking boots and stroll the 52-mile Hampshire section of the 2,700 mile King Charles III England Coast Path – one of the longest continuous walking routes in the world. The Solent coastline route starts at Calshot spit – taking in unspoilt countryside, bustling marinas and wildlife conservations sites – before passing Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, home to HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose Museum. englandcoastpath.co.uk

 5. Spinnaker Tower

Soaring 170 metres into the sky, the iconic Spinnaker Tower offers epic 23-mile views over Portsmouth, the Solent, the South Downs and across to the Isle of Wight. Dine on decadent High Tea in The Clouds; breathe in the view from the open air Sky Garden, or make a beeline for the Sky Bar to sip on classic cocktails. The brave can hurl themselves down the tower on an adrenaline-pumping abseil or venture across the Sky Walk where nothing but a sheet of glass, 100 metres above sea level, separates you from the world below. spinnakertower.co.uk

The Isle of Wight: A Walker’s Paradise for two and four legs

 6. Round the Island Race

Since 1931, competitors – both enthusiastic amateurs and pro elite – come from all over the UK and beyond to follow the 50 nautical-mile course around the Isle of Wight. Round the Island Race (June 15) starts from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes; the fleet race westabout to The Needles, passing St Catherine’s Point, around Bembridge Ledge buoy and back into the Solent to the finish line at Cowes. Regularly attracting over 1,100 boats and around 7,000 sailors, it’s one of the largest yacht races in the world. Landlubbers can soak up the sight from one of the vantage points on the island. roundtheisland.org.uk

  1. Victorious Festival, Southsea

Looking to make some memories in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight? This sprawling family-friendly fest returns to Southsea Common on the South Coast (August 23-25) with an impressive line-up including Fatboy Slim, Pixies, Jamie T and Snow Patrol. You’ll find Omid Dhalili and Dara O’Briain performing at the Big Top Comedy and Cabaret tent, while The Kids Arena is a mini festival in itself with dance troops, mini discos and a beach area. Top tip: escape the crowds and climb the ramparts of Southsea Castle and lighthouse, built for Henry VIII in 1544 – a great spot to admire the Solent views while listening to an amazing line-up of DJs. victoriousfestival.co.uk

 8. Lymington Sea Water Baths

Take a dip in the oldest open air sea water baths in Blighty, found in the coastal town of Lymington on the edge of the New Forest. Harking back to 1833, Lymington Seawater Baths gained national interest for their health-giving salt waters; now you can swim (wetsuits available), SUP or tackle the 120-metre inflatable obstacle course, all while enjoying epic views across to the Isle of Wight. lymingtonseawaterbaths.org.uk

  1. Stargaze in an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

The magical mix of minimal light pollution and a mild climate makes the Isle of Wight a stargazer’s dream. Hence why the island – and the surrounding waters – were named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2019. Once darkness falls the inky-black sky sparkles with thousands of stars; look out for The Milky Way, Cassiopeia, Orion, and the Plough. Seek out remote locations such as the Needles Headland, Freshwater Bay, Compton Bay or Brighstone Beach during, or just after, a new moon for optimal star spotting. co.uk/things-to-do/dark-skies

 10. Greg Pitt Sea Fishing

Milford-on-Sea has earned a reputation as foodie’s heaven but now you can catch your own supper straight from the Solent shores. Greg Pitt Sea Fishing has been running sightseeing and sea fishing trips for over two decades onboard the Osprey II, a 33ft Lochin skippered by Greg Pitt. Sail out of Keyhaven, passing Hurst Castle to the Needles Rock and Lighthouse. After soaking up the scenery, you can try your hand at a spot of mackerel fishing; while number have dropped in the area you may still be lucky enough to leave the trip with the freshest fish supper. gregpittseafishing.co.uk