An explorer's guide to the islands of Britain

50.808246, -1.068824
Distance: 26 km
Difficulty: Easy
Method: Cycling
Wow Factor: 8 out of 10

Key Facts

  • Location: Hampshire
  • Size: 2454 ha
  • Terrain: National cycle routes/lanes
  • Access: Road bridge
  • Height gain: 153 metres
  • Map: OS Explorer OL3
  • Starting point: Eastney-Hayling Island Ferry (GR 50.796440, -1.030187)
  • Accommodation/food:

    There is a wide variety of food and accommodation to suit all budgets and needs on the island

  • Island Summary:

    A vibrant city on the south coast of England full of naval heritage with miles of beautiful waterfront, great views and plenty of fabulous pitstops on the way.

    This cycle ride around Portsea Island is full of variety. The south coast, stretching west from Eastney, is lined by the esplanade along Southsea Beach with rows of historic military buildings, museums and memorials in its hinterland. The island’s southern tip is stacked with interest including the D-Day Museum and Southsea Castle before the expanse of Southsea Common leads to the kiss-me-quick style Clarence Pier.

    Beyond, Old Portsmouth is like stepping back to Medieval times and the maritime interest of the current-day ferry movements and the modern lines of Spinnaker tower on Gunwharf Quay appear in sharp contrast.

    The route along The Hard leads past ever more significant history including the HMS Warrior and the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard home to the Marie Rose Museum, the national Museum of the Royal Navy and HMS Victory.

    Much of the west coast of the island is dominated by the modern-day naval base with the Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum located just before reaching the Brittany Ferries cross-Channel port. The north coast of Portsea is dominated by an ancient monument – the fortifications, woodland, meadows and lakes of the Hilsea Lines.

    The return route, down the east coast, follows an easy cycle route between the busy A2030 and the wild and tranquil waters of Langstone Harbour. There are always great contrasts on this fabulous island.

    This route can be combined with the Hayling Island route – or better still spend a weekend here and explore everything there is on offer.

  • Look out for:
    • The best of Royal Naval History
    • Bustling maritime environment
    • Tranquil waters of Langstone Harbour
    • Plenty of irresistible pitstops
  • Route description:

    A great cycle ride around Portsea Island in Portsmouth which links to the Hayling Island bike route using National Cycle Roues, 2, 22 and 222. The route starts at the Portsea-Hayling Island ferry point and quickly uses a traffic free path along the Esplanade, passing the major tourist sights to Southsea castle, Clarence Pier to the historic area of the city and the iconic Spinnaker Tower.. The route then passes the naval yards and cross-Channel ferry terminals to reach the waters of Portmouth Harbour and Hilsea in the north before heading down the east coast with fine views over Langstone harbour.

  • Getting there:

    Portsmouth is well connected by road, rail and ferry. Check out Visit Portsmouth website for more details.

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