Kayaking Portsmouth: Best Places to Kayak in Portsmouth

A Kayaking Guide for Portsmouth & Surrounds

Kayaking, as well all know,  is a very popular activity for many outdoor enthusiasts in the UK, and Kayaking in Portsmouth down here in Hampshire, is on the to-do list of many avid kayakers who frequently paddle in the south-east.

Known as the UK’s “Great Waterfront City”, Portsmouth takes up almost the entirety of Portsea Island so it goes without saying, there is a lot of water about.

Having been kayaking in Portsmouth several times, I can attest to its beauty and to the allure of the place, and with  its long maritime history, there’s certainly lots to look at from a water perspective.

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about Kayaking Portsmouth – from kayaking routes to safety measures to places where you can rent or buy your own kayak to somewhat “hidden” kayak destinations in the area.!

Hopefully you’ll get much out of the article and we hope you enjoy the read. Let’s paddle on!

Best Places to Kayak in Portsmouth

Portsmouth is blessed with several incredible kayaking spots that cater to a range of differing paddling skill levels.

But whether you’re a novice or an experienced kayaker, believe us, there’s something for everyone in the immediate area. 

Here are some of the TOP Kayaking spots in Portsmouth to discover for yourself.

Kayaking Portsmouth featuring the tower and very blue skies

Interested in Kayaking the New Forest or Somerset?

The following liked articles cover all you need to know about those destinations.
Kayaking in the New Forest |  Kayaking in Somerset

Kayaking Portsmouth Harbour

Given Portsmouth’s close association with the Royal Navy, it’s expected that there would be specific regulations or guidelines to be followed when kayaking in Portsmouth Harbour.

Aside from the Royal Navy you must keep in mind that this is a busy working harbour and that there are all sorts of water craft buzzing about constantly from navy craft to ferries to sailboats, so keeping vigilant and alert is paramount.

It’s crucial to adhere to these rules for the safety and security of all parties involved.

Please note the following and, as always, check with local authorities in Portsmouth before embarking on any kayaking adventure about these parts.

Police and Harbour Patrol Monitoring: Portsmouth Harbour is regularly monitored by both the Police and the Queens Harbour Master Portsmouth Volunteer Harbour Patrol. These authorities patrol the area to enforce the rules and regulations, ensuring compliance and maintaining the safety and security of everyone within the harbour.

Maintain Distance from Submarines: To ensure the safety of naval operations, it is essential to stay at least 100 meters away from submarines at all times. This distance helps prevent any potential interference or accidents and allows for unimpeded submarine movements.

Keep Distance from Warships: Similarly, it’s important to maintain a minimum distance of 50 meters from warships. This precaution ensures that the naval vessels can operate without any obstructions or risks to kayakers or their equipment.

By respecting these guidelines and cooperating with the authorities, kayakers can enjoy their experience in Portsmouth Harbour while also upholding the operational integrity and security of the Royal Navy. 

Always prioritise safety and be mindful of the naval activities taking place in the area so make sure you’ve fully researched what’s going on, especially at the day and time you wish to paddle here on Portsmouth Harbour.

And make certain that you’ve checked the tides as incoming (or outgoing) water here, to and from Portsmouth Harbour, can certainly impact on your kayaking experience.

Having said that, Portsmouth Harbour is quite vast so there are plenty of places and routes to paddle. Why not check out this paddling guide for inspiration. 

Don’t forget to have a paddle around Whale Island, and also, check out the impenetrable looking walls of Portchester Castle as you paddle by up at the north end of Portsmouth Harbour.

Kayaking Portsmouth Drove View of Portsmouth Harbour

Kayaking Langstone Harbour

Kayaking on Langstone Harbour east of the city couldn’t be more chalk and cheese to Portsmouth Harbour as it offers a captivating and diverse landscape comprising tidal mudflats, saltmarshes, seagrass meadows, and shingle beaches.

This area is a unique ecosystem that serves as a haven for various wildlife species throughout the year.

The harbour is renowned for its significant population of breeding seabirds and serves as a vital habitat for overwintering wildfowl. 

The abundance of these birds adds to the charm and ecological importance of the area.

Birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts can delight in observing these feathered creatures in their natural habitat.

In the past we do know there has been some contention regarding kayakers and paddle boarders in Langstone Harbour as they would get just too close to nesting wildlife and upset the natural order of things, but honestly, people are far more educated these days so incidents of this nature now rarely occur.

Canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards are required to pay a Harbour Charge in Langstone Harbour, which can be paid by contacting the Harbour office who’ll also give you some great ideas as to routes and points of interest to see on your paddles. Read THIS for more info.

Kayaking conditions in the harbour can be absolutely unpredictable and can alter very quickly especially with the turning of the tides so again, like Portsmouth Harbour, just make sure you’ve done your research.

Kayaking Fareham Creek and The River Wallington

Paddling Fareham Creek

While Kayaking along Fareham Creek, you’ll discover a number of hidden waterways nestled between Fareham and Portchester. 

This idyllic waterway offers a peaceful and picturesque setting that is sure to captivate nature lovers and kayaking enthusiasts alike.

As you glide through the calm waters of Fareham Creek, you’ll be greeted by serene landscapes that exude tranquility here and it’s certainly a lot less hustle and bustle than kayaking in Portsmouth Harbour proper.

The surrounding reed beds and marshes create a captivating backdrop, adding to the natural beauty of the area.

The challenging currents yet sheltered nature of the creek make it an ideal spot for beginners or those seeking a leisurely kayaking experience.

You really need to do this paddle at high tide for the best water or you might find yourself stranded on mud flats where you had no intention of being.

Paddling The River Wallington

The river should be a creek and the creek should be a river. Yes the Wallington River is far smaller than the waters of Fareham Creek.

Does any of this make sense?

Anyway, we’ve seen people kayaking up the River Wallington before and although we’ve not done it, we’re told that it is possible, but only a short way up and probably no more than about a mile at most into Wallington Village.

For full details of licencing for kayaks and paddle boards in the UK read OUR COMPLETE WATERWAYS LICENCE GUIDE

Kayaking Portsmouth Kayak Hire and Rental featuring yellow kayaks standing on end.

Sea Kayaking Portsmouth

As we previously said, Portsmouth is completely surrounded by water and in essence, it’s all Sea Kayaking. 

But for Sea Kayaking outside the harbours of Portsmouth and Langstone there are still loads of paddling options.

Kayaking on the Solent

The legends from Stoked Watersports are the experts at Gosport Kayaking and paddling the Solent in this area and have loads of options available.

Where Is The Solent

The Solent is the name for the stretch of water between the Isle of Wight and mainland UK. It’s a hive of paddling activity, and an awesome place to hire kayaks or paddle boards to enjoy the waters of the Solent. 

Is It Safe To Kayak on the Solent

It’s as safe as you make it. With the right research done before you set off you’ll be fine but we’d advise against trying to paddle across to the Isle of Wight or out to Horse Sand Fort right in the middle of the Solent as a beginner.


In any case, especially when in the shipping channels, keep a sharp lookout for ships and as previously stated, check local regulations and be especially vigilant of other waterway traffic.

Kayaking Portsmouth Beaches

Left or right out of Portsmouth Harbour? Which way to go? Wel the good news is that both ways are interesting so either way, you won’t be bored.

Southsea Beach

This is the beach to the east of the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour and stretches from Southsea Castle to the entrance of Langstone Harbour. 

Along the way you can take in the South Parade Pier, the breakwater and Eastney Pier.

Stokes Bay Beach

This is the beach to the west of the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour and is a long calm stretch that runs from Fort Glicker to Hill Head Beach some 6 miles up the Solent.


From Hill Head beach you could easily paddle across Southampton water and be Kayaking the New Forest and before long might find yourself Kayaking Beaulieu River and beyond.

Wildlife Spotting When Kayaking Around Portsmouth and Langstone

The good news is that there are heaps, we’ve even seen some small whales in these waters (not in the harbour though) as well as seals, and even the odd penguin if you can believe that. 

But it’s the birdlife around here that attracts a lot of people and believe it or not, there are entire galleries of people who kayak and birdwatch at the same time.

Tips for Respectful Wildlife Viewing

While it’s exciting to see wildlife up close during your kayaking adventure, it’s important to remember that you are a guest in their natural habitat. To ensure that you don’t disturb them or cause harm, there are a few tips you should follow when viewing wildlife from your kayak:

  • Keep a safe distance: It’s important not to get too close to wildlife as this can cause stress or even harm them. 
  • Use binoculars: Bring along a good pair of binoculars so you can observe wildlife from a distance without getting too close.
  • Avoid feeding animals: Feeding wildlife is harmful as they become dependent on humans for food and may lose their natural instincts. 
  • Stay quiet: Loud noises can startle animals and disrupt their natural behavior patterns.
  • Observe but don’t touch: It’s important not to touch or disturb wildlife as this can cause stress and harm to them. 

By following these tips, you can enjoy a safe and respectful wildlife viewing experience while kayaking in Portsmouth.

Kayak Hire in Portsmouth | Kayak Tours and Rentals

Guided Kayak Tours Offered by Local Outfitters

For those who are new to kayaking or unfamiliar with the Portsmouth area, guided kayak tours are an excellent option. 

Local outfitters offer a variety of tours that range in length and difficulty level, so you can find the perfect fit for your skill level and interests.

Guided tours usually include all necessary equipment such as a kayak, paddle and life jacket, as well as instruction on basic techniques before setting out on the water. 

One popular tour is the sunset paddle which offers stunning views of the sun setting over Portsmouth Harbor while paddling through calm waters.

Rental Options for Those Who Want to Explore on Their Own

For those who prefer more flexibility in their kayaking experience or have previous kayaking experience, renting a kayak is a great option. Local outfitters offer kayak rentals for half-day or full-day rentals.

Rental prices typically include all necessary equipment such as a kayak, paddle, life jacket, and sometimes even transportation to launch sites.

It’s important to note that renting a kayak requires prior knowledge of basic techniques such as paddling strokes and safety tips. If you’re unsure about your abilities or want additional instruction before heading out on your own, consider taking one of the guided tours offered by local outfitters first to gain confidence on the water.

Our Kayak Hire in Portsmouth Recommendations 

These suggestions are all from reputable operators that we know of, or have heard good things about.

Paddle Club Portchester: Paddle Club Portchester is a reputable kayak hire center in Portsmouth. With a wide selection of kayaks for all skill levels, they provide quality equipment and friendly service.

Prime Paddling: PrimePaddling is a popular choice for kayak rentals in Portsmouth. Offering well-maintained kayaks and affordable rates, they ensure a seamless and enjoyable kayaking experience on the local waterways.

Stoked Watersports: Stoked Watersports is a trusted water sports center that offers kayak rentals in Portsmouth. With a range of kayak options and knowledgeable staff, they cater to both beginners and experienced paddlers. And, if you ever find yourself looking to go Kayaking in the Lake District – well Stoked have a base up there as well!

With so much water about there aren’t actually that many places to find Kayak Hire in Portsmouth but they are there if you search.

Our Final Say: Why Kayaking in Portsmouth is a 'Must'' When Paddling in the South of England

Kayaking in Portsmouth is an excellent activity for anyone looking to get outside and explore the natural beauty of the area.

With so many great places to paddle, from calm bays to challenging rivers, there’s something for every skill level and interest.

One of the best things about kayaking in Portsmouth is the opportunity to see wildlife up close, especially away from the main working port part of Portsmouth Harbour.

From seals (possibly) to ospreys soaring overhead, to enormous fish, there are plenty of creatures to spot while paddling around the area’s waterways.

Because of the long maritime history of Portsmouth – a history still clearly visible today – this is a real point of difference, and a great reason alone to have a paddle here.

So why not give Kayaking in Portsmouth a try?

Whether you’re looking for a solo adventure or a fun family outing, having a crack at kayaking here is sure to provide hours of entertainment and excitement on the water.

So grab your paddle and head out into the beautiful waters of Portsmouth – you won’t regret it!

Cheers and thanks for reading.

Similar Posts