Yarmouth harbour is about a 4 hour sail from Chichester, with the right tides and wind (or much quicker by motor boat) and is well worth a visit for all the family. If you haven’t been there for a few years, you will find it has been modernised including wifi, better facilities and more berths.
However, it can be busy particularly in the Summer months and weekends so best to book if you know the weather is going to be good!! Otherwise you can turn up or call on channel 68 and the marina staff will assist you to your mooring.
The lovely bustling harbour of Yarmouth has always been one of our favourite destinations. Like many people we have been going there for decades and we were very concerned that the new walk ashore pontoons would ruin the charm of everyone cramming in on a busy summer’s evening all rafting up – which can be very entertaining over a G+T!. However we have been pleasantly surprised and relieved that the charm of the harbour remains.
Yarmouth has a lot to offer and if you are there in bad weather either waiting to get across to France or just to get home, there is plenty to do. Just along from the marina you can catch an open double decker bus and take a trip to the Needles. Very well worth it and we found it spectacular in a gale (although more than anything we were very grateful to be on terra firma!). In fact you can catch buses which go all over the island from just next to the marina.
There are lots of walks but in particular you can walk up the River Yar to Freshwater and the very convivial Red Lion pub. You simply come out of the marina and cross the road and follow the river. You can in fact do a complete circle. One side follows closely alongside the river and is a very good path in all weathers. Once you reach the pub you can return through fields and woods on the other side which in wet weather can be a bit muddy but is very pleasant with lovely views. There are plenty of routes to cycle and if you fancy some fun in your dinghy, you can get to the Red Lion via the River. If you get tired of Yarmouth you can always catch the ferry over to Lymington – they run every 30 mins.
If you are feeling very energetic you can walk to the Needles but this is a long hike.
Yarmouth Pier was opened in 1876. It received Grade 2 listed status in 1975. Originally 685 ft (207.5m) long, it’s now 609 ft (186m) but is still the longest timber pier in England open to the public.
The Royal Solent Yacht Club welcomes visiting yachtsmen and they do very nice bar food at lunchtime.
Yarmouth has some very good restaurants and are popular, so booking is advised. ‘On the Rocks’ is one of our favourites – cooking your own steak on hot volcanic rocks! A little further afield is The Hut and is located in Colwell Bay right on the beach. You can walk there (approx.1 hour) or take a bus or taxi. The food is really good and comes recommended.
Yarmouth is definitely worth visiting although do watch out from the cross tide on entering the harbour and also once inside the tide does rip through. Good luck!!
Contributions from Lorna Blogg and Michelle Whitehead