A day by the water
The coastline surrounding Chichester spans several unique areas, from the beautiful sand dunes of West Wittering and picturesque Bosham Harbour, to salt marshes and interconnecting creeks brimming with wildlife.
Whilst the West Sussex shores make an exciting watersports destination for the more experienced kitesurfers or windsurfers amongst us, Chichester’s coastal areas have something to offer everyone, year-round.
If you’re looking for a day of fun, but at a gentler pace, and new experiences with all the family, this day-trip itinerary is for you.
Ideal for: Families, watersports beginners
Before you go: Depending on how much you’d like to fit into your day-trip, be sure to check tide times or specific timetables for activities before you go.
Arrive early to make the most of your day and, of course, ensure you’re set up with a good breakfast. Sit down to a delicious full English and take in the stunning views at The Boat House Café on Chichester Marina or tuck into the Surfers’ breakfast at local favourite, Billy’s on the Beach.
Next, take to the water for a beginner’s kayaking course with Fluid Adventures. You’ll get to learn all the basic skills to get you moving comfortably on the water and perhaps even put them to the test with some games or a short harbour tour. Alternatively, if your group is keen to try out paddleboarding, book a two-hour family lesson with TJ Boardhire on the sheltered Chichester Ship Canal or a lesson and tour with Get Kiteboarding on the tranquil waters of Bosham Quay.
For a full list of the watersports activities you can do in Chichester, be sure to check out our listings here.
Make your way to Chichester Marina at lunchtime and board a catamaran or fishing boat to head out and explore the wildlife of Chichester Harbour. Chichester Harbour Conservancy operates the Solar Heritage catamaran, a nearly silent vessel that allows you to get up close to the native birds and habitats, whilst Chichester Harbour Water Tours provide cruises on an ex-lifeboat to spot Chichester’s very own colony of seals!
Once you’re back on dry land, head to The Lamb Inn and enjoy its catch of the day special for lunch or one of its delicious pub classics. If the weather is dry, take a moment to enjoy the lovingly-crafted beer garden.
Onto the final part of your day, you have several options to enjoy coastal life before heading home.
If you’re determined to maximise your time on the water, why not check out the afternoon family surf lessons at 2XS? A watersports centre with full facilities, including hot showers, and right on the sandy shores of West Wittering, here you can stretch the action until the very last moments of your trip and come away with the basics of surfing waves.
For a leisurely stroll in tranquil settings, wander along to East Head, a dedicated National Trust site with stretches of soft sand. At low tide, you can explore the exposed sandbars and look out for crabs or enjoy a family game of cricket on the shores. Little ones can find a wildlife sheet to identify tiny sea critters in our guide to rockpooling.
At the southernmost point of West Sussex is Selsey, famed for its crab as a delicacy that you can enjoy from several shacks along the shoreline. Whichever direction you choose, there are plenty of stunning coastal walks to enjoy, whether from Selsey Bill to Bracklesham Bay or further east to Pagham Harbour and its nearby nature reserve.
However you choose to build your day, we’re sure you’ll come away with fond memories from exploring what Chichester’s coast has to offer!
Are you planning your first watersports experience soon? Tell us about your West Sussex adventures by tagging us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – and don’t forget to use #YourWestSussex!