The Solent Coast is a popular recreational location for local day visitors and tourists from further a field. It is a unique region due to its history, natural scenery and coastal waters. It has a unique environmental and landscape setting, being an almost enclosed area of sea between the mainland and a large island; is of international significance for wildlife; has a variety of views with a range of coastal landscapes including ancient fossil cliffs, heritage coast and areas of outstanding natural beauty, as well as the built environment offering examples of both old and new architecture; is the UK's number one cruise port and one of the UK's main commerical ports at Southampton; is the premier area for recreational boating in the UK; is rich in archaeology both marine and terrestrial; and has an important place in aviation history especially in the development of flying boat services.
A study published in 2018, found approximately 271 million recreational visits were made to coastal environments in England annually, the majority involving land-based activities such as walking. Separately, there were around 59 million instances of water-based recreation undertaken on recreational visits (e.g. swimming, water sports). Visits to the coast involving walking were undertaken by a wide spectrum of the population with coastal walks more likely to be made by females, older adults, and individuals from lower socioeconomic classifications, suggesting the coast may support reducing activity inequalities.
This section provides more details in the following ways to enjoy the Solent: