Go wind-powered! Explore the south coast from the waves

Go wind-powered! Explore the south coast from the waves

How are your sea legs? If you love sea spray, big skies, working up an appetite and sleeping like a baby, wind powered sailing and watersports are some of the eco-friendliest, healthiest and most enjoyable holiday activities around.

No need to jump on a plane! Instead, step on a train and head south. In around a couple of hours' ride from the big smoke, discover sandy beaches, fabulous scenery, world class watersports schools and a whole raft of sea-going fun...

Children laughing on a yacht

>> Cruising the Solent

If you've been dreaming of a life on the ocean wave since you first saw the opening credits of Howard's Way, why not skip the foreign holiday this year for a train down to the cradle of British yacht racing? From race-obsessed Cowes on the Isle of Wight to historic Portsmouth and laid back Lymington, the ports lining the Solent waters live and breathe sailing. What better place to (literally) learn the ropes?

>> Find sailing taster days and longer liveaboard sail cruising courses via the RYA accredited Portsmouth Marine Training

>> Get there via public transport: South Western Railway to Portsmouth Harbour from London Waterloo.

Happy windsurfing woman

>> Windsurfing off Dorset's Jurassic Coast

One of the largest natural harbours in the world, sheltered and shallow Poole Harbour could have been custom designed for budding windsurfers just finding their feet. The reliable winds further along the coast in sweeping Poole Bay offer more advanced windsurfing practioners opportunities to master those cracking carve gybes and land a few Vulcans!

>> Find taster lessons and short courses at Poole Windsurfing School

>> Get there via public transport: South Western Railway runs directly to Poole from London Waterloo or National Express coach number 035 from Victoria Coach Station to Poole.

Kitesurfers on the water

>> Kitesurfing at Camber Sands

The key to a good day's kitesurfing? Besides a hearty breakfast and regular snacks, you need to get lucky with the wind speed and direction. At Camber Sands in East Sussex you only need worry about keeping your strength up – the peninsular location almost guarantees a good stiff breeze and allows instructors a choice of beaches for the ideal 'side shore' wind conditions each day. Perfect for beginners!

>> Take off with kite surfing lessons right on Camber Sands beach at The Kitesurf Centre

>> Get there via public transport: Southeastern Railway from London St Pancras to Ashford International then change to Southern Railway to Rye. At Rye train station, it's a simple 10-minute ride on bus 102 to the last stop at Camber Sands Holiday Park.

>> Love the sea? Help to protect it...

Take only photographs: the seashore may seem a rough-and-tumble environment yet our coastal ecosystems can be surprisingly delicate. Stick to established paths, give wildlife plenty of space and don't take home any natural 'souvenirs'.

Leave only footprints: our seas and the wildlife that live in, on and near them are under threat from pollution, particularly from our plastic waste. Make sure that anything that comes with you leaves with you. Why not do a quick litter pick at lunch or before you head home? It only takes two minutes to make a difference!

Do you love getting out onto the water? Where are your favourite British watersports locations? Share your tips and comments with us via Twitter and Facebook!

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