Universal is set in an enviable, tree-enclosed location on the banks of the River Hamble. At the heart of the marina, Mermaid’s coffee shop has a cosy log burner as well as outdoor seating, with a great daytime menu. Meanwhile, the Banana Wharf restaurant serves delicious Anglo-Mediterranean cuisine with river views.
Things to do in the local area
Beautiful riverside walks take you to the villages of Bursledon, Hamble and Warsash. The tree-lined banks are ideal for observing wildlife. Catch the quirky pink ferry from Warsash to Hamble, and return via Bursledon for a great circular route. Universal is just two miles from Whiteley Shopping Centre, where you’ll find a Waitrose supermarket, small restaurants and shops, and a cinema. Inland, explore the South Downs and a host of quaint villages. Find out more about events and attractions in Hampshire here.
For those who like to stretch their legs and enjoy a meal, the path south along the river takes you to the Rising Sun in Warsash. Over 200 years old, with upstairs views out over the river, it is the perfect spot to relax with a drink. Closer to home, the Old Ship, a 16th century pub in lower Swanwick, offers classic British favourites, while Bursledon’s Jolly Sailor sits at the river’s edge with relaxing views and great food. Further on, Hamble offers a rich selection of pubs and restaurants.
The nearby city of Southampton offers plentiful shopping at West Quay, with a new cinema and excellent restaurants at Watermark next door. Find out about the Titanic and the great liners that shaped Southampton’s maritime history at SeaCity Museum, or walk the ancient town walls, taking in the 800-year-old Bargate. Discover Southampton’s role in Britain’s aviation history at the Solent Sky Museum, with 18 aircraft on display.
The Isle of Wight
Cowes and its quaint, thriving high street, is just an hour’s sail away. Alternatively, catch a high-speed ferry from Southampton. Home to Osbourne House, Queen Victoria’s former residence, there’s plenty of interest ashore. From Cowes you can continue to the nature reserve of Newtown Creek, where you can anchor and enjoy the idyllic estuary, its small beach and abundance of wildlife. Further on, Yarmouth and its selection of small shops and quality eateries is ideally placed for a scenic cruise to the Needles.
Scenic trips by boat
The Solent, Southampton Water and an array of classic cruising destinations are easily accessible, whether you are looking for a day trip, or an overnight stay in a secluded bay. Enjoy the natural delights of Beaulieu River, with a meandering river cruise up to Bucklers Hard, where Nelson’s warships were built. Lymington and Poole also make great destinations. The Hut, Colwell Bay’s fantastic restaurant on the beach, even offers a RIB service to collect you from your boat.