Teturning to my virtual tour of the Solent and Beyond we take the Hotspur over the water from near Southampton Pier is a great way to travel to Hythe, passing any of the Cunard Queens which may be in dock. You journey takes you not far along Southampton Water, passing the mouth of the River Itchen and the unmistakable three towers of Weston Shore. It is only a short ride, taking about fifteen minutes to reach the little town of Hythe, on the edge of the New Forest. May commute this way everyday and shoppers enjoy the hop over to Southampton too. It would take you about an hour to do the journey by road but it’s much less fun.
You alight at the end of an unusual wooden pier built in 1881, although the train which runs along its length was not installed until 1909 and then only for transporting baggage. The present electric railway was put in in 1922 and looks much the same today. You can catch the train and trundle along towards the town or you can also enjoy a stroll along the pier’s length of over one quarter of a mile, with interesting historical facts on placards and regular intervals, such as the visit from King George VI just before DDay in 1944.
Hythe is a quaint place to visit with several cafes and riverside walks, including the fairly recently built marina, which is a wonderful place to stroll, have something to eat and watch the shipping go in and out of Southampton Harbour. In fact, the Cunard dock is right opposite and so here, or at the end of the pier, are the best places for photo shots of the ships berthed or just leaving Southampton.
My next post is at Calshot, perfectly timed for the centenary celebrations. Watch Inside Out on the BBC tonight if my informant is correct! (25/03/2013)