This charming, peaceful island with its Blue Flag beach and a country village atmosphere is vital to the area as a tourist resort.
The island covers only ten square miles and is accessible from the mainland by a road bridge. Halfway along its four-mile length it is almost cut in two at the point where Mill Rythe, a narrow inlet, comes in on the east side from Chichester Harbour. At this point the island is only half a mile across. Almost all the population of the island live south of this narrow 'waist'.
North of this line the villages of Northney, with its thatched cottages and meandering country lanes, and Stoke are the only settlements of any size.
The Northney Visitor Centre, a restored telephone box by the village hall, has a wealth of information.
A commemorative stone and plaque near the Langstone Hotel honours the work Commander Harold Wilkinson Goulding D.S.O. R.N.R. and his units carried out during WW2. Another plaque is placed on the house Harold lived in during WW2, Moss Rose Cottage, St. Peter’s Road, Northney.
South Hayling is the part of the island best known by holidaymakers, and is a combination of town and country.
Its main attraction for visitors is of course its wonderful coastline, over four miles of it. Part of the beach, at Beachlands, now boasts a Blue Flag and the Solent Water Quality Award in recognition of its high standards of beach and foreshore management and good water quality. Beachlands itself is over 100 acres of land between Sea Front [road] and the shore. Its grassy dunes, gorse, wild flowers and bird life provide delightful picnic spots, and its unspoilt nature is what sets it aside from many other, larger, resorts.
Sailing and boardsailing are two activities for which the island is internationally renowned, conditions being perfect for both sports.
Recent additions to the attractions on Hayling sea front is the Hayling Seaside Railway, a narrow gauge train opened in the summer of 2003 running from Beachlands funfair to Eastoke Corner which in its first season of operation had attracted over 20,000 passengers; and the World War II Heritage Trail and COPP memorial, commemorating the acts of heroism on the island during the conflict.
The historic oysterbeds on the north west coast of Hayling Island have been restored, creating a wildlife haven which has become an important seabird breeding site.