Where to Take Photographs - A Rough Guide
The docks at Southampton are named Eastern and Western Docks. In high summer the sun can appear to rise and to set from some vantage points up and down Southampton Water at sunrise and sunset.
From the Eastern side of Southampton Water the only areas accessible to the general public where close photographs can be taken are the Town Quay or Mayflower Park. Pay car parking is available in both areas. For full sunlight these locations can be limited to mid morning unless a vessel swings onto 101 berth adjacent to Mayflower Park. Access to the shore along Southampton Water can be gained from various places Weston, Netley Hamble and Warsash. Photography from here requires telephoto lenses and is generally into the sun after midday.
From the Western side of Southampton Water the closest vantage points are opposite 203 Berth, Hythe Pier and Calshot Activities Centre by the National Coastwatch Lookout.
On the waterfront in front of the housing in Magazine Lane Marchwood access can be gained on foot and is adequate for movements from Berths 2SCT 1-4 and vessels using the upper swinging ground. Vessels for SCT 1-4 have to pass this point.
Hythe Pier is generally accessible to the public during daylight and affords views of all vessels transiting the R.Itchen and R.Test . A small pier toll is payable, and a ferry service departs Hythe Pier for Southampton’s Town Quay and affords good views of vessels berthed at 38/9 the Queen Elizabeth 2 terminal.
Calshot Activity Centre car park next to the VTS Calshot Radar scanner and National Coastwatch Institution lookout affords views of passing and oil terminal movements from typically late morning ‘til sunset during most of the year. Small boat activity can be a nuisance during summer weekends and holidays so serious photographers beware! The west bank of Southampton does not lend itself to access for photography due to the Fawley oil refinery and petrochemical complex.
Other locations exist but may have cluttered views or require a 400mm lens!
Any queries for specific local information can be answered giving as much notice as possible.