At the top of Southampton Water near the container port. Marchwood Sailing Club has a set of pontoons and they are a very welcoming club. They charge about £10 per night and produce some good value meals at lunchtime and evenings. There is water available on both pontoons. If a large container ship arrives in the middle of the night you may be woken by the alarming sounds of the prop cavitation from the tugs as they turn the ship right next to your berth. I don't think they have yet got it wrong and flattened the pontoons(!).
Approaching Marchwood Sailing club pontoon.
A very pleasant walk through the woods up to Eling reveals a restored and working tide mill.
Guide price : £5 on pontoon (2002). £8 on pontoon (2007). £10 on pontoon (2009/13).
For a slightly unusual anchorage, try going on up the river toward Eling. Just opposite the container port, at the northern edge of the old Swinging Grounds, it is possible to anchor just out of the channel. We normally buoy the anchor here because there are moorings close by. It is fascinating to watch the container ships being shepherded into their berths before being loaded and unloaded. It may not be the most tranquil anchorage but it is certainly different (and free).
If you are feeling very adventurous, and have a shallow draft, you can follow the channel into Eling itself. The channel is very shallow and the harbour equally so. You may be able to tie alongside the harbour wall for an hour or so, starboard side, just past the slipway. Then again it may be better just to motor in, turn round and come back out again; at least you can say that you have been there...