The Beachlands area of Hayling Island seafront has been a tourist destination for many years. Originally a holiday spot for the well off who wished to enjoy the medicinal benefits of sea water and fresh air. Beachlands even boasted a seawater bathhouse during the 1820s, constructed shortly after the island was made more accessible by the opening of the new bridge. Hayling Island was discovered by the masses in the 1930’s, when the popularity of the motor car made travelling here more convenient. As the Island grew in popularity as a holiday destination, the attractions of safe sandy beaches and good sunshine records were joined by frequent traveling country fairs held at Beachlands. When the site was bought by Billy Butlin in 1924, these traveling fairs started to become permanent attractions and the forerunner to the modern fairground that sits on the same site today. One of the biggest attractions of this early fairground was Monkey Island. Set amid a small boating lake, Monkey Island was a rocky outcrop inhabited by live monkeys.
As well as being a place of fun, Beachlands has also served a more serious role. Taken over by the Royal Navy in 1939, Beachlands served as a barracks for the armed forces for the duration of WWII.
Today the fairground, under it’s modern name of Funland, offers attractions rather different to the old Monkey Island including dodgems, under cover amusement arcades, swing boat and a small roller coaster.
Children are well catered for in the fun factory, whilst parents enjoy refreshments at one of the kiosks or cafes on site. Open all year round the funfair even offers shelter from the elements under our very own ‘millennium dome’ and has recently become one of the stops on Hayling’s own seafront railway.