When was the last time you took the kids for a day out by the seaside at Stanley? Head over to the Southside and hit the beach or the hiking trails, grab a bargain at the Stanley Market or lunch alfresco at Stanley Plaza.
Looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city? With several beaches, access to some fabulous hiking(make a start on the Wilson Trail!), a good alfresco dining scene, a dog-friendly waterfront, a historic pier, and the opportunity for plenty of water sports, Stanley could be the perfect tonic. Located on the southern end of Hong Kong, Stanley is a laidback and leafy suburb on the shores of the balmy South China Sea.
Here are some of the highlights of the area, which are sure to keep you well-fed, entertained and smiling throughout your whole trip down to the south.
Stanley beaches – St. Stephen’s Beach and Stanley Main Beach
Hiking in Stanley – The Wilson Trail and Rhino Rock
Shopping in Stanley – Stanley Market and Stanley Plaza
Historic sites in Stanley
Stanley restaurants – Where to eat with kids
Water sports equipment rental at Stanley Main Beach
Kids’ activities and classes
Visiting Stanley Beaches – St. Stephen’s Beach and Stanley Main Beach
There are two great strips of sand in Stanley – St. Stephen’s Beach and Stanley Main Beach. St Stephen’s Beach is a quiet but lovely swimming beach around a 5 to 10-minute walk away from the edge of Stanley Market. There are changing facilities but eating options are limited so best to head back to town for lunch or pack a picnic.
Stanley Main Beach is the largest and most popular swimming beach in the area with plenty of facilities and some limited parking nearby. There is a government watersports centre, as well as several options to rent or take lessons for watersports like windsurfing and kayaking.
Hiking In Stanley – The Wilson Trail and Rhino Rock
Get your heart rate going by climbing one of Hong Kong’s most loved trails – the Wilson Trail. With the climb comes a great view towards the Stanley peninsula, so make sure you take the time to take in the scenery along the way. For a more family-friendly option, do the trail in reverse. Start at Parkview and heading down the Wilson Trail into Stanley for a well-deserved refreshment.
This is another less well-known and well-signposted hiking trail near St. Stephen’s Beach that takes you to Rhino Rock, a cool geological point of interest where the rock formation resembles a rhinoceros. A steep path leads up to great views across the bay towards Murray House and Blake Pier.
Stanley Plaza Playground
This pirate-themed playground between Stanley Plaza and Tin Hau temple is a great place for kids to burn off energy and is surrounded by a ton of alfresco eating options.
Aside from the usual shopping mall tenants, other notable mentions include a dog groomers and pet supply, a toy shop, a kids clothes shop, a bulk food store, a surf lifestyle shop, several gift shops, and various dining options scattered across the building. The Stanley Plaza parking is the best option for drivers to park their cars in Stanley on the weekends.
The venerable Stanley Market has been on almost every tourist itinerary for decades. Comprising a warren of several covered lanes just behind the seafront, the Stanley Market is worth a poke around even if you aren’t on holiday. Despite what you hear, it’s not just fridge magnets and Bruce Lee T-shirts. There are some great finds here, from well-priced swimwear to cool pictures, cheap gadgetry and even some nice linen jackets and tableware.
Stanley Market, No. 6, Stanley Market Road, Stanley, Hong Kong, www.hk-stanley-market.com
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Historic Sites In Stanley
Blake Pier and Murray House
Take in some of Hong Kong’s colonial history with a stroll to Murray House and Blake Pier. Both are great places to enjoy the sea breeze, watch the sunset, or if you are lucky to catch a free Tai chi class in the morning. Blake Pier is also a departure and arrival point for the Po Toi ferry if you fancy heading to one of Hong Kong’s remote islands for a slap-up seafood lunch.
Read more: Family Junk Boat Trips In Hong Kong
Tin Hau and Pak Tai Temples
The Tin Hau Temple in Stanley is the biggest and most famous temple in the area. There is also the skin of one of the last tigers ever seen in Hong Kong hanging on one of the walls. It terrorised the neighbourhood before it was shot by a Sikh policeman in 1942.
The tiny Pak Tai Temple is a hidden gem, a short walk away from Murray House on the Ma Hang path. It’s also rumoured that the local pirate Cheng Po Tsai hid some of his treasure here in the cave that is sealed at the back of the temple.
Stanley Restaurants – Where To Eat And Drink In Stanley
Bubbles and Wines
This classy local watering hole on a quiet street behind the market offers a world-class selection of drinks and tapas-style nibbles for mum and dad, as well as hearty kid-friendly options like lasagna.
Pane e Latte
Come here to enjoy delicious pastries, Italian snacks, gelato on the weekends, and a full dining menu in one of Stanley‘s most decorated, most Instagrammed and most lavishly appointed restaurants.
This is Stanley’s go-to spot for good Thai food. You’ll find all the classics here, and the alfresco dining area just behind the market is a great place to enjoy a coconut or Singha beer.
LQV Stanley Stan Cafe
The Stan Café restaurant has a solid selection of fine French cuisine. Meanwhile, the attached deli is a fantastic place to go for crusty baguettes, delicious cheeses, tasty charcuterie and other Gallic treats. It’s also got a great view from above Stanley Plaza.
More Family-Friendly Stanley Restaurants
Beef and Liberty – You can’t go wrong with burgers near the playground.
Cali-Mex Bar and Grill – Another crowd-pleaser
Classified – A reliable favourite for coffees and casual dining.
Gino’s Gelato – Ice-cream near the playground, need we say more?
Henry’s – A favourite amongst locals for its seasonal Mediterranean menus.
King Ludwig Beerhall – A fun German restaurant in Murray House
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Water Sports Equipment Rental At Stanley Main Beach
Located on the far edge of Stanley Main Beach, Aqua-Bound offers a wide variety of rental options for water sports. They have toys including windsurfers, stand-up paddleboards and kayaks.
Editor’s note: This article was written by Esther Bland, owner of Aqua-Bound.
HiWindLover Water Sport Centre
Located near the government watersports centre, HiWindLover also offers equipment rental. It also specialises in lessons for windsurfing and wing foiling.
Island Paddle HK
This is the only internationally accredited stand-up paddle and stand-up paddle yoga school in Hong Kong. They offer supervised stand-up paddle and stand-up yoga lessons.
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Kids’ Classes In Stanley
This is a great place for kids between the ages of 2 and 14 years to get messy, creative and enjoy their artistic freedom. They have regular afternoon and weekend art classes and also accept party bookings.
Glenda Allen Dance Academy
This dance studio offers a wide variety of dance classes from ballet to jazz. Established in 1995, it has produced an impressive list of highly regarded alumni in the dancing world.
Honky Tonks Music and Movement Classes
This is a right of passage for Stanley kids. Honky Tonks uses music and movement to encourage creative exploration and sensory development.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2019 and updated in September 2021.