Independent guides for the modern tourist
Independent guides for the modern tourist
Lymington is a quaint harbour town, and is one of the most picturesque locations of the Hampshire coastline.
The town boasts a delightful Georgian high street and busy harbour, with its 1,000-berth marina and regular ferry to the Isle of Wight.
Lymington has always had a close connection with the sea, being a major salt producer in the Middle Ages, a centre for shipbuilding during the 18th century and today is famed for sailing and yachting.
The town's fortunes may have come from the sea, but at its heart, it is a market town. On Saturdays Lymington comes alive with the weekly market, which has been held here since the 13th century.
To the south of Lymington are the mudflats and lagoons of Lymington Nature Reserve, which is a haven for wildlife and sea birds, and were originally constructed to extract sea salt.
Along with the pretty town, coastal walks and expensive marina, Lymington also offers independent shops to browse, outstanding restaurants and traditional pubs to socialise in.
For a family day trip to Lymington, there is the amazing Sea Water Baths, an outdoor swimming pool that has over 100m of inflatable assault courses.
There is so much to see and do in Lymington, and the town makes for a fantastic destination for a day trip or holiday.
Lymington High Street – A delightful shopping street with Georgian and Victorian buildings and hosts a vibrant market every Saturday
Lymington Quay – The traditional harbour front of Lymington, with ancient houses, cobbled streets and scenic views over the Lymington estuary.
Lymington Nature Reserve – Beautiful coastal walks, around the former sea-salt pans with views over the Solent
Bath Road Quay – Home of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club and location of the Lymington Sea Water Baths, and always a hive of activity in the summer.
If you are in the New Forest or the west Hampshire region, you will want to have a day trip to Lymington.
There are sufficient sights and activities to easily fill a day of sightseeing. Typical half of the day is spent in the town and around the Lymington Quay, with the second part of the day around the modern Quay at the end of bath road and exploring Lymington Nature Reserve.
The best day to visit Lymington is on a Saturday, when the weekly market is held (8am - 4pm), but this will also the busiest day, with a distinct lack of car parking.
Below is an interactive map for a suggested day trip to Lymington.
Sights of Lymington: 1) Ferry to the Isle of Wight 2) Lymington Quay Side 3) Lymington High Street 4) Saint Thomas' church 5) Bath Road Recreation Ground 6) Lifeboat station 7) Sea Water Swimming Baths 8) Lymington Yacht Haven 9) Lymington Nature Reserve 10) Normandy Lagoon 11) Saint Barbe Museum 12) Burrard Neale Obelisk
Eating and drinking (yellow markers): 1) 1) Elderflower Restaurant 2) The Kings Head Inn 3) Lanes of Lymington 4) The Mayflower 5) The Haven Bar & Restaurant 6) The Six Bells (A Wetherspoons pub)
Advice: A day trip to Limington could be easily combined with Milford-on-Sea, and a visit to Hurst castle. Milford-on-Sea is only a small village but has a surprisingly large selection of restaurants. Related articles: Milford-on-sea guide
The footpath along Lymington Yacht Haven
Saint Thomas’ church
Lymington Sea Water Baths are one of England's oldest sea fed swimming pools. Contained within the pool complex is a fantastic 200m long inflatable obstacle course, and is an amazing summertime activity for children. An hour session costs £15/£10 (weekend/weekday).
If you would just like to swim in the chilly sea waters, it costs £3.00; www.lymingtonseawaterbaths.org.uk/
The Lymington Nature Reserve extends along the coastline between Lymington and Key Haven, and encompasses saltwater lagoons, tidal marshes and mudflats.
The along the seaward side of the nature reserve is an earthen seawall, with a raised gravel footpath and cycle path. This is a very scenic route, offering views over the Solent and Isle of Wight and wetlands teeming with seabirds. This footpath is part of the 60 mile "Solent Way", that links Milford-on-Sea with Emsworth Harbour.
Insight: The Solent has incredible fast following tidal currents, but the Lymington coastline is protected from them and winter storms by the Hurst Spit (4km to the east), on which Hurst castle sits.
The closest lagoon to the marina is the Normandy Lagoon, and the central island was created to allow Oystercatcher, Tern and Ringed Plover breed in safety, hence the fox fence.
The footpath around Lymington Nature Reserve
Lymington is the best coastal town of the region and is a wonderful destination for a relaxing holiday. The town is a delightful base from which to explore the southern side of the New Forest, while offering many options for dining or a social evening drink.
Popular day trips from Lymington include; Hurst Castle, Beaulieu Motor Museum, Mudeford, Burley and the forested walks along the Ornamental Drive
During the summer there is always a shortage of car parking spaces in Lymington, and the best way to travel to the town is by train. The Lymington railway is a branch line off the main route from London, and "Lymington Town" station is close to the Quay.
Advice: If you do need to park in the summer, head to Saint Thomas Street Car Park, which is to the west of the town centre. Also, many of the car parks are short stay, with a maximum stay of 3 hours, this is just enough time to walk the tour detailed in the map.
Departing from Lymington Pier is the car ferry to the Isle of Wight.
The crossing to Yarmouth takes 40 minutes and a day return as a foot passenger costs £18.80 (it is free to take a bike). If you are on holiday in Lymington, a day trip to the Isle of white is an enjoyable excursion. Further details of the Wightlink ferry can be found on their website: https://www.wightlink.co.uk
Insight: Lymington Pier is on the opposite side of the estuary and is a surprisingly long walk (1mile) from the town. For your day trip, a walk to the Nature Reserve is much more pleasant than the pier.
The Isle of Wight ferry towering above the yachts in the marina
Lymington may be on the edge of the Solent, but the one thing the region lacks is beaches - there are none within the local area.
The closest beach is at Milford-on-Sea (4miles westward), but this is a large pebble beach. You would have to travel to Barton-on-Sea (7 miles westwards) before you find a partially sandy beach. In the opposite direction is Lepe (12miles), a shingle and sand beach, which has a wild and unspoilt setting.
Related articles: The best beaches near the New Forest
The colourful beach huts of Milford-on-Sea’s pebble beach
The Saint Barbe Museum details the local history of the New Forest and has temporary art exhibits. The museum is housed in a former Victorian school, and details of current exhibits can be seen on their website; www.stbarbe-museum.org.uk