Some of the best things to do in Lymington
PUBLISHED: 16:17 20 January 2016 | UPDATED: 16:17 20 January 2016
Beds on Board
Enjoy boutique shops on cobbled streets, coastal scenes and cake in hidden cafés… follow Emma Caulton’s guide to a very relaxing overnight break by the sea
Browse & Shop
Lymington is well known for its Saturday market, which takes over the High Street and offers a vibrant mix of the handcrafted, the unlikely and the essential.
The charming Georgian High Street is also home to an excellent selection of quality independents. Boutiques include Elliotts (very wearable fashion for men and women), Stanwells (lots of designers usually only found in London), Thirty Three Boutique (names such as Weekend Max Mara and Cocoa Cashmere) and Loose Ends (unstructured style) on Gosport Street. For outdoorsy types there are quality names such as Quba & Co on the High Street and Musto down on Town Quay.
St Barbe, off the High Street, combines a dynamic museum with highly regarded art gallery. The museum retells local stories of smugglers, salt makers and boat builders working along the Solent shore. The gallery enjoys the support of organisations such as the Tate, V&A, and British Museum, shows work from national collections and has held major exhibitions and hosted work by renowned artists.
Looking for a light snack? Take your pick from traditional tea rooms and relaxed cafes. At the top of the High Street there’s a popular cafe in Willows (fab interiors/lifestyle store), and at the bottom (on Gosport Street) there’s a lovely Italian cafe, Ciao Belli. In between there is a great deli/cafe, Maison Cuisine (in Angel Courtyard), ‘authentic’ tapas at La Vina while Stanwell House’s new informal restaurant, Burcher & Co. serves up British tapas – small plates inspired by local produce.
The Quay is the place to sit and do nothing, to watch yachts drifting down river and families crabbing at the water’s edge. The more adventurous could try sailing experiences (with Sailing Spook) or kayaking (through Lymington Kayaks or Ocean Kayaks at BHG Marine). From May to September there’s fun to be had in Lymington’s open air sea water baths, the oldest in the country, with the south coast’s biggest inflatable obstacle course.
Whatever the weather, treat yourself to an ice cream, particularly as New Forest Ice Cream is made in Lymington and there’s a parlour at the top of Quay Hill. Flavours include ‘oriental ginger’, ‘mince pie’ and ‘Old Thumper’ real ale!
Lymington to Keyhaven Nature Reserve is a delight. It covers an area of around 500 acres and comprises lagoons, reed beds and salt marshes with lovely views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. This is a rich feeding ground for a variety of birds, particularly during the spring and autumn migrations.
Eat & Sleep
Enjoy dinner at The Haven, part-owned by broadcaster Chris Evans, positioned in the Yacht Haven marina with views over the Solent. There’s an emphasis on fresh fish and seafood, plus live music every Sunday from 5pm and Wednesday from 8pm. For a different foodie experience try Wytes’ Caribbean food (including goat curry, jerk chicken, and rum and coconut mussels). Good Food Guide recommended restaurants include Egans (top notch modern British) and newcomer Elderfower restaurant with good value rooms on Quay Hill. For luxury and comfort, consider Stanwell House Hotel, a lovely boutique hotel in a Georgian townhouse or try a night on the ocean wave without any sailing know how required at Beds on Board. Launched in early 2015, it allows guests to sleep on yachts, luxury powerboats and even a classic gentleman’s motor yacht with hostess to look after you. Prices start from £75 per night for 2 guests.