The historical coastal town of Lymington is a fascinating area thanks to its maritime history and close proximity to the New Forest which attracts tourists worldwide. Older areas in the town have recently been redeveloped with some buildings demolished and replaced for larger, more modern infrastructure such as apartment blocks or retirement homes. The ancient seaport sits on the bank of The Lymington river and is hugely popular for yachting and sea sport thanks to it’s three marinas.
Lymington’s first recorded history shows the towns infancy as an Anglo-Saxon village which since thrived as a salt-producing centre right up to the 19th century. Industry in the 19th century moved towards ship building and the town was home to a military depot including a number of foreign troops. The town has an architectural mix of Georgian and Victorian buildings, some modern art deco and even traces of some Medieval architecture throughout. Lymington has been named one of the best places to live in the UK thanks to its close bordering to stunning countryside areas, unique town character seafront location and low crime rates. This also makes it one of the most expensive.
At the top of the High Street sits the mid-thirteenth century Church of St Thomas. The church now stands as a mixture of some of its original structure combined with necessary restorations and additions. Lymington particularly promotes stories about its smuggling thanks to its strong maritime connections, and it is rumoured that the vicar of the Church of St Thomas once used to allow smugglers to store their contraband within the church’s tower! There are also unproven stories of smugglers’ tunnels running from the old inns and under the High Street to the town quay.
Other historic architecture of interest in Lymington are the gun fort of Hurst castle, located at the narrow western entrance to the Solent, and Beaulieu Abbey which is unique to Britain as it was populated by French monks from the Cistercian order at Cîteaux.
The town is not short of activities to enjoy with a nine-hole golf course, St Barbe Museum, swimming pool, refurbished 1833 Sea Water Baths with an obstacle course and paddleboard hire, a sports center and a cinema. There are also several parks including a Skatepark, tennis courts and football pitches. The national motor museum is also hugely popular with its collection of literature, pictures and 250 vehicles including 11 Formula 1 cards and vintage models.
Those with an interest in fishing can charter a boat from one of the marinas or join in with an organised trip.
Lyminton’s close proximity to the New Forest makes it a popular through route and stop off point as a base for walking and cycling. Dog lovers may also be looking for a place to stay in Lymington for the annual Dogstival, hosted in Burley Park just a short 20-minute drive away.
Visitors staying local in the town for outdoor activities can enjoy the Solent Way Walk or head down the steep cobbled Quay Hill which is the historically busy hill where salt would be loaded and coal and timer brought ashore from ships. The street is now filled with picturesque shops, various eateries, and wine cellars. Lymington nature reserve is also a great way to tread the path of this historic salt industry and even spot some wading birds along the way.
Every Saturday Lymington Charter Market honours a trading tradition going back to 1250 with up to 100 stalls selling fruit, bread, herbs, cut flowers, arts and crafts, fashion accessories and much more making for a lively atmosphere.
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