Keyhaven is the epitome of a traditional seaside holiday. More a hamlet than a busy village, holidays in Keyhaven are best at a tranquil pace where you can really unwind and let your senses lap up the sound, smell and sights of the coastline.
The seaside hamlet is part of the Keyhaven Nature Reserve, a 500-acre Site of Special Scientific Interest with panoramic views of the Solent across to the Isle of Wight and the Purbecks to the west. The nature reserve is a serene little corner of coastal paradise and is an idyllic spot for paddle boarding, kayaking and canoeing, with tuition and equipment hire available from local providers. Pack a picnic and explore the walks around the reserve, some of which are gravel, making them suitable for cyclists as well as pushchairs and wheelchair users. On your way, keep an eye out for the fascinating wildlife that frequent the mud flats, including oystercatchers, redshanks and sandwich terns.
You mustn’t miss a visit to Hurst Castle – a coastal fortress built by King Henry VIII which has been extended over the years. You can reach the commanding castle by a great walk along a pebble spit or by a little ferry boat from Keyhaven Harbour.
It is an easy half hour walk from Keyhaven to the neighbouring village of Milford on Sea, home to two of the best restaurants in the area: Verveine Fishmarket Restaurant and La Perle – they are incredible!
Bringing you sea fishing for small groups on the South Coast, Reel Easy Charters is modern sailing on the Solent from Keyhaven in Hampshire to the surrounding area including the Isle of Wight and Alderney. Evolution 33 is their trusty steed, and with more than 35 years of experience you’re in safe hands and excellent company.
A family run business showcasing the most exquisite gardens, Braxton Gardens is close to the sea and is a chance to relax outside and take in a spot of horticulture as well as having a cup of tea in their conservatory and entirely charming tea room. Cream tea and a stroll around the garden - isn’t that what holidays were made for?
Click Here for further information
Come and discover this artillery fortress built by Henry VIII at the seaward end of a spit. Commanding the entrance to the Solent, Hurst Castle offers one of the best views in England. It played a part in the imprisonment of Charles I in the 17th century and defended England from invasion threats in the 19th and 20th centuries. With plenty of open space for children to explore and fantastic views of the Isle of the Wight from the top of the Tudor keep, Hurst Castle is a great day out for the whole family.
Click Here for further information
Very enjoyable visit to Hurst Castle. We had a return trip on the ferry. Lovely views to the Isle of Wight.
Delightful castle to roam around with breathtaking views of Isle of Wight. Lots to look at and enough stairs, tunnels and exhibitions to keep the children interested for a couple of hours. The ferry ride over wasn't too long either - about 15 minutes.
Founded by people who are passionate about the beauty and preservation of the New Forest and surrounding area, More Than a Tour brings you a range of all inclusive New Forest tours, designed to show you around just as they would a friend. Walk, kayak and explore on a tailor made trip whether you’re looking for adrenaline, culture, history, or a mix of everything.
Click Here for further information
In an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Lymington to Keyhaven Nature Reserve is made up of lagoons, reeds beds, salt marshes and mud flats, supporting a number of vulnerable plants and rare species and providing rich feeding ground for a wide variety of birds. The coastline also has great historic significance having been the biggest producer of sea salt in the country during the 18th century.
Click Here for further information
A great, easy, level walk with masses of interesting flora and fauna particularly wading birds and insects.
Lovely off road cycle route
Lots of interesting sea birds and pleasant scenery. Easy walking paths and decent car parks at either end with toilet facilities.
This was a delight to visit with spoonbills, oyster catchers and nesting avocets. We had to hire a mobility scooter for our holiday due to a broken leg and most of the reserve was accessible. The map said there were two small areas unsuitable for wheelchairs, perhaps these could be looked at as it would then be possible to do a circular route.
An excellent place to visit and see numerous birds including Avocets and Linnets. Parking at Keyhaven is a good place to start.
This area was easy to get to, well marked and well used. We spent several hours there over the week and saw over 45 species of birds. It was windy when we were there and unsurprisingly there was little shelter. Well worth a visit if you like birds.
An 18th century pub, decorated with lots of atmospheric bric-a-brac and antiquities. Whisky lovers will smile at the collection of 300 malt whiskies to sample. Soak up the summer sun in the walled garden or when it’s cold and wintery, hunker down in front of the cosy log fire. Crab is the pubs speciality alongside the usual pub favourites. Dogs welcome.
The Gun Inn (T:01590 642391) Keyhaven Rd, Keyhaven SO41 0TP
Excellent food, quick service and lovely staff but has random opening times (we visited at the end of June) - best to check in advance.
A very warm welcome awaits when you visit this historic little pub, believed to date back to 1720. Outside is a roomy beer garden with large play area children will love. Inside you’ll find lots of gnarled beams, pillars and posts, little alcoves and oodles of character. Menus are creative, fun and well executed, highlighting the regions produce and season. There’s also a specials board and very popular carvery. Dogs welcome.
The White Horse (T:01590 642360) 16 Keyhaven Road, Milford on Sea SO41 0QY
Lovely friendly pub but must get the menu sorted. Didn't have steak or burgers available. Did eat there and enjoyed the one and only special on the board. 4 stars.
This place has closed down.
This is now closed down
Right in the middle of the pretty village of Milford-on Sea is the Smugglers. Inside, decor is characterful with comfy seating and cosy log fires. In warmer months, venture outside to the large and pretty beer garden with super children’s kids play area. Menus are a varied with a collection of pub classics and a daily specials board. Portions are generous and service with a smile. Dogs welcome.
The Smugglers Inn (T:01590 644414) High Street, Milford On Sea SO41 0QE
Wonderful food, great desserts and very dog-friendly.
We were made very welcome considering we didn't book and turned up during a busy period. The bar staff accommodated us by finding us a table for four and our dogs. The food was lovely and all the staff were very friendly. We came back on our third night and had the same treatment! Lovely pub!
Great pub and good food
Nice pub for families.
Great food and drinks!! We love it! The staff is very friendly. And also the garden is wonderful to sit and enjoy the weather.
Lovely food, staff were very friendly. Would recommend this
Lovely food, staff and atmosphere.
With 2 AA rosettes and a recomendation in the Michelin guide, you're in for a treat at Verveine Fishmarket. This innovative seafood restaurant with it's own in-house fishmongers offer menus brimming with superb local produce, served in a relaxed, informal atmosphere.
Verveine Fishmarket (T: 01590 642176) Milford on Sea SO41 0QE
An award winning, fine dining restaurant run by Head Chef Sam Hughes, of Professional Masterchef fame. After honing his skills in the kitchens of Kensington Palace, aswell as under Raymond Blanc and Mark Broadbent, Sam came back to his Hampshire roots and opened La Perle. Here you can expect some exceptional food, beautifully presented with an exciting wine list to match.
La Perle (T: 01590 643557) Milford on Sea SO41 0QD
Wonderful three courses on French night.
An excellent lunch time experience. If you like fish and high class cooking you'll love it!
A beautiful shingle beach with pretty painted beach huts, plenty of parking, and excellent coastal walks along Hurst spit to Hurst Castle with clear views of the Isle of Wight and needles. The superb Raft Rocks Restaurant is worth a visit with its Art deco style and roof terrace. You can also walk across the wildlife marshes to Keyhaven harbour and (in season) take the boat to Hurst Castle or the Isle of Wight.
Lovely village, plenty of shops and places to eat - no post office though.
Fantastic sea location with goods pubs, shops etc
Great for a dog walk along the spit to Hurst Castle. Needles Eye cafe is a welcome break, quite good food but very busy and a bit basic.
great walking area, small cafe-the needles, children climbing play park- crashing waves over stoned beach
Love Milford on Sea so old fashioned hasn't changed much since I use go as a child in the 1960/70s
Due to my husband breaking his leg we hired a mobility scooter for our holiday. It was a joy to ride along the front at Milford. Wonderful views of The Needles and lots of benches along the way too. Great access from the car parks. Would be great if the short path from Milford to Keyhaven could be the same good surface. We felt the rough stones would be too hard to ride on.
A stony beach with sandy areas as the tide goes out, and a great spot to do some fossil hunting. The cliffs are subject to considerable coastal erosion and at times parts of the beach can be cordoned off. The Beachcomber Café on the cliff top is one of the most popular cafés in the region. Plenty of parking in car parks along the cliff top as well as on-road parking.
Super walk, nice and easy and great place for a meal or tea and cake by the car park.
A picturesque, tree-lined beach of shingle, and sand at low tide. Good facilities on the cliff top including an excellent tea room, award winning public toilets, baby change and a children’s play area in the Castle gardens. Plenty of parking, but there is no disabled access and quite a few steps to get down to the beach. Lifeguard cover from July to Sept. No dogs allowed.
Lovely clean sandy beach and a really i would highly recommend this spot for your car to break down takes the ouch out of waiting for the recovery truck
This is one of the most scenic of New Forest beaches. Lined with some of the most picturesque and expensive beach huts in the country! There’s no parking next to the beach, as it’s a traffic-free zone, but there’s pay and display parking at Hengistbury Head from where you can catch a little train to the sandbank, and Mudeford Quay which runs a small ferry (5 mins) over to the sandbank. Can also be reached on foot and by bicycle.
Beautiful place, our favourite beach in south of England. It feels like an island, when you go over on the ferry and at times (off-season!) on sunny days it can feel like a little piece of Heaven, it's so peaceful and beautiful- bit of a sense of New England. There's a super little 'restaurant', the Beach Hut, which does great breakfasts, meals all day and some evenings. Also takeaway eg pizzas, you can eat on the beach. Very simple surroundings, with a sheltered veranda that can be uncovered in fine weather, and amazing views. Quite pricey and often very busy (and you are best to ring and check opening times and book since often weather and ferry-dependant) but the quality of the food and those stunning views make it more than worthwhile!