On the western banks of the Lymington River, having wended its way through the sun-dappled glades of the New Forest to find the Solent, lies the beautiful Georgian market town of Lymington.
Lymington has been an illustrious seaport for centuries and was once well-known for its shipbuilding and salt harvesting enterprises. Today, its three sparkling marinas offer berths to the many resident and visiting yachts seen docked in its harbour, tell-tale signs of the town’s vibrant sailing community. In fact, it was the gleaming Solent waters that were the training ground for local hero and five-time Olympian Sir Ben Ainslie; a letter box painted gold in celebration of his achievements can be found at the bottom of the town’s bustling fore street.
Lymington’s ancient origins can be traced back to the dikes and mounds that once formed the outer defences of its Iron Age fort, known locally as Buckland Rings. When the Jutes prevailed from the Isle of Wight in the 6th century they founded a settlement called Limentun, and by the time of the Norman conquests this once sparsely populated enclave had grown into a flourishing port.
Today, the characterful, cobbled streets of Lymington are lined with artisan shops, galleries and boutiques, whilst the town’s weekly market is filled with stalls selling everything from garden plants to home-baked cakes. Lymington also plays host to a fleet of elegant restaurants, cosy tea rooms, charming cafés and stylish bistros. Lanes of Lymington, with its sleek balconies and intimate alcoves, has all the pizazz of a top London outlet, while the award-winning Elderflower on Quay Street boasts one of the finest a la carte menus in the region.
Holidays in Lymington can be easily filled with a variety of family-friendly activities, from sunset cruises and stand up paddle boarding to harbourside strolls and coastal rambles. During the sunnier months, the town hosts a number of gala events including the ever-popular Lymington Seafood Festival, a lively July carnival, regattas and regular sailing jamborees. Listen to some summer jazz in the bandstand gardens before a dip in the town’s historic sea water baths, renowned for its rejuvenating mud minerals, and if you’re a wildlife enthusiast, a short walk to the marshes and lagoons of Keyhaven Nature Reserve is a must.
Lymington has its own railway station with mainline links from London Waterloo to nearby Brockenhurst. There are also regular bus services with links to the coastal resort of Bournemouth and the maritime city of Southampton, plus, you’ll also be able to pick up the New Forest tour bus and enjoy an open-top safari. If you’ve had your fill of landlubbing, a quick channel hop on the car and passenger ferry to the Isle of Wight might be just the ticket.
Discover one of the UK’s most delightful port towns when you book a stay in Lymington. Take a look at some of our stunning Lymington holiday cottages and start planning your very own south coast adventure.
St Barbe Museum explores the unique history of Lymington and the New Forest Coast. The hands-on displays provide a fascinating journey of discovery for all ages, charting Lymington’s development as a market town and port and looking at the smugglers and boat builders who have used the Solent shore. The art galleries host an exclusive programme of exhibitions that regularly works on loan from national and regional collections.
Extremely interesting museum, enjoyed the art,. Very welcoming reception and good cafe. I fully recommend a visit
Really interesting small museum packed with information and an exceptional display in the art gallery
Puffin Cruises in Lymington is a fun and exciting way to explore this part of the world and see its natural beauty from the water, whether you’re merely enjoying the ferry service, taking a 30 minute river cruise or opting for an hour long picnic or sunset cruise - there’s something for every mood. Trips run daily from the town’s historic quay, weather permitting!
On a skippered Luxury Flybridge Motor Boat, Hermit Charters gives you the opportunity to take a small party of friends on a luxury experience on the water without breaking the bank. For families or private parties, it’s a delightful way to head out fishing to catch bass, plaice, black bream or needles cod, or simply to enjoy the view from the water. You can even take the family dog on board!
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Offering you a chance to explore the Solent like never before, Escape Yachting is a luxurious opportunity to get out on the water on charters, day trips, corporate events and group getaways run by an experienced team who pay careful attention to detail.
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A vital summer attraction in this famous town, the Lymington Sea Water Baths have been welcoming visitors since 1833. These days the options are a little more varied with water sports including kayaking, paddle boarding, aqua jousting, zorbing and children’s splash pools all available. There is a cafe on site, all necessary facilities and entry prices depend on the activities you want to take part in.
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Visited twice as the atmosphere is buzzing and the food is yummy! Starters and tons of prawn crackers as well as delicious yellow curry went down a treat. Will visit again soon.
Good quality and service. Bit expensive, however.
Nice food and friendly serving staff. The very loud music was rather intrusive though and would deter me from returning.
Amazing food and service cannot recommend highly enough. For hot evenings try their lovely garden and eat al fresco
A stylish and elegant gastro pub on the high street, whose origins date back to the 13th century. Lots of wooden beams, bare brick walls, large fire place and pretty soft furnishings - there’s also outside seating. The Angel and Blue Pig specialize in steaks, which receive great reviews. The main menu changes each month and is supplemented by daily specials. All the dishes are creative, varied and beautifully presented. A delightful spot for a drink or bite to eat.
The Angel & Blue Pig (T: 01590 672050) Lymington SO41 9AP
Perfect for lunch. They have a £6 lunchtime menu which offers excellent value for money. I had the wild mushroom linguine. Delicious and good sized portion. My husband had the burger which comes with fries and homemade ketchup. Staff are friendly and chatty too which is nice.
We loved this pub! We went with the kids for a quick drink around lunchtime and then came back in the evening without the kids. Great atmosphere, well furnished, and great drinks on offer. The menu looked fantastic too, however, we didn't get to sample it! We'll definitely go again if we return to Lymington.
Very disappointing and long delay in seating us on arrival despite having a reservation.
Housed in a former church with intimate alcoves and balconies, Lanes of Lymington is a stylish, family run eatery with a strong commitment to fresh, seasonal ingredients and an exciting and varied menu. The head chef also regular cookery workshops throughout the year, check their website for further details.
Lanes of Lymington (T: 01590 672777) Lymington SO41 3RH
Great food and ambiance - well worth visiting
Good food - would visit again.
Nice ambience based in a former school and church building. Good menu but food was a little disappointing with the fish overdone and food not the hottest
Café Aroma, formerly known as Trés Bon, is a fantastic deli and café in Lymington. Serving a variety of hot and cold food from Breakfast to 5.30pm. You can either eat in on one of two floors of seating, or simply take away.
Café Aroma (T: 01590 673064) 22 High Street, Lymington SO41 9AD
Get the hot duck baguette! It is amazing!!
Serving a variety of light lunch options, including Paninis, jacket potatoes and salads, as well as a lovely selection of cakes. Directly on the High Street, enjoy comfy seating at the front of the café to watch the world go by. Sit outside in the summer months with rear seating available in a shared courtyard.
Lounges (T: 01590 671122) 122 High Street, Lymington SO41 9AQ
Lovely atmosphere, friendly buzzy place, excellent food and service.
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
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.
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!