Solent Destinations

Southampton

Southampton is an important port and university city in the county of Hampshire close to the New Forest. Visit the port and you are likely to see some of the largest cruise ships in the world, some about to make the transatlantic crossing to New York. The port has seen the departure of many well known ships. In 1620 the Pilgrim Fathers left aboard the Mayflower to seek a new life and settle in America and in 1912 the RMS Titanic departed on its fateful journey. Walking tours are available with guides to talk you through the important city landmarks connecting these significant events in history.

Or you may prefer a guided walk to find out about the people of Southampton’s experiences during World War II. Southampton was badly bombed fifty-seven times because of its strategic importance as a major commercial port and industrial area. The worst of the bombings came at the end of 1940 and became known as the Southampton Blitz. During the war it was the UK’s most important military port and its factories made the spitfires that helped secure British victory at the Battle of Britain (1940). The spitfire’s designer, Reginald Mitchell lived and worked in Southampton and his house is now marked with a blue plaque. The city’s medieval vaults became air raid shelters as the town prepared for D-Day as Southampton was an important embarkation point for troops leaving for France. Its importance continued as the war progressed helping to keep Allied forces supplied on continental Europe.

Southampton has a number of museums and places of interest to find out more about its long history. Archaeological finds suggest that there has been a settlement since the Stone Age. English Heritage’s Medieval Merchant’s House is within walking distance of the city centre and served as a residence and place of business. The city centre is host to a very large retail centre where you will find well known British high street stores and the Cultural Quarter with galleries, museums, theatres, restaurants, bars and cafes.

Cowes

Cowes is an English seaport on the Isle of Wight, an island south of Southampton in the county of Hampshire. The Isle of Wight is separated from the mainland by a deep strait called the Solent where ferries cross taking people and vehicles between the mainland and island. Cowes is on the west bank of the estuary of the River Medina opposite the smaller town of East Cowes. Cowes is sometimes referred to as West Cowes to distinguish it from its neighbour.

Cowes is famous for Cowes Week that takes place each August and is the oldest annual regatta in the world. Like many of the places ‘Our Lizzie’ visits, its town’s architecture has been influenced by the ornate buildings of the Victorian era and the style of Prince Albert who had a home at Osborne House in East Cowes with his wife Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria died at Osborne House in 1901 and the new king, Edward VII presented the house to the state on his coronation. It is now managed by English Heritage and is worthy of a visit.

 If you like shopping the high street is where most of the shops are located including specialist sailing shops for yachting experts or those who want to find out more. Or you may prefer a long walk along the Isle of Wight Coastal Path that starts in Cowes. It is a circular footpath of 70 miles around the Isle of Wight following public footpaths, small lanes and in some sections the island’s roads.

Yarmouth

Yarmouth is a small market town with a port in the west of the Isle of Wight in the county of Hampshire. The Isle of Wight is an island south of Southampton separated from the mainland by a deep strait called the Solent and ferries regularly sail from Yarmouth to the mainland. The town is named after the Western Yar river as it is located at the mouth of this small river.

 Yarmouth is one of the earliest settlements on the island, having been a settlement for over a thousand years. Both the Romans and Normans ruled the Isle of Wight and the grid system upon which the Normans laid out the streets of Yarmouth can still be seen today. A visit to English Heritage’s Yarmouth Castle, built as an artillery fort by Henry VIII (completed 1547) to protect Yarmouth Harbour from the threat of attack, is an opportunity to find out more about the history of this area.

 There are plenty of local walks. Take a stroll along the Victorian pleasure pier, the longest wooden pier in England or take an easy flat walk along the former railway line now a public bridleway to Freshwater village. Take a longer walk along the Isle of Wight Coastal path that passes through Yarmouth. A circular footpath of 70 miles around the Isle of Wight following public footpaths and small lanes and in some sections a walk along the island’s roads.

 For those who prefer to sit and take in the views you can take the Needles Breezer, an open top bus ride from Yarmouth and billed as one of the ‘most spectacular bus rides in all England’. It’s a circular route during which you have an opportunity to get on and off and visit more of this picturesque island. Alum Bay is on its route with its multi-coloured sand cliffs and chairlift down to the beach and views across the Solent.

 Although small, Yarmouth has a number of shops, pubs and restaurants including the former train station that now serves food.

Lymington

Lymington is a port town and a well known sailing resort with a choice of marinas. It is located on the west bank of the Lymington River in the New Forest National Park and the county of Hampshire. It is opposite Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight and a ferry operates between them across a deep strait called the Solent.

It is a popular tourist area due to its location in the New Forest, an area of beauty with a range of animals and plants, ancient forests, heathland, farmland and coastline and with a fascinating history. The earliest settlement in the Lymington area was around an Iron Age hill fort that is known today as Buckland Rings and is open to visitors. William the Conqueror who led the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 created the New Forest naming it ‘Nova Foresta’. Lymington is recorded in King William I’s Domesday Book (completed 1086), a manuscript of his Great Survey of England. It was recorded as a population of six households making it in the smallest 40% of settlements recorded.

There are many local walks. Lymington is close to The Solent Way footpath, a coastal walk with impressive views of the Needles and the Isle of Wight. Or you can visit English Heritage’s Hurst Castle, built by Henry VIII as an artillery fortress at the entrance to the Solent. Its grounds have been described as having one of the best views in England. The castle took an active part through both world wars defending the island and the entrance to the solent.

Lymington High Street is the place to shop with its independent shops including designer boutiques and specialist outdoor wear. Walk to the bottom of the High Street among the Victorian and Georgian architecture and you will find a cobbled road that leads to the Old Town Quay that is still used by fishing boats.

Buckler’s Hard and Beaulieu River

Buckler’s Hard is an eighteenth century ship building village with spectacular scenery on the banks of the River Beaulieu in the county of Hampshire. It was originally developed as a free port for trade with the West Indies. The suffix ‘Hard’ was added to signify a natural, firm landing place. Ship building at Buckler’s Hard began in the early eighteenth century and it became well known for building warships including three vessels that took part in the Battle of Trafalgar. During World War II it built motor torpedo boats and the river was used as a base for many landing craft ready for the Normandy invasion.

Today it is a beautiful tourist attraction described in its website as a place ‘untouched by the passage of time’. The village has  a tea room, an apple orchard and a maritime museum with a model of the village (1803) that enables you to compare the industry of the time with the calmer and quieter present day. Walking around the village you can step inside a Shipwright’s cottage and learn how shipwright Thomas Burlace and his family would have lived in relative wealth in the eighteenth century. You can visit St. Mary’s chapel that was once a home and then the village school before becoming a chapel. There are other interesting features including the replica shipwright workshop and the Master Builder’s House Hotel serving meals and refreshments whilst soaking in the sights of the River Beaulieu.

From Buckler’s Hard you can walk two and a quarter miles to Beaulieu village, the home of the popular National Motor Museum.

The Beaulieu River is a small river that rises in Lyndhurst, passes the village of Bucklers Hard and enters the Solent at Needs Ore. Its name is French meaning ‘beautiful place’ and that is what you will find on a journey down the river. Keep a look out for the resident seals

Buckler’s Hard Website

Booking Your Adventure

Bookings can be made for the whole boat or on a couple / individual basis.
Couples can book the En-suite Fore Cabin or the Saloon on this site directly.
There are two separate single cabins available for individuals or crew. We ask that single guests call us as there are different booking formation options depending on the group size and other bookings.
She is ideal for families and small group holidays offering an unrivalled experience of classic maritime charm, history and grace.