Top Things to do in Lymington

Lymington Harbor, Feb 2024

Lymington, nestled on the fringes of the New Forest National Park in Hampshire, England, is a delightful seaside town brimming with charm. Renowned for its maritime heritage, picturesque harbor, and proximity to stunning natural beauty, Lymington offers a plethora of experiences for every type of traveler.

Getting There

Lymington is conveniently accessible by car, train, and ferry.

  • By car: Take the M27 motorway and follow signs for Lymington (approximately 1 hour 15 minutes from London). It is about 20 minutes from Heathfield Estate.
  • By train: Take a train from London Waterloo to Southampton Central Station (approximately 1 hour 10 minutes) and then connect with a local bus or taxi to Lymington (approximately 30 minutes).
  • By ferry: Wightlink ferries operate regular services from Lymington to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, offering a scenic journey across the Solent.

Unveiling Lymington's Rich History

Lymington's history dates back to the 6th century when it was founded by the Jutes from the Isle of Wight. The town's name, derived from the Old English 'Limentun', indicates its early significance as a settlement by the elm river. Lymington is recorded in the Domesday Book as "Lentune" and has a rich history of salt-making, maritime trade, and as a base for the Royal Navy. The town's landscape is characterized by its picturesque harbor, historic High Street, and proximity to the New Forest and the Solent, offering stunning views and a variety of outdoor activities.

A Glimpse into the Enchanting Landscape

Lymington's landscape is a captivating blend of coastal charm and verdant countryside beauty. The town itself boasts a charming harbor lined with colorful boats, bustling with activity, and offering picturesque walks along the waterfront. The Solent Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty provides a haven for nature lovers, with its diverse ecosystems and breathtaking views. 

Lymington High Street on a Saturday with the market, Feb 2024

What Lymington is Known For:

  • Maritime Heritage: Lymington's history is deeply intertwined with the sea, evident in its harbor, local businesses, and historical landmarks like Hurst Castle.
  • Picturesque Harbor: The bustling harbor is the heart of Lymington, offering scenic walks, boat trips, and a glimpse into the town's maritime past.
  • Gateway to the New Forest: Lymington serves as a convenient base for exploring the vast and ancient New Forest National Park, renowned for its wild ponies, ancient woodlands, and diverse wildlife.
  • Thriving Local Market: The Lymington Charter Market, held every Saturday, is a vibrant hub for local produce, crafts, and unique finds.

Top 5 Things to Do in Lymington:

  1. Explore Hurst Castle: This is a coastal fortress built by Henry VIII in 1544 to defend the Solent. The castle is located on the end of a shingle spit, and can be reached by a ferry from Keyhaven or by a two-mile walk along the beach. The castle has a long and fascinating history, and was used as a prison for Charles I, a garrison during the Napoleonic Wars, and a coastal defence during World War II. You can see the original Tudor keep, the Victorian wings, the modern guns and the lighthouse, and enjoy the panoramic views of the Solent and the Isle of Wight. Address: Hurst Road, Milford-on-Sea, Lymington SO41 0TH
  2. Embark on a Coastal Walk: Enjoy a refreshing walk along the Lymington River or the Solent Way, a long-distance path offering stunning coastal scenery and a chance to encounter diverse wildlife.
  3. Discover the St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery: This family-friendly museum that showcases the history and culture of Lymington and the New Forest. You can learn about the salt-making, shipbuilding and smuggling industries, the local wildlife and environment, and the people who lived and worked in the area. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions of art and photography, and has a cafe and a shop.

  4. Experience the Lymington Sea Water Baths: Enjoy the sea water baths, the oldest open-air baths in the UK, dating back to 1833. The baths are filled with filtered and chlorinated sea water, and offer a range of activities, such as swimming, inflatable fun, stand-up paddle boarding and aqua jousting. The baths are open from May to September, and have changing rooms, showers, toilets and a cafe. Address: Bath Road, Lymington SO49 9FD

  5. Delve into the Lymington Charter Market: Immerse yourself in this traditional street market that has been held every Saturday since 1250, browsing through an array of local produce, handcrafted goods, and unique souvenirs. You can find over 100 stalls selling local produce, crafts, antiques, clothing and more. The market runs along the High Street and the Quay, where you can also enjoy the views of the harbour and the yachts.

Top 5 Places to Eat and Drink in Lymington:

  1. EatPizza Lymington, 14 High Street, Lymington SO49 9AE

    • This is a local favorite known for its wide selection of delicious pizzas, made with fresh ingredients and cooked in a traditional wood-fired oven. Their menu boasts a variety of classic and specialty pizzas, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Whether you crave a classic Margherita or a more adventurous creation like the "Spicy Mexican" with chorizo and jalapenos, EatPizza Lymington has something to please every palate. Beyond pizzas, they also offer a selection of sides, including garlic bread, onion rings, and jalapeno poppers, as well as desserts like tiramisu and chocolate brownie. The restaurant offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere, perfect for a casual meal with family and friends. They also provide takeaway and delivery services, making it convenient to enjoy their delicious pizzas in the comfort of your own home.

  2. Stanwell House Hotel & RestaurantHigh Street, Lymington, Hampshire, SO41 9AA
    • This is a captivating boutique hotel situated in the heart of Lymington, offering a seamless blend of luxury, comfort, and charm. Here's a detailed look:
    • Description:
      • Historic Property: Stanwell House boasts a rich history, dating back to the 18th century. The Georgian property has been meticulously restored and transformed into a luxurious haven, seamlessly blending its historical charm with contemporary comforts.
      • Dining: Indulge in a culinary journey at their award-winning restaurant, Samphire. The restaurant showcases a dedication to fresh, locally sourced ingredients and innovative culinary techniques.
        • Menu: Expect a diverse menu, featuring seasonal dishes and family favorites alongside gourmet options. Sample their renowned seafood dishes, succulent steaks, or explore vegetarian and vegan offerings.
        • Fine Dining Experience: Savor the attentive service, sumptuous décor, and captivating ambiance while enjoying your meal.
        • Additional Options:
          • The Orangery: Perfect for afternoon tea, a refreshing late lunch, or an evening cocktail with a stunning high ceiling and period features.
          • Salt Bar: A locals' favorite, offering a relaxed atmosphere and a menu featuring light bites, casual feasts, and refreshing drinks.
  3. The Elderflower RestaurantQuay Street, Lymington, Hampshire, SO41 3AY
    1. The Elderflower Restaurant, nestled on a cobbled street close to Lymington's charming harbor, offers an unforgettable experience of modern British fine dining presented in a relaxed atmosphere.
    2. Cuisine:
      • Modern British: Expect a menu focused on showcasing the best of British cuisine with a touch of culinary creativity. Chef Andrew Du Bourg elevates seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, crafting dishes that are both visually stunning and bursting with flavor.
      • Seasonal and Local: The menu changes regularly, highlighting the freshest seasonal produce available. Ingredients are sourced from local suppliers whenever possible, ensuring the highest quality and freshness.
      • Sample Menu: While the menu changes, you can get a flavor by looking at their sample menu online. Expect options like:
        • Starters: Scallops with chorizo and white bean stew, wild mushroom risotto, crispy duck salad with hoisin dressing.
        • Main Courses: Roast rump of lamb with dauphinoise potatoes and rosemary jus, pan-fried sea bass with crushed new potatoes and lemon butter sauce, vegetarian option like roasted butternut squash and quinoa stuffed pepper with goat cheese.
        • Desserts: Sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream, chocolate and almond cake with crème fraiche, various sorbets, and cheeses.
      • Effortless Elegance: The restaurant boasts a stylish yet understated atmosphere. The monochrome color scheme and minimalist décor create a relaxed and sophisticated environment.
      • Intimate Setting: The restaurant is relatively small, with a limited number of tables, ensuring a personalized dining experience.
      • Attentive and Professional: The staff at The Elderflower is passionate about providing exceptional service. They are knowledgeable about the menu and wine list and can offer personalized recommendations.
      Additional Information:
      • Reservations are highly recommended, especially for weekends.
      • They offer tasting menus and a la carte options.
      • They do not cater to children under 12 years of age.
      • Limited vegetarian and gluten-free options are available upon request.
  4. The Haven Bar & Restaurant, 40 Town Quay, Lymington SO49 6AA, UK

    • Offers a unique and diverse dining experience with stunning harbor views. Global Cuisine: Step aboard and embark on a culinary journey around the world. Their menu boasts a diverse selection of dishes, incorporating flavors and influences from across the globe. You'll find options like:

        • Mediterranean: Moussaka, seafood paella, and grilled halloumi salad.
        • Asian: Pan-fried Thai chicken curry, king prawn stir-fry, and Korean BBQ beef skewers.
        • European: French onion soup, Italian spaghetti carbonara, and German bratwurst.
        • Locally-sourced seafood: Take advantage of their fresh catches and savor dishes like grilled sea bass or fish and chips.
      • Marina Setting: Enjoy panoramic views of the Lymington Yacht Haven while indulging in your meal. The restaurant boasts expansive outdoor seating, perfect for soaking in the sunshine and the vibrant atmosphere of the marina.
      • Casual and Relaxed Atmosphere: The Haven Bar & Restaurant welcomes guests with a casual and relaxed ambiance. Whether you're dressed for a day out or a night out, you'll feel comfortable and at ease.
      • Additional Offerings:
        • Sunday Roasts: Treat yourself to their renowned Sunday Roasts, featuring succulent roasted meats, hearty vegetables, and all the trimmings.
        • Weekend Brunch: Start your day off right with their selection of brunch options, available on weekends.
        • Children's Menu: They cater to young palates with a dedicated children's menu.
        • Cocktails and Bar Selection: Enjoy a wide range of cocktails, wines, beers, and spirits alongside your meal.
  5. The Highstreet Kitchen, 68 High St, Lymington SO41 9AL, UK.

    • This stands out as a top dining choice in Lymington. This acclaimed restaurant prioritizes a relaxed yet sophisticated experience, focusing on high-quality, locally sourced, and sustainable ingredients. Here's a more detailed look at The Highstreet Kitchen's offerings:Cuisine: Modern British with a focus on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. The menu features a diverse selection of starters, main courses, and desserts, including:

    • Starters: Pan-seared scallops with chorizo and white bean stew, crispy duck salad with hoisin dressing, and wild mushroom risotto.
    • Main courses: Roast rump of lamb with dauphinoise potatoes and rosemary jus, pan-fried sea bass with crushed new potatoes and lemon butter sauce, and a vegetarian option like roasted butternut squash and quinoa stuffed pepper with goat cheese.
    • Desserts: Sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream, chocolate and almond cake with crème fraiche, and a selection of sorbets and cheeses. 
    • Overall, The Highstreet Kitchen presents an excellent choice for those seeking a delicious, locally sourced meal in a relaxed and stylish setting. They prioritize quality ingredients and a memorable dining experience, making them a popular choice among locals and visitors alike.

Quay Hill, Lymington, Feb 2024

Top 3 Walks in Lymington:

    1. Lymington to Hurst Castle:
      1. Starting point: Lymington Town Quay (Town Quay Car Park) - SO49 6AA
      2. Distance: 2.5 miles (4 km) - one way
      3. Description: This walk offers stunning coastal views and leads you to the historic Hurst Castle. You'll stroll along the Solent Way, a long-distance path that follows the coastline. Along the way, you can enjoy spotting various boats and marine life, including birds and seals. The walk culminates at Hurst Castle, a 16th-century artillery fort that played a crucial role in defending England's southern coast. You can explore the castle, learn about its fascinating history, and admire panoramic views of the Isle of Wight and the Solent.
    2. Boldre Village Walk:
      1. Starting point: Boldre Village Car Park - SO41 5RF
      2. Distance: 4.3 miles (7 km) - circular walk
      3. Description: This walk takes you through the charming village of Boldre and explores the surrounding countryside. The village boasts a beautiful 12th-century church. You'll walk through scenic fields and woodlands, enjoying the tranquility of the English countryside. The walk also offers glimpses of the New Forest, providing a glimpse into this ancient and diverse ecosystem.
    3. Yacht Haven Circular Walk:
      1. Starting point: Lymington Yacht Haven (Yacht Haven Marina Car Park) - SO49 9AB
      2. Distance: 1.5 miles (2.4 km) - circular walk
      3. Description: This is a relaxing and scenic walk around the Lymington Yacht Haven. You'll stroll along the water's edge, enjoying views of the numerous boats moored in the marina. You can also observe the bustling activity of the harbor, watching boats coming and going, or people enjoying various water sports. This walk is perfect for a leisurely stroll, taking in the fresh sea air and the vibrant atmosphere of the marina.


    Lymington, with its charming harbor, rich maritime heritage, and proximity to the New Forest National Park, offers a captivating escape for every traveler. Whether you seek historical exploration, outdoor adventures, or a relaxing coastal retreat, Lymington has something to offer.