Lymington – a guide for visiting this town in 2023

The cobbled Georgian streets and buildings of Lymington make this town a very charming and, we feel, very underrated place to visit. Once a ship-building centre, Lymington has a fascinating nautical history and is still an excellent place to visit for anyone with a passion for boats and water activities.
We wanted to publish a guide to highlight this excellent town and to give you a list of the best reasons to visit in 2023, let's get into it:

Where is Lymington?

We should start by specifying where Lymington actually is - the town is located in the county of Hampshire, about 12 miles to the South-West of Southampton and 80 miles South-West of London. The town is also about 4 miles North-West of the Isle of Wight border. The town is right on the edge of the Solent, and the Solent Way Walk takes you right around the town.


What is there to see in Lymington?

Despite the relatively small size of the town, you've got lots to see and do in Lymington. Here are some of the highlights:

Hurst Castle

This stunning coastal castle was used to hold prisoners during the 17th century. Built by Henry VIII, the castle was once considered to be one of the most advanced artillery fortresses in the country. Charles I was one of the most famous captives held here, and upon visiting Hurst Castle you'll realise that the remote location made it an ideal location to keep prisoners. Nowadays, You can actually visit the area of the castle where it was believed that Charles I was held captive, and you certainly wouldn't describe it as a space fit for a king. Fortunately, nowadays the castle is managed by English Heritage and is a very enjoyable visit, with the real highlight being the views across to the Isle of Wight from the roof of the Tudor Keep. We highly recommend a visit, learn more here -

Swimming Baths

Whether or not you decide to visit the Swimming Baths in Lymington will depend entirely on what the weather is like (or how brave you're feeling), but if the sun is shining then we'd recommend taking a dip. The swimming baths were originally built in the early 19th century, making them the oldest open-air sea water baths in the UK. Yes, you read that correctly - these baths use Sea Water, making them extra cold! Luckily, wetsuits can be hired, and even at the deepest point of the baths, an adult could touch the bottom. There are always lots of lifeguards on standby and it is an ideal spot to take kids, as you've also got a great selection of inflatables. Plus, a cafe on the poolside! Learn more here -

Buckland Rings

Upon visiting Buckland Rings, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this is nothing more than a nice and quiet area which is ideal for dog walking. But this area was actually once the site of an Iron Age hill fort, and it has some fascinating history attached to it. Considering the age of this site, it is in remarkably good condition, with many of the defences still clearly identifiable. Even if you're not too bothered about the history attached to this site, it is still a great place to go for a wander, and dogs are welcome too. Learn more here -

St Barbe Museum & Gallery

After all the excitement we've had so far, it might sound like a step down to head to a museum and gallery. But St Barbe is an excellent place to visit, with plenty to see and do for young and old alike. The museum is small but features some really interesting pieces, including quite an extensive selection of dinosaur skeletons. There is an art room where kids can get creative, plus lots of the exhibitions throughout the building are interactive. On top of all of this, the cafe is also very good, serving homemade food and great coffee. Learn more here -

Woodside Park

Woodside Park might not have much in the way in terms of history or interest compared to many of the other locstions we've included in this guide, but it is undeniably a very pleasant place to visit. This area is ideal for walking with kids or with a dog, plus there is a playground area if your kids feel like doing a bit more than walking. This park is where the popular Classic Car Show is held, and if you happen to be visiting during this show then you'll get to see some fascinating vehicles. Overall, Woodside Park is simply a pleasant area to visit and ideal for a picnic.

Keyhaven Marshes

If you're hoping to spot some stunning wildlife during your time in Lymington, a trip to Keyhaven Marshes is highly recommended. At this Site of Special Scientific Interest of more than 700 hectares in size, you'll have the chance to spot amazing birds of prey such as peregrine falcons and merlins, as well as plenty of other birds which are rarely spotted elsewhere in the country. It's a peaceful area with stunning views across the water making it ideal for a casual stroll, but if you fancy something a bit more high octane then it's also a hotspot for kitesurfers and you could always get stuck in with that. Learn more here -

Yacht Haven

Even if you don't own a yacht (and let's face it, most of us don't), a walk along by the Yacht Haven is highly recommended. Not only will you get a chance to get up close and personal wth some impressive boats, but you can also just enjoy walking alongside the water. There are a few restaurants along the marina which are quite fancy but mostly very good, and on a nice day you can sit outside and enjoy the sounds and sights of the sea. You can't really visit Lymington without seeing this part of town, learn more here -

The New Forest

Like we mentioned in our introduction, Lymington is actually based in the New Forest, so you're perfectly placed to explore this amazing area during your time in the town. There is so much to see and do in the New Forest that we couldn't possibly list it all, but at the very least we'd recommend heading out to see if you can spot any of the famous New Forest Ponies, who are adorable.

Braxton Gardens

These gardens 5 minutes from Lymington are wonderfully relaxing to stroll around, with immaculately well-kept hedges and lawns everywhere you turn. But to be honest, the real highlight here is the tearoom - serving up a plethora of homemade delights, coming here for afternoon tea or even just a cup of coffee is a real treat. It's a dog-friendly location too, so everyone can join in. Learn more here -
Hopefully, this guide has inspired you to visit this brilliant town. If you're interested in visiting similar towns in England, check out our guide to King's Lynn.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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