Lymington.com brings everything you need to know about Lymington, whether you're a local or visiting; local news, events, find local companies or services and local information, including where to stay or where to eat, weather and tide times.
Lymington is a vibrant, lively town in the south of the New Forest, Hampshire. It is surrounded on three sides by the New Forest National Park, offering a combination of wooded forest and open heathland with amazing sunsets. The town sits on the western side of the beautiful Lymington River, leading down to the Solent, with idyllic rural views and aspect of the Isle of Wight. A major yachting centre with three marinas; the heart of the UK’s acknowledged Sailing Mecca. It’s not surprising that it usually sits close to the top of the top 10 list of “Best UK Coastal Towns in Which to Live”.
With its proximity to the New Forest and the Solent and its accessibility from London by road and rail, Lymington enjoys a steady flow of visitors all year round. Like most tourist areas, it's busiest during the school summer holidays when the hotels, bed and breakfasts and holiday cottages are fully booked, the many New Forest campsites are full of life and the marinas and river are buzzing with yachts - both home based and visiting.
The town itself was predominantly built in Georgian times and has a number of very fine and attractive Georgian buildings, which lend an air of history and elegance to the historic central area of the town, in particular along the High Street, with its hotel, inns, shops and other businesses.
There's a Waitrose on the edge of the town, whilst the town centre has an M&S Simply Food and a Tesco Metro, making it easy to combine the necessities of supermarket shopping with supporting the independent shops. Be sure to seek out the wonderful local produce available at the butchers, bakers, greengrocer and delicatessens.
The large and busy Charter Market has origins back to the 13th century and fills both sides of the High Street from Church Street to Quay Street all day every Saturday, come rain or shine. With most traders based in the same spot each week, visitors and locals alike can enjoy a leisurely browse or equally make a beeline to a particular stall! The 90 stalls provide a vast offering: fruit & veg, cakes, plants, pet supplies, toys, clothing, fabric, haberdashery, flowers, art and much, much more...
There are so many excellent câfés that one could certainly spend a whole day (or even longer!) simply on a câfé crawl of the town, experiencing some of the best coffee, top quality tea, luxurious hot chocolate, tasty homemade lunches and delicious cakes...
Whether you're young or old, seeking top level racing (this is Sir Ben Ainslie’s home town after all!), cruising or just pottering about in creeks, Lymington is a wonderful haven for yachting and watercraft of all kinds; from dinghies to speedboats, kayaks to fishing vessels, SUPs to superyachts. There are three marinas, two busy sailing clubs, a number of chandlers and a thriving marine industry. You can find charter and hire opportunities as well as sea schools.
There are two railway stations - the Town Station is just 4 miles to the south of Brockenhurst, with its excellent rail links to the whole of the UK, whilst at the Pier you can alight and directly board the ferry to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight. Live rail departures information.
More Bus operates buses from Lymington to Bournemouth (X1 & X2) via New Milton, Highcliffe and Christchurch, stopping on the High Street and Gosport Street and to Hythe (112) via the Hospital, Boldre and Beaulieu, stopping on the High Street and Marsh Lane.
Forest Bus (Blue Star) operate buses from the High Street to West Quay in Southampton (6) via Lyndhurst and Totton, stopping on the High Street and Gosport Street.
New Forest Tours run circular open top bus tours of the New Forest from June to September. Join the green and blue routes on the High Street.
The Wightlink passenger/vehicle ferry to Yarmouth, Isle of Wight takes about 30 minutes and in the summer generally leaves every 45 minutes. There is another small tourist ferry to Yarmouth that leaves from the town quay. Live ferry information.
Bicycles can be hired centrally from Figgures Cycles in Henderson Court.
Shingle beaches with colourful beach huts and sand bars at low tide; nature reserves, creeks and marshlands (a birdwatcher’s heaven!), bustling dinghy sailing clubs and blustery coastal paths ... the coastline has an ever-changing beauty and constant variety: from the 'cobweb clearing' elements at their extreme, to the contrasting serenity of a still early morning. Choose between nature walks (including organised walks), leisurely strolls, running and cycling on the sea wall and long tramps in wellies with the dogs. The views of the Solent and Hurst Castle are wonderful, whatever the weather!
There's a wealth of art and culture locally. Housed in the old school in New Street, the St Barbe Museum explores the history of Lymington and has one of the finest art galleries in the region. Each summer Lymington Arts Week delights locals and visitors alike, along with weekly Art in the Park events near the Bandstand in Bath Road Park. The Community Centre holds a wealth of activities and classes and is home to The Malt cinema and performing arts venue.
Located on the edge of the New Forest provides a enviable balance of town, rural and seascape. Within just a few minutes you can be walking in woodland, picnicing by meandering streams, cycling along picturesque tracks or running across plains. Whether camping, daytripping or merely out and about for a short while, the New Forest brings the opportunity to get far away from the crowds or to enjoy the more popular locations as the mood takes you.
Direct ferries to Yarmouth means that day trips to the Isle of Wight are easily achieveable. Alum Bay, Freshwater and the Needles Battery and Yarmouth are all within easy reach, or why not take a ferry across the Solent to Yarmouth for lunch and venture on an energetic hike on Tennyson Down where you can feast on the view back towards whence you came.
The schools are highly regarded. Lymington Infant School and Junior School, located in Avenue Road, both have excellent reputations; the Junior school has ranked in The Sunday Times top 250 primary schools for the past two years and in 2015 ranked as a top Hampshire primary school with the Daily Telegraph. Further afield are a number of idyllic village primary schools, including South Baddesley School, Milford Primary School, St Luke's School and William Gilpin.
Priestlands (11-16) is a highly successful secondary school with very good examination results, an excellent range of extra curricular activities and a strong ethos of good behaviour. The school has excellent modern facilities, Arts College Status (allowing particularly strong development in the arts) and is also a Lead School for Gifted and Talented.
Nearby, Brockenhurst College is renowned as a high-achieving college offering a wide range of courses, superb facilities and an exceptional track record for results. Nationally recognised for excellence and innovation in further education, Brockenhurst is a Beacon College, attracting around 3000 Sixth Form students from across the region each year, together with a mix of international students from around the world.
Just over the river, Walhampton School is an independent day and boarding school for children aged 2-13. Independent day schools within easy reach of Lymington include Ballard School (2-16) and Durlston Court (2-13).
There's a myriad of sports and recreational activities for all ages, from archery to zorbing, art to zumba! Whether you are looking for a regular class or club, or simply activities whilst you visit the area, there's sure to be plenty to keep you active!
The famous open air Sea Water Baths are the oldest in the UK and date back to 1833. Today, young and old enjoy the baths during the summer months, which now also offer kayaking and an impressive inflatible obstacle courses. On rainy days, the Health and Leisure centre has a 25m pool with smaller, shallower pool, as well a gym and exercise classes.
For children there are enclosed playgrounds in Woodside Gardens and Bath Road, which has the added benefit of being next to the marinas and has a great view of the ferry heading in and out! Woodside Gardens also has a skate park.
St Thomas Church with its famous tower and cupola is perhaps the most visible place of worship in Lymington, situated at the top of the High Street. There are a number of other Church of England, Roman Catholic, Baptist Churches and the United Reformed Church right in the heart of the town, further down the High Street.
As well as the beautiful New Forest, Lymington's Woodside Gardens is a wonderful place to relax and take a stroll. The surrounding areas have a multitude of gardens that are well worth a visit, including Spinners Garden in Pilley, New Forest Water Gardens in Everton and Exbury Gardens on the way to Beaulieu. Lymington Open Gardens delights locals and visitors alike and has been growing in size and popularity each year.
The earliest settlement in the area was around the Iron Age hill fort known today as Buckland Rings, although Lymington itself began as an Anglo-Saxon village. It was famous for making salt from the Middle Ages up to the 19th century and, from the early 19th century, had a thriving shipbuilding industry. There are also tales of smugglers' tunnerls running from the olds inns to the town quay under the High Street. Today, the population is approximately 17,410 (2011 census).
Photography: Steve Elson and John Carratt.