Lymington Seafood Festival – all the information you need to plan your visit
Including the lowdown about how to get there, kitchen demonstrations, music and seafood
Lymington's fabulous Seafood Festival will be taking place on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 August once again celebrating local culinary excellence, with 90 artisan producers, live music and some of the region’s top chefs in action.
An estimated 12,000 people attended last August and, now well-established in its third year, the 2019 festival has a topical focus on sustainability and a fundraising drive for the RNLI.
An excellent day out, whatever the weather (as we found out last year, there are plenty of covered areas where you can shelter from showers in inclement weather) - here's the lowdown on how to get there, what's on when and planning your day.
No need for tickets - free entry to the Lymington Seafood Festival!
Entry to the Lymington Seafood Festival is completely free of charge. Gates open 11am-8pm on Saturday and 11am-6pm Sunday.
Getting to the Lymington Seafood Festival: parking and other logistics
Parking is limited in Lymington so where possible think about how your car can be left at home for the day.
Park and Stroll. Park all day for just £5 in the main festival car park at Woodside Park lower fields (Ridgeway Lane, Lymington SO41 8AA), from where there is a pleasant 15-20 minutes walk along All Saints Road and Stanley Road to Bath Road Park. If you consider the walk as part of the day the time it takes won't be an issue!
Train and Stroll. The train from Brockenhurst to Lymington Town Station takes 8 mins and runs every 30 mins, with additional carriages laid on over the weekend. See Trainline for times.
From Lymington Town Station it’s a pleasant 15-20 minute stroll, that takes in Lymington's famous cobbled Quay Street and Town Quay before heading along Bath Road to the park.
Bus and Stroll. If you are traveling from Southampton, Ashurst or Lyndhurst, Blue Star run regular services (Number 6) through out the day, stopping at Gosport Street. If you’re heading in from Bournemouth, Christchurch or New Milton, More Bus run regular X1 and X2 services throughout the day, stopping at Gosport Street.
From Gosport Street it's a pleasant 15-20 minute stroll, that takes in Lymington's famous cobbled Quay Street and Town Quay before heading along Bath Road to the park.
Make even more of an adventure by arriving in Lymington on the open-top New Forest Tour Bus! Both Green (Beaulieu, Hythe, Brockenhurst) and Blue (New Milton, Holmsley) routes stop at Lymington High Street, with buses running throughout the day. Walk down the High Street to Quay Street and the Town Quay before heading along Bath Road to the park.
Planning your day – leading chefs in the demo kitchen!
The region’s leading chefs will be showing their skills in the demonstration kitchen. Led by The Jetty’s Alex Aitken, he’ll be joined by 2016 Masterchef winner Jane Devonshire and a number of top chefs throughout the weekend:
Saturday Demonstration Kitchen
11.00am Luke Mathews (Chewton Glen)
12.30pm Ian Gibbs (Gordleton Mill)
1.30pm Steve Hall (Noisy Lobster)
2.30pm Jane Devonshire (2016 Masterchef Winner)
4.00pm Davina Tibbets (Le Creuset)
Sunday Demonstration Kitchen
11.00am Steve Bulmer (Chewton Glen)
12.30pm Kerry Witt (Chocolates by Miss Witt)
1.30pm Matthew Whitfield (Montagu Arms)
2.30pm Marc Wilkinson (Lakaz Maman)
Planning your day - toe tapping music throughout the weekend!
The soundtrack to the weekend will include soul, blues, rag-time, pop and rock performers live on the New Forest Cottages Music Stage. The final line up of top local musicianshas now been announced as follows:
Saturday Live Music
11.00am Emma Hardy
12.00pm Royal T's Trio (Kev Jackson)
2.00pm Dorsal Fin
4.00pm Zac and the Zeros
6.00pm Tom & Clementynes
Sunday Live Music
11.00am FB Pocket
12.30pm Carley Varley
2.00pm Café Mondial
3.30pm Emma Hardy
Food and drink at the Festival
With around 90 stands nestled into Bath Road Park, you'll be spoilt for choice. Definitely don't worry about bringing a picnic as your taste buds will be thoroughly stimulated by the fabulous seafood choice on offer - in our experience, your only issue will be choosing between the many delicious offerings!
Festival menus will include the divine and ever popular crab mac'n'cheese, 'finger-licking' giant garlic buttered prawns, oysters prepared in a variety of ways, salt and pepper calamari, mussels, hot smoked salmon, paella, Asian style dumplings, sushi, sashimi and poke bowls. And of course the classic British fish'n'chips!
And that's just a taste of what is on offer! Prices we think are very reasonable and will enable most people to sample more than one delectable delight as you wander, stop to chat and listen to the music. So definitely bring an appetite!
For those with a sweet tooth, hunt out the freshly cooked churros with chocolate sauce, vegan brownies and the 'to die for'mojito and pina colada iced lollies!
And to drink? Ringwood Brewery has created a special festival ale named Shoreline - perfect for supping on the banks of the Lymington River! Also enjoy award-winning English sparkling wine from Exton Park Vineyard based in Hampshire’s South Downs National Park, just outside Winchester. We'll be seeking out the Dorest Dry Gin from Bournemouth-based Conker Spirit - and will be intruiged to sample the RNLI Navy Strength Gin, which is distilled in honour of the RNLI.
Lymington RNLI, this year's event charity
This year the Lymington Seafood Festival is supporting the Lymington Lifeboat. A vital part of our coastal community, our local volunteer Lifeboat crews provide a 24 hour rescue service. RNLI crews have saved over 140,000 lives since they started in 1824 - and they are much more than a rescue service.
The RNLI works hard to influence, supervise and educate people through Community Safety teams, who provide critical water safety information in our Lymington coastal waters. It costs around £100,000 to run the Lymington station, and some of the Festival businesses have given generosity a fantastic range of raffle prizes. Given the Seafood Festival is free to enter, do make sure you dig a bit deeper in your pocket to donate to the RNLI and help change someone’s life.
Stop and chat with local businesses
Do stop and chat with some of the local businesses which are both supporting and exhibiting at the Festival. You'll have the opportunity for example to learn about the work of Lymington Harbour and their plans for Lymington Town Quay and to meet the highly regarded New Forest Cottages team whose fantastic portfolio of self catering properties across the Forest is all locally managed - good to know about not only if you are thinking about letting your own property but also for visitors and guests.
Also interesting pop along to see the FlexiSail team, Lymington-based boat share membership business, and find out how you can own your own yacht, without having to buy one (they have some great festival offers!) Those who already own a boat might be interested to chat to Lymington-based Beds on Board about how you can earn money from your boat. And if you're looking to do something a bit different, take a look at all the fabulous places around the world where you can now stay on a Beds on Board boat!
Where to stay
If you're visiting the Festival from further afield, take a look at our comprehensive Accommodation Directory - whether you're seeking a charming self catering cottage, local pub with rooms or bed and breakfast, find it here! From luxury hotels to campsites, we have loads of great places to stay in Lymington and the New Forest - including Beds on Board, staying in the marina on a boat!
Our personal top tips for seeing as much as possible and having a great day out
The Lymington Seafood Festival is a wonderfully mellow event. Bring along your picnic rug and/or camping chairs and relax with friends and family, listening to the excellent live music on the bank of the Lymington River. Tempt your tastebuds with the multitude of delicacies on offer and treat yourself to some top notch local drinks.
Definitely make time to visit the Demo Kitchen, where you're bound to pick up some useful tips from some of the regions top chefs! And it'll definitely be interesting to chat to the local businesses who have supported the show, it's often easy to miss the wealth of great opportunities and enterprise on our doorstep!
Families with younger children will love the playground at Bath Road Park, adjacent to the festival (our sons always enjoyed this playground when younger, especially watching the ferry and yachts going past from the climbing frame!)
In addition, the Seafood Festival is just a stone's throw from the Lymington Sea Water Baths, our lifeguarded open-air lido. With the Seafood Festival being a free event, it is really easy to combine your day between both - activity on the inflatibles at the Sea Water Baths followed by relaxing with excellent food and drink at the Festival just down the road (or better still, families with older children could pop them into the Sea Water Baths and then chill out and 'wait' for them at the Seafood Festival! (NB: Children under the age of 8 must be accompanied by an adult at the Sea Water Baths).
On Saturday it is Lymington's famous Charter Market, those who have not experienced our historic market which dates back to the 1250s really should have a wander on their way to the Seafood Festival!
Another excellent walk that could be combined with the Seafood Festival is the Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) that takes in our incredibly picturesque coastline, mudflats and salt marshes, which in centuries gone by were Lymington's thriving salt industry!
It just remains to say that we hope you all enjoy the Lymington Seafood Festival - it's a great day out!
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