The historic town of Lymington offers plenty for the visitor to the New Forest. This colourful coastal town is an ancient seaport with a rich maritime history.
Situated on the west bank of the Lymington River, on the edge of the Solent, Lymington is a major yachting centre with three marinas.
The town began as an Anglo-Saxon village and is recorded in the Domesday Book as ‘Lentune’. From the Middle Ages and up to the 19th century, Lymington was well-known for its salt making and from the early 19th century a thriving ship building industry.
Much of the architecture you see today in Lymington is Georgian and Victorian. The High Street, which looks predominantly Georgian, is in fact made up of an eclectic mix of Georgian, Victorian, Art Deco with some traces of Medieval architecture.
At the top of the High Street sits the Church of St Thomas. A church has been at this location since the mid-thirteenth century and parts of the current church date back from the early thirteenth century. This Grade II Listed building was badly damaged during the English Civil War, when Puritans occupied it. Over subsequent centuries architectural additions have been added to the building including the tower and cupola. Within the church take a look at the magnificent glass doors and needlework.
With its strong maritime connections, it doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that Lymington was once famous for smuggling. The vicar of the Church of St Thomas once used to allow smugglers to store their contraband within the church’s tower!
Things to do in Lymington
You will never be bored in Lymington with all of the fantastic things to do in this lovely town. Head on down to Lymington on a Saturday and enjoy the hustle and bustle of a traditional street market along the High Street. The popular market offers everything from local fine foods to craftwork and antiques and has around 100 stalls. Soak up the history of this market which has had a charter from 1250.
Visit the family-friendly St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery which occupies a former Victorian school building. The museum takes visitors on a journey of the history of Lymington from the times of William the Conqueror through to World War II. It also houses temporary exhibitions. An on-site café makes a welcome stop and is open to people even if they aren’t going into the museum or art gallery.
Make a wander through the pretty cobbled streets of the old town and on to The Quay to watch the luxury yachts and fishing boats come and go.
Near to the Royal Lymington Yacht Club you will find Lymington’s famous sea water baths which date back to 1833. These are the oldest sea water baths in the UK and are a popular addition to the town in the summer months. To this day, visitors can bathe in these waters and offer not only swimming but inflatable fun, stand up paddle boarding and aqua jousting.
If you enjoy walking then a bracing walk along the 10 miles of nearby Lymington to Keyhaven nature reserve is a must. Look out for wetland birds, take in views of The Needles on the Isle of Wight and breathe in the fresh, salty air.
Take a boat trip from the quayside and enjoy views of the marina and towards the Solent to see the Isle of Wight. A variety of different trips are available. Another way to take to the waters is with Escape Yachting, who offer relaxing sailing experiences including sunset cruises.
Lymington boasts a wide range of unique and interesting shops including several boutiques, great for picking up a new outfit or simply a souvenir of your visit!
Whilst on your visit to Lymington, don’t forget to look out for the gold post box, a tribute to Sir Ben Ainslie for winning Gold in the London 2012 Olympics.
Events in Lymington
As well as the regular markets, Lymington holds a variety of events throughout the year. Lymington Seafood Festival descends on the town for a weekend in summer bringing with it stalls, cookery demonstrations and a live music stage.
The Lymington Centre offers cinema, theatre and comedy for locals and visitors and the St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery has events throughout the year including exhibitions, family activities and workshops.
In the summer, look out for the Lymington Carnival (usually taking place in July).
Sailing enthusiasts will enjoy the regattas and the popular Thursday evening racing hosted by the Royal Lymington Yacht Club.
Keep an eye on our what’s on pages as we share with you details of other events coming up in and around Lymington.
Places to stay in Lymington
If you're looking to take a break in Lymington, there are plenty of places to stay to choose from. There are a couple of hotels that can be found in and nearby Lymington town centre; including Stanwell House Hotel and Macdonald Elmers Court Hotel & Resort.
There are a variety of B&Bs and Guest Houses on offer in and around Lymington including Victorian cottages, a converted barn and many properties offering both en-suite facilities and on-site parking.
If you prefer self-catered options then look out for several self-catering properties and holiday cottages or lodges at such as Juliet House, located in the heart of Lymington, and Hackney Park, located on the outskirts of Lymington. Use the search box on this page to check the types of property on offer and their availability for when you plan on visiting.
Where to eat and drink in Lymington
Relax and enjoy some delicious food and drink in one of the many fine-dining establishments Lymington has to offer. You will find loads of places to eat along the High Street and around the quay, perhaps a spot of afternoon tea one of the town’s charming tea rooms and cafes is what you need or maybe some classic pub grub at one of the many watering holes in the town.
Getting to Lymington
Lymington has its own railway station. Mainline trains link London Waterloo to nearby Brockenhurst, there’s then a short journey by train or bus to Lymington.
Regular bus services with Bluestar connect Lymington from Bournemouth and Southampton.
There is a regular ferry service from the Isle of Wight offered by Wightlink ferries.