Milford on Sea
Charming Milford on Sea and its neighbouring Keyhaven both enjoy stunning sea views towards Christchurch Harbour and across to the Isle of Wight.
The traditional village offers a range of shops, breath-taking cliff top walks and beaches.
The village began as a Saxon settlement (known as Melleford) and until the 1800s was solely inland. Coastal erosion, and village expansion over the years have made the village border the sea as can be found today. The oldest building in the village is All Saints’ Church, there is evidence of Norman, Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular architecture on display here.
The village was once part of the Christchurch Priory estate and grew on agriculture, salt producing and smuggling in days gone by. The village green was the site of the reputed Battle of Milford Green between smugglers and the militia in the 18th century.
Look out for an array of interesting features and buildings within the village including the post box at the junction of Victoria Road with Cornwallis Road. This post box (or pill box) is the oldest in Hampshire and dates from Victorian times.
The hamlet of Keyhaven falls within the parish of Milford on Sea and was once a fishing village. It sits opposite of the shingle bank (spit) and Hurst Castle. Historically, the area around Keyhaven was used for salt production and today remains a popular spot for bird watching with many wetland species frequenting the area.
Things to do in Milford on Sea
Although a small village, there is plenty of things to do in and around Milford on Sea. The shingle beach is lined with colourful beach huts and spectacular views across the Solent. The closest beach to the village centre is Hurst Road Beach with parking and toilets nearby plus the Needles Eye Café which has its own ice cream kiosk and children’s play area.
To the west of the village you will find Hordle Cliff Beach. This beach has nearby parking, a food and drink kiosk and toilets. The pebble beach is accessed from a steep set of steps however at low tide, a sand bar is exposed.
Local stores including a butchers, greengrocer and off-license are on hand for picking up supplies, plus a couple of antiques and gift shops make for an interesting browse.
Venture out in this stunning village, it's coastline and the nearby forest by hiring retro E-bikes from Jaunt-E Bikes. These super Monkey E-bikes are a brilliantly fun way to explore and get some exercise in at the same time, without having to skip the hills or shorten the ride, as they are electric assisted!
Milford-on-Sea is an ideal place to take to the water. The New Forest Paddle Sport Company are based in the village and offer the chance to explore the stunning Keyhaven River and salt marshes with Hurst Castle and the scenic coastline of the New Forest by stand up paddle board or kayak. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never tried either of the activities before, instructors are on hand with running taster sessions and lessons. If you are a more confident boarder or kayaker then why not hire the equipment and journey over to Hurst Castle? The New Forest Paddle Sport Company have teamed up with the castle to offer a guided paddle to the castle followed by lunch (pre-booking is essential).
Hurst Castle has a long military history, dating from Tudor times when it was built by Henry VIII to defend the Solent. It was also the prison of Charles I and is now owned by English Heritage, under the management of Hurst Marine. Visitors young and old can explore the castle with an audio tour and gaze out to the fantastic views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. During World War II, Hurst Castle was manned with coastal gun batteries and searchlights due to its strategic location. The castle is just 1 ½ miles from Milford on Sea along a shingle spit and makes for an interesting walk from the village. It isn’t possible to drive to the castle however visitors can choose to park at nearby Keyhaven and take the ferry shuttle service.
If you enjoy walking, then why not pick up the 5½ mile Sea Air Trail from Lymington to Keyhaven and then onto Milford-on-sea? This walk passes by several places to eat so could easily be combined with a tasty lunch stop. Another option would be to walk the Solent Way. This 60-mile walk begins at Milford-on-Sea before heading to Emsworth Harbour, to the east of Portsmouth.
Keen birders should make their way to Keyhaven to take a look at the Keyhaven nature reserve. These former salt marshes are a haven for internationally important numbers of birds including oystercatcher and grey plover.
Fishing is another leisure pursuit in the local area with both Milford-on-sea beach and Hurst spit being popular choices for anglers. Sea fishing trips can also be taken from Keyhaven with Greg Pitt Sea Fishing.
Events in Milford on Sea
For a small village, there is plenty going on with loads of events for everyone to enjoy. Every year, on the village green, the May day festival takes place with traditional maypole dancing. During a week in July, look out for the Milford on Sea Music and Arts Festival and head to the Milford on Sea Community Centre for a range of musical performances, film screenings and workshops.
Hurst Castle runs a variety of events throughout the year including some school holiday events.
Keep an eye on our what’s on pages for details of other events up and coming in and around Milford on Sea.
Places to stay in Milford on Sea
There are some fantastic places to stay in Milford on Sea, including a fantastic choice of self catering in and around Milford including Needles House and Sea Road, which are the closest to the village.
If you fancy a relaxing break at a country house hotel then South Lawn Hotel is the perfect place for you. With 26 en-suite bedrooms, most with a view over the garden and beyond and just a short walk or drive away from Milford on Sea high street and the seaside, this hotel is a great place for a tranquil escape to the New Forest.
Shorefield Country Park is within a short drive of Milford on Sea. Shorefield offers holiday lodge accommodation whereas guests can bring their own tents and caravans to Lytton Lawn. Another Holiday Park in Milford on Sea is Downton Holiday Park. Although Downton Holiday Park is smaller than some of our other Holiday Parks, they still have everything you need including laundary facilities, a seasonal indoor games room, an outdoor play area and they're dog friendly!
Where to eat and drink in Milford on Sea
There are a some great places to eat and drink in Milford on Sea, including a handful of cafes and pubs in the village offering a refreshing drink or a spot of food. Milford on Sea is also home to some great restaurants.
Getting to Milford on Sea
If driving, Milford on Sea is easily accessible from the A35.
The closest train stations are in Lymington and New Milton.
Head to visitmilfordonsea.co.uk to find out even more information about the wonderful village of Milford on Sea.