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 bakery are on hand for picking up supplies, plus a couple of home lifestyle stores and gift shops make an interesting browse.

Venture out in this stunning village, its 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! 

Hurst Castle is a great day out for the whole family, and it’s located within the village at the seaward end of Hurst Spit, commanding the entrance to the Solent - which means getting to the castle is the start of the adventure!  You can choose to get to the castle by either a leisurely ferry ride from Keyhaven, where there’s the chance to spot the abundant wildlife as you meander down the Keyhaven river, or a 2-mile walk along Hurst Spit, where you can enjoy the fantastic views either side. Once at Hurst Castle there is lots to explore as the castle has a long military history.   From the Tudor keep basement, used for storing food, fuel, weapons and gunpowder and by the 17th century was a great place for storing smuggled contraband, to the vast west wing where you’ll find the Garrison Theatre - thought to be the last surviving theatre constructed by the garrison. Built by Henry VIII in 1544 it remained in military use until 1956, playing an active role through both world wars and was once a prison for King Charles I. The castle though is best understood from the top of the Tudor keep where you are also offered one of the best views in England – with so much to see and do it’s a must visit on your list of things to do in Milford on Sea and the New Forest.

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 to find out even more information about the wonderful village of Milford on Sea.

Milford on Sea FAQs

Is Milford on Sea a town or a village?

Milford on Sea is a small, traditional village, with a range of local shops, eateries, facilities and a wonderful beach.

Is Milford on Sea worth visiting?

Yes, Milford on Sea is worth visiting. This seaside village consists of a lovely village centre where you can find boutique shops, cafes, restaurants and country pubs. Milford on Sea boasts a stunning coastline with a lovely shingle beach, beach huts and seaside cafes and viewpoints.

Is there a promenade at Milford on Sea?

Yes, there is a paved promenade at Milford on Sea along the top of the beach. The promenade walk is 2 miles long, with benches, shelters, cafes, facilities and viewpoints along the way.

Are there toilets at Milford on Sea?

Yes, you can find toilet facilities in Milford on Sea at both Paddy’s Gap car park and Hordle Cliff car park

Sea Road

This premium, 3 bedroom holiday home benefits from a wonderful sea view of the 3 needles off the…

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