Lymington Harbour
Review and History

The port at Lymington Harbour lies on the west bank of the River Lymington on the Solent (the stretch of sea between mainland England and the Isle of Wight) in Hampshire, England. It faces, and is connected by ferry to, the Port of Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight. Lymington Harbour is a popular yachting center, home to three marinas. The town of Lymington enjoys a busy tourist industry. The urban area is home to about 14 thousand people.

Ditches and the hill remain in the Lymington area where a fort called Buckland Rings stood during the Iron Age. The town began as an Anglo-Saxon village when the Jutes arrived in the 6th Century. The settlement they founded was called Limen Tun. The Domesday Book listed it as “Lentune” in 1086. In about 1200, manor lord William de Redvers first chartered the town, allowing it to hold a market, bringing craftsmen and merchants to live in the village.

During the Middle Ages, Lymington Harbor was a small, busy port that imported wine from France and exported Salisbury cloth. Until the 19th Century, Lymington Harbour was known for making salt from sea water. In 1865, the last saltworks was closed.

Since the late 17th Century, Lymington Harbour has been home to a busy ship-building industry. It is known for its history of smuggling, and rumors abound of smugglers’ tunnels beneath High Street. The plentiful Victorian and Georgian architecture of the town center belies the town’s wealth at the time.

During a 1346 war with France, Lymington Harbour had to give nine ships and 159 men to King Edward III. The town was burned twice by the French twice during the Hundred Years’ War and then again in 1545.

The first poor house was built in Lymington in 1738 (rebuilt as a workhouse in 1836). In 1771, the first theater was opened on New Lane. A new prison was built on High Street in 1783. A military depot was located at Lymington Harbour during the 18th Century that housed foreign troops. During the Napoleonic Wars, it was the base for the King’s German Legion.

The first paddle steamer moved passengers between the Port of Yarmouth and Lymington Harbor in 1830. The railway finally entered Lymington Harbour in 1858. By the 19th Century, the ship-building industry had transformed into a yacht-making industry. The first yacht club was founded there in the 1880s, but it did not last long. The Lymington River Sailing Club emerged in 1922 and was renamed the Royal Lymington Yacht Club in 1938.

Today, Lymington Harbour is home to two large marinas and two sailing clubs. The marinas offer comprehensive services for the yachting world. The Town Quay offers moorings for 150 visiting boats, and it offers shower and toilet facilities (without electricity).

The harbor authority is the Lymington Harbour Commissioners. Lymington Harbour is a not-for-profit trust governed by ten commissioners, one of whom is the Harbor Master. In 2008, about 6300 boats visited Lymington, about 770 of them from visiting groups or rallies. About 20 fishing boats work out of the harbor, and Lymington Harbour is also home to the Sea Fishing Club, the Sailability, the Sea Scouts, and a Rowing Club. The harbor commissioners assure that facilities are well-maintained and the Town Quay is dredged regularly.

Lymington is a picturesque and busy market town offering many boutiques on its cobbled quay. Visitors will want to walk the beautiful path along the coast on the Solent Way or bicycle in New Forest. Lymington offers regular ferry trips to the Isle of Wight, also a popular holiday area. The city offers indoor and outdoor swimming pools and a wide range of restaurants, hotels, and hostels.

In one of England’s most beautiful natural areas, visitors to Lymington Harbour will want to explore the New Forest that covers over 37 thousand hectares. West of the harbor are four miles of a coastal nature reserve that has been recognized by the UK and Europe for its scientific value.

Travelers who want to visit Lymington Harbour will find a thorough listing of attractions, accommodations, and things to do in the area on the website.

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