Girls with dogs on see saw

Dogstival 2024, the best pet day out in the UK, New Forest 1-2 June

Dogstival, the two day festival for dogs, takes place this year on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 June in beautiful Burley Park in the New Forest, with dog-friendly accommodation nearby at the Montagu Arms Hotel and in cosy cottages from New Forest Cottages.

Who pulled the plug

Lymington Lido aka Seawater Baths - and sea water generally

Come on in to - Lymington Lido. It’s so bracing!

Whilst we look forward to the re-opening of the Seawater Baths, meanwhile some musings about seaside holidays and sea water

Mark and Hugh writer and cartoonistBy Mark Symons with cartoon by Hugh Lohan

"Do you remember the days when you went as a family to Cornwall? A small hotel perhaps or a cliffside chalet? I do. My family used to holiday there every year without fail and I remember the beaches of Whitsands Bay so clearly. When I was a schoolboy the steep cliff path was a doddle but, back then I was whip thin, agile and darted amongst the barnacled shoreline rocks as if they were my natural home. Time and cider have taken their toll though and when I re-visited the bay two years ago the cliff path was, shall we say, a little more challenging. The air ambulance crew were very sympathetic.

But here’s the thing, it was the sea! After all, you can’t go to the beach and not swim! It would be like going to Lymington market and returning with nothing, simply not the done thing!"

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  Continuing with Mark...

"Imagine you are on holiday in Cornwall, hand in hand with your youngest you have walked the two hundred metres to the sea (it’s easily that far at low tide). Then your toes are caressed by the freezing cold water and they curl involuntarily. Your youngest tugs impatiently saying “Come on mummy!”

You are dragged a few more steps. The sand which, ten feet previously, was dry, fluffy and warm but is now ferociously cold and as hard as iron. You eye with trepidation the incoming waves which are about to strike your white, trembling legs. So far, so terrible, but then, the torture ratchets up from unpleasant to agonising. The next enormous wave of, ooh, three inches in height, completely submerges your ankles. The pain is a throbbing unpleasantness and for a moment you consider running, sobbing, back to the safety of the beach towels and wind breaks that Hugh has carefully arranged, not forgetting the carefully prepared white wine spritzer concealed in the thermos flask at the bottom of the picnic bag. You look back with yearning, praying for succour as the fresh sea breeze cuts through your thin swimsuit. Hugh waves from his windless idyll, how helpful. Suddenly you realise that your daughter has let go of your hand and walked two paces further, she is practically knee deep, and, horror of horrors, she is smiling gaily! For a moment you had dreamed that this would end quickly, that your daughter would scream at the first touch of the cold water and run back to sanctuary but no, it continues. You set your chin and bravely and selflessly follow your giggling and happy child into the depths where soon you are holding hands again, she is up to her tummy and you are up to your knees. Naturally you quickly acclimatise to the change and you too begin to grin and, like your daughter, splash and laugh.

Time moves on and so does leisure

Once, when we were there in our clifftop chalet it rained almost incessantly for the whole two weeks. It’s a wet county, Cornwall. My dear departed mother swore she would never holiday there again, and we didn’t. We might take a moment to remember though that the luxury of paid holiday time is relatively new. These days we think nothing of flying away for a holiday, or two, or for some, three! Perhaps we might take a moment to think back a mere ninety years when the idea of going abroad for a holiday was as outlandish as the idea of a woman Prime Minister. Thankfully times have moved on. Now, we head for the sun, the Med, warm seas, foreign food, ice cold beer and interesting wine. Before we took whatever the English weather hurled at us, braced ourselves against freezing cold seas, ate fish and chips and drank warm beer. Perhaps we have become a little soft?

Safety and salt water at Lymington's seawater baths

Beaches, certainly the shallow sloping ones, can be treacherous, especially on an ebb tide. Many have lifeguards who do all they can to try to keep us out of danger and well away from dangerous rip tides.

Imagine then being able to take the family to a sea pool? A pool filled with filtered sea water, a pool with a constant level, with no waves or tides. Added to this the convenience of male and female changing rooms, good food from an on-site café, toilets and sunbathing facilities.

Perhaps this might go some way to explaining the incredible popularity of the Lido in the thirties, they were packed! There was one thing that didn’t change and that was (shudder) the water temperature. Heating water is expensive and, generally, it simply didn’t happen.

A bumper year for Lymington Lido?

There is a lot of talk in the media at the moment concerning holidays. Many have lost sizeable sums of money through cancellations and there are many more yet who are likely to suffer the same fate. In addition, the recent problems might have given us all a bit of a shake-up. The next pay cheque might not be guaranteed. Flights might not always be a certainty. Things might not always be as we expect them to be tomorrow. I wonder if people are going to be more cautious in 2021 and possibly for a few years more? Instead of living for today and possibly extending credit a little in order to buy that lovely Joules jacket today instead of next month, I wonder if recent events will make us more cautious? I wonder if we will now perhaps count our blessings instead of our credit card debts and look towards holidays in this country? The incredible Uffa Fox, the Isle of Wight based sailing boat designer and racer used to scorn foreign holidays saying that we knew far too little about our own island to go gallivanting off to some foreign shore.

With this in mind I predict a bumper year for our Lymington Sea Water Swimming Baths!

Lymington Lido who pulled the plug out

Who pulled the plug?

We could also consider a recent innovation that might make the experience a little less toe curling. A wet suit! Loads of people wear them!

Take care and mind the goose bumps."

Click here to read about Lymington Seawater Baths in normal times



Hugh Lohan cartoon nature in the New Forest
The New Forest and getting back into the real beautiful bug free world

The momentum of nature in the New Forest

The unstoppable momentum of nature!

During a time of crisis, switching our thoughts to fresher pastures - arguably easier in the New Forest than most places

A little light hearted though also serious reflection, by Mark Symons with cartoon by Hugh Lohan. 23 April 2020

"As the all-consuming virus dominates our thoughts and the media it might be a good thing to switch our minds to fresher pastures, to lighten our mood by changing tack. We have all heard that sudden interruption during a deadly dull or depressing dinner party conversation where someone says somewhat loudly. “Well, changing the subject!” These words are normally blurted out by the host or hostess out of sheer desperation, anything to save the party! Oh, and note to self, never ever invite the Thompsons again, we really don’t need to hear about their medical problems, especially so soon after the main course!

Life at the top of the food chain?

Perhaps now might be a good time to consider the marvels of our natural world. We humans, bound up in our little world of television and radio (and a great deal more of it since the lock down) eating our food from plastic packages, are we so advanced? Consider how much we depend upon oil then at the same time look out towards the forest and consider the flora and fauna. Tomorrow the sun will rise and with it all kinds of creatures. The warm blooded will seek out food after their night long fast. The cold blooded will wait patiently for the sun’s energy to liven them up. The incredible cycle that is nature will start again, some creatures will depart, some will arrive.

 The New Forest and getting back into the real beautiful bug free world

The New Forest and getting back into the real beautiful bug free world - Hugh Lohan

The joy of our forest and long may it continue.

New Forest prepares for another glorious summer, the sap is rising, fauna is getting frisky with the sound of horns locking in remote glades. Buds are bursting forth and seeds popping open as many hay fever sufferers will attest. As we struggle with a great loss of freedom, nature soldiers on. The New Forest will continue without toilet roll shortages or panic buying. Perhaps we are losing something here? I went for a cycle in the forest the other day and for a short while I eased my tired old muscles as I sat alone with my back to a tree. Slowly my pulse slowed, slowly I began to hear the birds and slowly I began to relax.

In the words of W H Davies:

What is this life if, full of care.

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

Perhaps when we are taking our once daily exercise, we might try to re-connect with nature, even if it is only for a short time. It might save the party. Stay safe and our sympathy to those who are struggling during this difficult time."

Our writing and illustrating duo Mark and Hugh

Mark and Hugh both Lymington Locals who didn't know each other before the pandemic, approached us separately about providing original content for Lymington.com. We're experimenting together at the moment with combining their creative talents for your entertainment.

We also incidentally are looking for local historians to help us continue with our "Throwback Thursday" feature with short stories behind some of our local treasures on land and water both natural and built by man - do get in touch if you'd be interested in becoming a virtual, volunteer member of our little team!

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Socially distanced socialising cartoon

Socially distanced socialising in the New Forest

Socially distanced socialising?

An almost permitted socially distanced street party in the New Forest

By Mark Symons with illustration by Hugh Lohan

"Yesterday, in our quiet, little close we had a street party. I can’t say where because I am sure there are those who feel we should be in our back gardens, not the front. But in terms of the risk of transmission, is there any difference?

Two metres?

One of the girls asked “So what is two metres?” Handyman me had a tape rule in his pocket and I tossed it over. There was then much laughter as she disinfectant wiped it then measured out the required distance between her and her mother as they were about to go to the shops for essential supplies. “Hold onto that Mum, there we’re the right distance!” “If you think I’m walking to the shop hanging on to this you’ve got another think coming!” Much giggling.

socially distanced party by Hugh Lohan

Mixers, yes. Mixing, no.

All of us stayed the recommended two metres apart and each of us was self-supported in terms of drinks and food and as such there was certainly no mixing. There was laughter and chatter with stories and reminiscing. One of our number pondered if this little gathering would have taken place if it were not for the present problems? We all thought not but at the same time it was considered to be a rather dramatic means of socialising the nation.

Blitz spirit or spritzer spirit?

There was even a verified sighting of a teenager, perhaps the gaming machine had overheated and exploded into a thousand pieces. The grinning mother greeted him with sarcasm.

“Hello darling, recognise this? It’s called the world, there’s the sun, this stuff here is called grass, these are people, they live next door, they are called neighbours.”

There was much tittering at the embarrassment of the poor victim.

The evening was brought to a close by our flying friends, no, not Police drones, rather mosquitos and midges. Gradually we said our goodbyes as we filtered away to our televisions in order to be told the latest doom-laden news statistics. Our hearts go out to those affected by this horrible business.

Stay safe and take care."

Free weekly e-newsletter from Lymington.com

A reminder in case you don't already receive Lymington.com's free weekly e-newsletter containing lots of useful information and suitable entertainment for lockdown days, it's easy to sign up here! 

Tennis21 at Lymington Tennis Club

30 days of tennis lessons for £1 at Lymington Tennis with Tennis21

Lucky Lymington - Tennis for a month for £1 

30 days unlimited tennis lessons on offer now for when the lockdown is lifted and tennis can begin again

Tennis21 at Lymington Tennis ClubCheck this out for Lymington and sign up now! The new coaches at Lymington Tennis Club, Tom Ellis and Dave Martens who operate under their own new company Tennis21, are offering anyone from beginners to seasoned professionals alike who would like to take advantage of it, the chance to receive unlimited tennis coaching for £1 for 30 days, when the lockdown is lifted and tennis can begin again!

The weekly schedule is going to be spread over 6 days per week so they reckon you could play 6 days per week, for £1 for the month - such is their commitment to getting people active again and enjoying tennis - giving residents of all ages and abilities the chance to learn skills, stay fit and play tennis as much as they want.

This initiative should also be great news for the newly re-formed Lymington TennisClub which is being set up by the Members themselves working with Lymington and Pennington Town Council.

Go online and sign up now!

To take advantage of this offer you need to go online to www.tennis21.co.uk and make the £1 purchase to secure your place.

Another lovely aspect to this is that if someone would like to sponsor local children to have the month of tennis they are encouraged to let Tom and Dave know privately – they will then contact the schools directly offering a specific number of free spaces.

Tennis21 will communicate to everyone who signs up when they know when tennis will be starting again at Lymington along with more information about the booking app and how it works (essentially it will be like booking a gym class, you book it when you fancy it as all classes are included with your membership).

Classes will be a mix of tennis, drilling, cardio tennis, matchplay and fitness training.

Tennis21 Tom EllisMeanwhile, plenty of practice to do at home 

Whilst lockdown is in force Tom is filming videos in his garden and has devised a fun tennis quiz too.  All to be found on their social media pages.

Follow Tennis21 on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/tennis21uk or  Instagram https://www.instagram.com/tennis21uk/ - and start trying out their regular fitness, multi skills and tennis games and exercises at home!

The juggling video is especially good and very popular... 

As Tom said: “It has been really positive, people from within tennis and people with no experience of tennis have enjoyed the videos. I think people must have enjoyed the humour behind it. As we do more videos, we will learn more about what people like and what they don’t like, and our editing skills will improve. If people want to see anything in particular, they only have to ask, and we will make it happen.”

Tom and David are LTA level four coaches, they’ve created Tennis21 to offer high quality sessions at an affordable price with lots of flexibility to suit people’s needs; they’ll be based out of Lymington Tennis Club for whom this new era should bring a big boost in membership too – win win for all.

Free weekly e-newsletter from Lymington.com

A reminder in case you don't already receive Lymington.com's free weekly e-newsletter containing lots of useful information and suitable entertainment for lockdown days, it's easy to sign up here! 

kayaking with New Forest Activities

New Forest Activities 25% off gift vouchers over £100

Do you want something awesome to look forward to?

New Forest Activities - gateway to fun in the New Forest

new forest activities kayak calm waterAre you going stir crazy locked down at your house? 

Are you longing for a chance to get out in the fresh air and spend time doing something different?

Don't miss out on New Forest Activities' great voucher offer, which will help you make the most of your Summer, when hopefully, we can all get outdoors and enjoy it to the fullest again!

Buy a gift voucher from New Forest Activities and it's 25% off if priced £100 or more

If you buy a £100+ gift voucher from New Forest Activities, they'll give you 25% off, giving you even more to use towards an adventure with them, once the dust has settled.

Gateway to fun in the New Forest

New Forest Activities calls itself your official gateway to fun in the New Forest and rightly so!  Offering an enormous range of safe land and water activities for the whole family to enjoy, from its base in beautiful Beaulieu, there is really something for everyone. Although arguably the kayaking and canoeing are the best of all. 

Valid until end August 2021

Normally vouchers are valid for one year but in these exceptional times the expiry date of vouchers will be extended to be valid until the end of August 2021, so you can buy now and adventure later...

All the details are here - and now watch the video!

April 2020

Bike shop in Brockenhurst:  Boost Bike Hub

E-bikes and e-biking in the New Forest: Boost Bike Hub Brockenhurst

Has the time in your life come for an e-bike?

Best place to find out: Boost Bike Hub in Brockenhurst

e-biking a fun form of leisure travel for the New ForestOver the last year or so, if our friends are anything to go by, switching to an e-bike seems to have transformed from a cool (but maybe lazy?!) move to the everyday norm. 

Meanwhile, watching our mates with great big, smug smiles that spread across their faces as they mount their bikes and set off speedily and silently from the pub or our house - after whatever reason for a visit, there was no need to get the car out – and it’s all starting to look rather easeful and really quite pleasant! It's stirring up more than a little envy, even though we may still pride ourselves on the fact that we use our bikes for PROPER EXERCISE!!!

The problem is of course, that often we actually don’t!  Because it’s too far to cycle/ will take too long and we’ll be late/ will be so unpleasant against the wind on the way home/ etc quite apart from is it going to rain!

Sounding a little familiar? Want to know more about e-bikes, how much they cost, maybe try one and see what it's actually like?

Question: where to find out more about e-bikes and which is best for you?

So if you’ve reached that stage where you’re considering joining the e-bikers where should you begin your e-biking research?

Answer: Boost Bike Hub Brockenhurst

Well, we can think of nowhere better to send you than Boost Bike Hub in Brockenhurst.

Bike shop in Brockenhurst:  Boost Bike HubFirst, wherever you are in the New Forest it’s not far away, and is also the epicentre of many fabulous leisure cycling routes with plenty of pubs and tearooms for after the ride, too.

Second, owner Ross Kempson and his team at Boost Bike Hub also own Cyclexperience bike hire based at Brockenhurst Station, and we’re talking about a really long established and well respected family business, always renowned for their friendliness and helpfulness whatever your need: from an emergency energy bar or replacement tyre to a brand new all singing all dancing latest carbon model.

In fact Ross got into e-bikes long before they became the mode of everyday leisure travel and transport so already has 20 years experience selling them. There's nobody better placed locally to explain the pros and cons of the different e-bike brands and give you a chance to try them out before you buy.

Third, as Ross says: it's NOT lazy! In fact it's smart! Owning an electric bike is an ideal way to decrease your carbon footprint, increase your fitness and improve your health.

E-biking can combine exercise (you do still pedal!) with saving on fuel and helping the environment whilst travelling further on your leisure rides and seeing more of the outdoors - or even just getting the jobs done!  Like all those errands which involve journeys which were a bit too far to go on a traditional bike. That's before we even start on one more extremely good reason - what a perfect way to travel home from the pub!* 

BOOST BIKE HUB BROCKENHURST: the go-to friendly New Forest bike shop to research, try and buy your e-bike!

The Boost Bike Hub electric vehicle

For all the lowdown click here!

*NB you can be charged with being drunk in charge of a bike and obviously will also want to take care with regard to people and animals on the Forest!  Make sure you check out current rules and regulations concerning e-biking.


Team sports in Lymington and the New Forest

Team sports in Lymington and the New Forest

Feeling inspired after the summer holidays? Its a great time of year to start a new team sport!

lymington mariners in action

In the New Forest area we are fortunate to have a multitude of team sports available, for adults and children alike. Most of the clubs are run extremely well by volunteers, sharing their time and passion for their sport with others.

The idea of playing team sports is written off by so many - perhaps the fear of commitment or lack of time. This is a shame as team sports can bring so much to our lives, both in terms of fitness and human interaction. Teams aren’t about the ego, but about bringing people together to achieve what is impossible alone. With the huge variety of teams and sports available, try a few out until you find one that suits you.

The benefits of group activities are considerable and should leave you feeling stronger physically and mentally and more empowered to tackle life off the pitch too. Participants will learn to take feedback; build confidence, self-esteem and clear communication; learn to work towards a common goal as a team; care about contributing to the happiness of the team; build focus and how to manage stress. And of course you're likely to meet some great people and have fun too!

Take a look at the great teams we have in and around Lymington and the New Forest. 

NB: If your team's details or training times need amending or if you'd like your team added to the list, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Lymington Mariners RFCLymington Mariners RFC

A friendly, welcoming and ambitious club always on the lookout for new players and members. Training takes place on a Thursday evening from 18:45 at Woodside Gardens in Lymington. There is also Touch Rugby on Wednesday evenings from 18:45. Based at the Pavilion at Woodside Park. 

For more information and contact details, see Lymington Mariners RFC

New Milton RFC

New Milton RFC

A highly active club that was founded in 1927, NMRFC has a number of senior teams, as well as a thriving and well-organised minis section, junior teams and girls teams. Based at the rugby ground in Ashley, with clubhouse. New players are always welcome.


  • Minis and Juniors - Sundays from 9.30am (often extra training on another day of the week)
  • Seniors - Tuesdays 6:45 - 8pm and Thursdays 6:30-7:30pm

For more information and contact details, see New Milton RFC 


New Forest Hockey Club

New Forest Hockey Club

NFHC dates back to the 1920s and meets several times a week at the sand-based astroturf pitch next to Lymington Health and Leisure (*some at Brockenhurst College / Arnewood School). The club has a strong reputation and regularly puts juniors forward to county Junior Development. 

Training days and times as follows:

  • Under 8 Boys & Girls - Sunday 9.30-10.30am
  • Under 10 Boys & Girls - Sunday 10.30-11.30am
  • Under 12 Girls - Wednesday 6-7pm
  • Under 12 Boys - Thursday 6-7pm
  • Under 14 Girls - Wednesday 7-8pm
  • Under 14 Boys - Thursday 7-8pm
  • Under 16 Girls - Thursday 7.30-9pm
  • Under 16 Boys - Wednesday 8-9pm
  • Men - Wednesday 8-9.30pm (Brockenhurst College)
  • Women - 1st Team: Wednesday 8-9.30pm (Brockenhurst College), 2nd/3rd Teams: Thursday 7.30-9pm

For more information and contact details, see New Forest Hockey Club


Lymington Netball ClubLymington Netball Club

Founded in 2001, Lymington Netball Club welcomes girls from Year 5 upwards. Their ladies section welcomes league standard players and recreational players. Training takes place at Priestlands School, Ballard School and Walhampton School.


For more information and contact details, see Lymington Netball Club 


Lymington Town Football ClubLymington Town Football Club 

Formed in 1876, Lymington Town Football Club has junior (Under 18) and senior teams in the Wessex League Premier Division. Based at the Lymington Sports Ground.

Training: Tuesday evenings

For more information and contact details, see Lymington Town Football Club

Lymington Sprites Youth Football Club

Lymington Sprites Football ClubBased at Pennington Recreation Ground in Lodge Road, the Lymington Sprites U7 to U10s train on Saturdays and have match days on Sundays as part of the New Forest & District Youth Football League. Under 15s and Under 16s play matches in the Bournemouth Youth Football League. New players always welcome.Training: Saturdays 09:00-10:30 (Under 7s, Under 8s, Under 9s, Under 10s. Saturdays 09:30-11:00 Under 15s. All at Pennington Recreation Ground. Tuesdays 19:00-20:00 Under 16s (at Priestlands School) 

For more information and contact details, see Lymington Sprites Football Club


Lymington Cricket Club ColtsLymington Cricket Club

Cricket in Lymington dates back to 1807. Based at Lymington Sports Ground, Lymington Cricket Club has a strong Colts section as well as active senior teams throughout the cricket season. Winter training is also organised.


For more information and contact details, see Lymington Cricket Club

Pylewell Park Cricket ClubPylewell Park Cricket Club

Situated in the private grounds of Pylewell Park Manor House, just across Lymington River, Pylewell Park Cricket Club was founded in 1865.  The club run two Saturday league teams, a Sunday 'friendly' team, a Wednesday social team and Colts teams at U13, U11 and U9 age groups. All are welcome to join, or just come and watch at our lovely ground.

Training (in season): Saturdays 10:00-12:00 - Under 9s, Under 11s, Under 13s. Mondays 18:30-20:00 - Under 15s to Adults.

For more information and contact details, see Pylewell Park Cricket Club



New Forest VolleyballNew Forest Volleyball

The NFV began with a handful of talented juniors and seniors in April 2008 and has now flourished, today attracting many players from across the southern counties.  NFV has both a men’s and ladies team competing in the National Volleyball League and also many regional indoor & outdoor tournaments. New players welcome at all levels.

Training: Fridays: 20:00-22:00 Men, Tuesdays: 19:30-21:30 Ladies, 18:00-19:30 Junior Academy. All at Ballard School. Training is also available at Priestlands School and Noadswood School.

For more information and contact details, see New Forest Volleyball Club


Weekly What's On in Lymington and the New Forest

If you don't already receive our Weekly What's On e-newsletter (including many community events which are free or low charge), do sign up now below, it's so easy! You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Our Events Calendar is the most comprehensive all year round "what's on" in the New Forest, there are new events added every day and it's free to add your own events


Weekly What's On in the New Forest




Assent round the Fastnet Rock 1979

Start of the Fastnet 2019 in the Solent near Lymington

Start of the Fastnet 2019 and finish for some

Local Lymington Rogers Contessa 32 in continuation of historic story from 1979

It seemed like a good proportion of Lymington folk with any means to be afloat last Sunday were on the Solent enjoying the hugely Fastnet Race 2019  leaders passing Hurst Tanya impressive spectacle of the Fastnet yachts reaching past Hurst Castle and out into Christchurch Bay on their way to that little rock which has been the subject and cause of so much past challenge, delight, tribulation and indeed tragedy.

You can watch a video of the amazing sight of the start and early stages of the race, and listen too to the history of this legendary race, by clicking this link to the official website.

More below including reflections back to 1979 when things were so different in so many ways...

Weekly What's On from Lymington.com

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 You can also follow us on Facebook (Lymington Hampshire), Twitter (@lymingtondotcom) and Instagram (@lymingtondotcom). And our Events Calendar details what's on locally all year round - there are new events added every day and it's free to add your own!

Records broken and amazing feats of endurance

Meanwhile this year's 32 metres long Ultrim trimarans hoped to complete the race in an unbelievable sounding 24 hours. 

And they nearly did it, not quite but still smashing the record and finishing in as spectacular a fashion as their start with Maxi Edmond de Rothschild pipping MACIF at the final post on the finish line at Plymouth.  Read more about the trimarans and their dramatic finish on the official Rolex Fastnet website here  

fastnet 2019 aground 600Anybody can go aground

However not everybody out on the water on Sunday will have spotted the ignominious sight of the magnificent full sailed Maxi shortly after passing Hurst suddenly coming to a grinding halt on one of those pesky shingle banks!

Apparently the skipper said the bank must have moved...because they were prepared... it was not marked.... hmmm! Would we who think we know our local waters have known better to beware?!

Maxi wasn't the only one either, as you can see here from this rearview!

fastnet 2019 assent rogers familySmallest boat, biggest message

At the other extreme of the fleet was the 1972 vintage Contessa 32 Assent from Lymington, sailed by members of the famous Rogers Lymington yacht design/boat building dynasty created by Jeremy Rogers: the crew his sons Kit and Simon together with their respective eldest children Jonah and Hattie.

Remembering 1979

Assent is this year not only the lowest rated boat across the entire 320 boat fleet racing under IRC for the Fastnet Challenge Trophy, but she was also the last boat home in the 1979 Fastnet which is being especially remembered this year as it is the 40th anniversary of that tragic race which cost 19 lives.

Willy Ker and Assent

Tiny Assent, skippered by Willy Ker and his son Alan, “was the one and only boat in Class Five during the 1979 race to finish out of 58 starters....Retired Major Ker was also renowned for taking Assent multiple times to the Arctic and Antarctic. For decades Ker held the unofficial record for having sailed the furthest north in a sailing boat. During his escapades he mapped much of the north of Greenland.”

Assent round the Fastnet Rock 1979

You can read a really detailed account of the Assent story, including all about Willy Ker and 1979, and the current Rogers Family aboard in 2019, on the official Rolex Fastnet website   

You can also follow Assent’s progress on the Rogers family's own Facebook page  - latest at time of writing this is that they rounded the rock on Tuesday evening!  STOP PRESS FRIDAY MORNING THEY HAVE FINISHED!  Hoorah and congratulations!

Now the wind is building, the gales are on their way, weekend events are already being cancelled, our thoughts are with the little boats which have safely made their way home in relatively fair winds this week.

And a Steamship!Wating for the Fastnet yachts - Shieldhall steamship

Those out waiting for the Fastnet yachts on Sunday also had the treat of watching the Steamship Shieldhall on her Solent jaunt between Southampton and the Needles. 

Shieldhall is the largest working steam ship in Britain. A member of the National Historic Fleet she serves as a sea going tribute to Britain's maritime heritage.

As a passenger you too can experience the golden age of steam by booking on an excursion or visiting her in Southampton. 

We found her website; we'll find out if they'd like to tell you more...




Selective Photo Gallery 

For those who haven’t been glued all week to the official and very comprehensive Rolex Fastnet website, for the record of a brilliant sight on the Solent we thought you might like to see a few more of our own amateur photos.  (Our team's Solent photographers:  Giles Lloyd Williams, Tracey Thompson, Jane Porter, Tanya Baddeley)

fastnet 2019 ahead at hurst BANNER 800

 fastnet 2019 giles FLEET 600

Fastnet 2019 TANYA 04 600 crop

Fastnet 2019 TANYA 21

fastnet 2019 giles 1 600

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Lymington Seafood Festival 2019 useful visitor information

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 Seafood Festival sunshine 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:

Top chefs of the region in the Demo Kitchen at the Lymington Seafood Festival

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:

New Forest Cottages Music Stage at the Lymington Seafood Festival

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

Seafood Festival paella

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 Seafood Festival 2018 whatever the weather!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 

Lymington Seafood Festival 2017Do 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

Crab at the Lymington Seafood FestivalThe 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!

July 2019

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Weekly What's On in the New Forest from Lymington.com


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