Lymington is a charming Georgian market town on the southern edge of the New Forest and western end of the Solent. It's easy to explore the New Forest and surrounding coast from Lymington via a choice of tourist bus tours. The town is also a renowned sailing centre with two marinas - Berthon and Haven. The Museum of St Barbe details the fascinating history of Lymington and the New Forest Coast. Interactive displays explore Lymington's development into a market town and port, looking as particular themes in the area's past such as smuggling, salt making and boat building. An art gallery is also here with changing exhibitions regularly featuring work on loan from prestigious national and regional art collections.
Accommodation in Lymington is varied and includes a choice of welcoming B&B's close to the Marinas, lovely holiday cottages ideal for a family break and great dog friendly accommodation in guest houses around the market town. The High Street has an array of antique shops and the weekly Saturday Charter Market held in Lymington probably since the 13th century is always popular. Market stalls line the High Street all the way up to St Thomas Church and are great for picking up local produce as well as more exotic fayre. A range of other markets are held in the town throughout the year and Lymington has a good range of independent shops and boutiques.
Lymington is a popular sailing resort with several yacht clubs based around the two big marinas, Berthon Lymington Marina and Lymington Yacht Haven. Wightlink run the quickest car ferry service from Lymington to Yarmouth on the western side of the Isle of Wight. The journey takes around 30 minutes. Sailings run throughout the day and night all year round. A wide range of boat trips, cruises and ferries are also available from Lymington Quay with short trips to the Isle of Wight, The Needles and Hurst Castle on a shingle spit south of Milford-on-Sea. Some trips allow for a little time ashore. Other cruises also run up Lymington River and the Solent.
Fishing trips are also popular from Lymington taking you out into the Solent for a spot of deep sea fishing. You can either hire boats for small groups or book yourself onto a fishing trip with others - the advantage being that skippers can take you straight to the best fishing grounds.
Lymington is one of the stops on the New Forest Bus Tour and the Beach Bus, both of which run daily across the peak summer season. There are three connecting tour routes in The New Forest bus tour. Lymington is along the Blue Route taking in coast and Forest locations including Brockenhurst, Burley, Milford-on-Sea and Keyhaven. It's also along the Green Route exploring the south east of the Forest taking in top spots including Lyndhurst, Beaulieu, Exbury Gardens and the Hythe Ferry. Book online with discounts via the New Forest Tour website. Lymington is also a stop along the little Beach Bus route running during the summer season between Hythe, Lepe, Exbury, Beaulieu, Buckler's Hard and Lymington.
The stretch of coast from Lymington to Keyhaven is an excellent place for birdwatching. Lagoons, saltmarsh and vegetated shingle have been designated as a Local Nature Reserve where there is a nationally important breeding population of little terns. You can also see black headed gulls, common terns, sandwich terns, oystercatchers, ringed plovers and redshank in breeding season. It is also a great birdwatching reserve for overwintering and migratory birds, attracting species from Europe, Africa, Scandinavia and Siberia. Significant numbers of Brent geese and waders such as dunlin, grey plover and black-tailed godwits can be seen over winter.