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For other uses of the name Lymington, see Lymington (disambiguation).
Lymington, Hampshire, England-2Oct2011.jpg
From the air: yachts in the Yacht Basin can be discerned on the left and in the two other marinas; the New Forest fills most of the background.
Lymington is located in Hampshire
 Lymington shown within Hampshire
Population 15,407 
OS grid reference SZ3295
District New Forest
Shire county Hampshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district SO41
Dialling code 01590
Police Hampshire
Fire Hampshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament New Forest West
List of places

Coordinates: 50°45′N 1°33′W / 50.75°N 1.55°W / 50.75; -1.55

Lymington /ˈlɪmɨŋtən/ is a port town on the west bank of the Lymington River on the Solent, in the New Forest district of Hampshire, England. It is to the east of the South East Dorset conurbation, and faces Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight which is connected to it by a car ferry, operated by Wightlink.

The town has a large tourist industry, based on proximity to the New Forest and the harbour. It is a major yachting centre with three marinas. According to the 2011 census the Lymington urban area had a population of 15,407. If you were to also include the nearby parish of Boldre which includes Walhampton, normally considered part of Lymington, then the population in 2011 was 17,410.


Cobbled streets in Lymington town centre

The earliest settlement in the Lymington area was around the Iron Age hill fort known today as Buckland Rings. The hill and ditches of this fort still remain, and an archaeological excavation of part of the Walls was carried out there in 1935. It has been dated to around the sixth century BC. There is also another supposed Iron Age site at nearby Ampress Hole. Evidence for later settlement (as opposed to occupation) however is sparse before Domesday.

Lymington itself began as an Anglo-Saxon village.[1] The Jutes arrived in what is now South West Hampshire from the Isle of Wight in the 6th century and founded a settlement called limentun.[citation needed] The Old English word tun means a farm or hamlet whilst limen is derived from the Ancient British word *lemanos meaning elm-tree.[2]

The town is recorded in the Domesday book of 1086 as "Lentune". About 1200 the lord of the manor, William de Redvers created the borough of New Lymington around the present quay and High Street whilst Old Lymington comprised the rest of the parish. He gave the town its first charter and the right to hold a market.[3] The town became a Parliamentary Borough in 1585 returning two MPs until 1832 when its electoral base was expanded. Lymington continued to return two MPs until the Second Reform Act of 1867 when its representation was reduced to one. On the passage of the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 Lymington's parliamentary representation was merged with the New Forest Division.

From the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century Lymington was famous for making salt. Saltworks comprised almost a continuous belt along the coast toward Hurst Spit.

In the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, Lymington possessed a military depot that included a number of foreign troops - mostly artillery but including several militia regiments. At the time of the Napoleonic Wars the King's German Legion-Artillery was based near Portchester Castle and sent sick soldiers to Lymington or Eling Hospital.[4] As well as Germans and Dutch, there were French émigrés and French regiments[5] were raised to take part in the ill fated Quiberon Invasion of France (1795), from which few returned (contrast the Battle of Quiberon Bay, or Bataille des Cardinaux, a 1759 victory).

From the early nineteenth century Lymington had a thriving shipbuilding industry, particularly associated with Thomas Inman, the builder of the schooner Alarm, which famously raced the American yacht America in 1851.[6] Much of the town centre is Victorian and Georgian, with narrow cobbled streets in the area of the Quay, giving an air of quaintness. The wealth of the town at the time is represented in its architecture.

Lymington particularly promotes stories about its smuggling history; there are unproven (and unlikely) stories that under the High Street are smugglers' tunnels that run from the old inns to the town quay.

Lymington was one of the boroughs reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. In addition to the original town, 1932 saw a major expansion of the borough, to add Milton (previously an urban district) and the parishes of Milford on Sea and Pennington, and parts of other parishes, from Lymington Rural District - this extended the borough west along the coast to the border with Christchurch.[7]

Under the Local Government Act 1972 the borough of Lymington was abolished on 1 April 1974, becoming an unparished area in the district of New Forest, with Charter Trustees. The area was subsequently parished as the four parishes of New Milton, Lymington and Pennington, Milford-on-Sea and Hordle.

Lymington today[edit]

Due to changes in planning legislation, many traditional areas of the town have been redeveloped; older houses have been demolished and replaced with new blocks of flats and retirement homes. In a Channel 5 programme, Lymington received the accolade of 'best town on the coast' (in front of Sandbanks) in the UK for living, due to its beautiful scenery, strong transport links and low crime levels.[citation needed]

Lymington New Forest Hospital opened in 2007, replacing the earlier Lymington Hospital. This is a community hospital and has a Minor Injuries Unit but no Accident and Emergency. The nearest emergency departments are at Southampton General Hospital which is 16 miles (25.7 km) away or Royal Bournemouth Hospital which is 14.5 miles (23.3 km) away.

The main Anglican Parish Church is St Thomas, situated on the high street.

Buckland and Lower Buckland[edit]

The northern neighbourhoods of the town are named Buckland and Lower Buckland, the latter adjoining the Lymington River. However, due to confusion with Buckland, Portsmouth, which is also in Hampshire, many people refer to themselves and their businesses here solely as Lymington. The poet Caroline Anne Bowles (1786–1854) was born at Buckland Manor and died at Buckland Cottage.[8]

Pennington and Upper Pennington[edit]

Pennington is a village now joined with Lymington, forming its south-western part and partly separated by its several schools with playing fields. Upper Pennington is the northern residential offshoot of Pennington, more rural in character, almost entirely surrounded by heath and farmland.


Lymington Yacht Basin and mudflats comprise the former docks area known as Waterford.


All Saints Church

Woodside is made up of a small southern triangle of residential roads, large gardens and cricket ground but includes a Manor House,[9] church-led community hall and All Saints, Lymington, built in 1909 by W. H. Romaine-Walker, architect of Danesfield House, Moreton Hall and the Tate Gallery extension and student of High Victorian architect George Edmund Street.[10]


This is a coastal hamlet by a very small dock, salterns and estuary. This includes the buildings Normandy Garth, Little Normandy and Normandy Farm which backs onto De La Warr House, an imposing early nineteenth century listed building.[11]


St Thomas Street and St Thomas's Church

The high street has seen rapid change over the last few years, with an increasing presence of chain stores and coffee shop franchises. There is a local market, part of the New Forest producers markets held at the Masonic hall once a month in game season. In the cobbled street leading down to the quay are several maritime outfitters.

Lymington has a wide range of shops and a large street market on the High Street, as well as three supermarkets: Waitrose, Tesco, and M&S Simply Food. Local campaigns have resulted in the rejection of proposals for the opening of branches of the Argos retail and in 2010 the Wetherspoon's pub chains.[12] However, in 2012 a second proposal by Wetherspoons was submitted successfully and in 2013, the pub named 'The Six Bells' was completed.


As with the rest of the British Isles and South of England, Lymington experiences a maritime climate with warm summers and mild winters. The nearest official Metoffice weather station for which online records are available is Everton, about 2 miles to the West of the town centre. Thanks to its position near the South Coast, sunshine levels are high relative to the majority of the rest of Britain, and severe frost unusual, with temperature the coldest recorded temperature in 43 years of records no lower than −11.1 °C (12.0 °F) (Set in January 1963).[13] The highest locally recorded temperature was 33.5 °C (92.3 °F) in June 1976.[14]

Climate data for Everton 16m asl, 1971-2000, extremes 1960-2003 (Weather station 2 miles (3 km) to the West of Lymington)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 13.5
Average high °C (°F) 7.9
Average low °C (°F) 2.6
Record low °C (°F) −11.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 81.0
Mean monthly sunshine hours 61.7 81.1 121.8 181.5 223.2 212.4 231.6 223.2 160.2 120.0 80.7 53.3 1,750.7
Source #1: Met Office[15]

date=November 2011

Source #2: Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute/KNMI[16]

date=November 2011

Sport and leisure amenities[edit]

The town's leisure amenities include several parks, a 9-hole golf course, a rowing club, a community centre, a library, the St Barbe Museum and Gallery, two swimming pools (one of which is Lymington Open Air Sea Water Baths built in 1833), a sports centre and a very small cinema/theatre. There is also a Skatepark (skateboards), several tennis courts and Youth Football pitches

Located near the New Forest, Lymington is also a good location for walking, cycling and riding.


Lymington is famous for its sailing history, and in recent years has been home to world famous regattas such as the Royal Lymington Cup, Etchells Worlds, Macnamara's Bowl, and Source Regatta. The strong tides make it a challenging race track, and together with the shallow depth of the river has resulted in Lymington losing a lot of regattas to the Central Solent, principally run from Cowes. Nevertheless, Thursday Evening Racing takes place with up to 100 boats registered to race every Thursday night during the summer, hosted by the Royal Lymington Yacht Club. Started in the 1990s, it has become increasingly popular.

There are two Sailing Clubs in the town, both active. The Royal Lymington Yacht Club, founded in the 1920s as the Lymington River Sailing Club, now has over 3000 members, and now plays host to major keelboat and dinghy events. The Lymington Town Sailing Club, founded in 1946, plays host to the popular Lymington Winter Series known as the Solent Circuit.


Lymington has a Non-League football club Lymington Town F.C., which plays at The Sports Ground.

Rugby Union[edit]

Lymington has a Rugby Union club Lymington Mariners RFC, which plays at Woodside Park. The club has two teams: Lymington Mariners I and Lymington Mariners II. The club meets every Thursday Evening for practice and most Saturday Afternoons for tournament games in the Hampshire region, and Friendly games around the South of England.



Lymington bus station is owned by Wilts & Dorset, who also own a bus depot in the town. Numerous local services are operated, as well as routes to Bournemouth and Southampton. In the summer, the New Forest Tour serves the town with open-top buses.


Lymington has two railway stations: Lymington Pier (the terminus), on the east side of the river near the ferry terminal, and Lymington Town. These stations are connected to the national rail network by a branch line to Brockenhurst. Services are currently operated by South West Trains, who operated Lymington Branch Line as a heritage railway between 2005 and 2010.[17][18]


The A337 road links Lymington to Lyndhurst and the M27 motorway to the north, and to New Milton and the South East Dorset conurbation to the west.


Ferries have run from Lymington to Yarmouth since the 19th century. Since 1990 they have been operated by Wightlink, the successor to formerly nationalised company Sealink on this route.[19] The current fleet comprises three car ferries, which entered service in 2009: Wight Light, Wight Sky and Wight Sun. The service runs on average every hour, from a port south east of the old town on the far side of the Lymington River.

Lymington in fiction[edit]

Lymington is featured in The Children of the New Forest by Captain Marryat. It also features in the historical novels of local writer Warwick Collins (namely The Rationalist and The Marriage of Souls) and The Forest by Edward Rutherfurd.

In Tom Clancy's Patriot Games, a Wightlink ferry heading from the Lymington ferry terminal is intercepted and a prisoner is extracted in heavy seas. Several men on board the ferry are murdered.[citation needed]

The 1980 Christmas special of the ITV children's show Worzel Gummidge was filmed in the town during the summer of that year. During filming a sudden wind blew the titanium dioxide that was being used as a replica of snow into homes, shops and businesses, causing damage and a large compensation bill for the producers, Southern Television.[citation needed]

Lymington was also occasionally featured in the 1980s BBC series Howards' Way.[citation needed]

People from Lymington[edit]

For a full list, see Category:People from Lymington

Twin towns[edit]

An active programme of exchange visits is coordinated by the local Twinning Association[20]


  1. ^ King, Edward. A walk through Lymington. 2nd ed- Southampton : Ensign, 1990
  2. ^ Coates, R 1993.The Place-Names of Hampshire. Ensign Southampton
  3. ^ R.Bearman (ed.), Charters of the de Redvers Family and the Earldom of Devon,1090–1217. Exeter: Devonshire Records Society, 1994
  4. ^ Gabriele Eilert-Ebke, Hans Ebke, Journal der KGL-Artillerie 1804-1808|date=December 2012
  5. ^ Huchet Patrick. 1795 - Quiberon, ou le destin de la France. Rennes : Ouest-France. 1995
  6. ^ L B Mackinnon. Atlantic and Transatlantic: Sketches Afloat and Ashore. 1852
  7. ^ Vision of Britain: Lymington MB
  8. ^ ODNB entry: Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  9. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1274531)". National Heritage List for England. 
  10. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1277406)". National Heritage List for England. 
  11. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1231907)". National Heritage List for England.  De La Warr House
  12. ^ Patrick Barkham "Is Lymington the snootiest town in Britain?", The Guardian, 13 September 2010
  13. ^ "1963 temperature". KNMI. 
  14. ^ "1976 temperature". KNMI. 
  15. ^ "Everton 1971-2000 averages". Met Office. Retrieved 9 Nov 2011. 
  16. ^ "Everton Weather extremes". KNMI. Retrieved 9 Nov 2011. 
  17. ^ South West Trains Lymington Branch Request for Exemption from Railway Safety Regulations (1999)
  18. ^ Jones, Robin (2010). "End of line for Lymington slam-door stock". Heritage Railway (134 (18 February - 17 March 2010)): p61. 
  19. ^ "History". Wightlink. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  20. ^ Lymington International Twinning Association

External links[edit]