"A Too, Too Short Evening Visit...." Lymington by johngayton

Lymington Travel Guide: 60 reviews and 67 photos

It was the crazy ladies, the rather attractive crazy ladies, whom I met in the Angel pub that endeared me to Lymington - both of them insisted on giving me a kiss and I was supposed to judge who was best. OK they were both a little drunk but they WERE sexy. Unfortunately my discreet attempt at getting a photo of them didn't quite happen but they were fun - oh and by the way I managed to obfuscate around making a decision and told them that both were equally delish, just in different ways LOL.

They'd been out shopping, and judging by their profusion of bags had had a particularly strenuous time of it - which is probably why they needed a drink. Then their taxi arrived and I got a quick cuddle and peck as farewell and was left in a very good mood, all the better to appreciate what a pleasant little town Lymington is.

I only had a couple of hours - I had to get back to the Rhinefield House Hotel sometime that evening which involved a four and a half mile cycle from Brockenhurst and then a 6 am start for work the following morning, But that couple of hours were enough to convinvce me that a revisit is definitely required.

A Few Facts And Observations

Even before I'd met the crazy ladies I'd become enamoured with this little town with its quirky quayside and its Georgian High Street.

Lymington's recorded history begins with the 1086 Domesday Book (the survey of England and Wales initiated by William the Conqueror in order to asses what he could tax) but there is evidence that the area had been occupied by the Saxons and that it was certainly settled by the Romans and used as a port for trade with the Isle of Wight.

The town must have been granted a market charter sometime in the 13th century to hold its Saturday market (which it still does) but no record of this has been found, merely a 1269/70 account of 30 shillings received by the Reeve of the Borough from the tolls and market. Its Middle Ages growth was founded mainly on salt-making whereby sea water was collected in salt pans and allowed to evaporate down to a thick brine before being transferred to iron trays and fully evaporated over coals to obtain the crystals. The salt thus produced was considered exceptionally pure and most was exported to Newfoundland for the salt cod trade.

Shipbuilding was another important source of revenue, as was brick-making but rumor has it that the real prosperity was due to piracy and smuggling and most of the houses and other buildings have deep cellars and many are connected by underground passages. In fact smuggling was so prevalent that Southampton merchants (whose port had the official charter for import of wine etc) made several complaints to the Crown during the 13th and 14th centuries. Then in 1426 court records show two Lymington men being found guilty of piracy against "The Christopher of Sluys belonging to John 'of Rows".

By 1825 when David Garrow wrote his "History of Lymington" the salt trade was on the decline but tourism was being encouraged by the building of salt water swimming pools such as the still in use 1830 lido just off Bath Road.

The present-day Lymington is still very much a tourist attraction and also, with its marinas and shipyards, a boatie haven. Most of the buildings and the street layout predate Garrow's "History" and the town as he describes it then is easily recognisable today.

Stunning Location

Lymington is on its eponymous river which flows into the estuary of the River Solent, about a mile from the sea. It is also on the edge of the New Forest. The area is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Lymington has the twin advantages of both coast and countryside.

Unfortunately I arrived late afternoon on a dank December day and so only got the briefest taste of the area but as with the crazy ladies a taste was enough to make me want to come back for more ;-)

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Compact, Scenic and Friendly
  • Cons:Not enough time to find any!
  • In a nutshell:Maybe I should have asked for a second round of kisses ;-)
  • Last visit to Lymington: Dec 2011
  • Intro Updated Dec 15, 2015
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