What to See & Do in Milford

Milford on Sea has something for everyone. Perfect for relaxing, spectacular views, beaches, walks, historic castle, sea trips, bird watching, village life from another era & lots going on all year round. (Also See 'Whats On'.) If you enjoy eating out or want to explore the New Forest you have come to the right place!

Milford on Sea Beach: A long shingle beach with sand at the waters edge during low tide. Character beach huts line the beachfront providing a traditional seaside feel. The beach boasts fabulous views of the Isle of Wight & The Needles, plus a vista reaching to the Purbeck Hills, Hengistbury Head & Christchurch Harbour. The Needles Eye Cafe provides meals, snacks & ice creams on the promenade. At the end of the beach lies the Marine Cafe bar & restaurant with spectacular sea & Island views.

Milford on Sea Village: Hosting a variety of shops from yesteryear. Local fishmonger, village butchers, greengrocers, model shop, antique shops, art shop, hairdressers, mini spa, florist, clothes shops, post office, chemist, mini supermarkets & off license. For relaxing & eating, there are three pubs, a creperie, fish and chip shop, Indian, Thai & Italian restaurants, fine dining, or simply enjoy a sandwich, classic cream tea or coffee & home made cakes in the numerous village tea rooms, or at the Needles Eye Cafe on the beach front. The traditional Village Green has several benches to watch the world go by.

The Pleasure Grounds: (& Danes Stream or Danestream) Access from Park Lane at the west end
of village centre. The Danes Stream forms part of the Milford on Sea conservation area & runs the length of the parish, through the Pleasure Grounds, Westerly into Studland Common & Sharvells Copse, & Eastwards along the rear of the village shops exiting into Sturt Pond. The Pleasure Grounds have 14 acres of ancient woodland with a network of footpaths along the Danes Stream as it runs parallel to the coast. Legend has it that the Saxons once fought a fierce battle against the Danes nearby, and every year on the anniversary of the battle the water turns red!

The Milford Experience - Milford Horse Drawn Omnibus Service: The one hour Village Tour
The tour visits the Milford on Sea village, Keyhaven & the beachfront. The service runs in the summer from Friday to Sunday & departs hourly from the Seafront Needles Eye Cafe in Hurst Road. 11.00am - 4.00pm. Route: Needles Eye Cafe | Village Centre (Drop off & pick up point) | Keyhaven Green | Hurst Castle Ferry terminal | Carrington Holiday Park (Where horses take a brief rest & have a well earned drink) | Village Centre | Needles Eye Cafe. The tour omnibus is pulled by majestic Suffolk Horses & operated by Driving Sideways of Ringwood.

Tours currently suspended

Sturt Pond and Keyhaven Marshes Nature Reserve: Sturt Pond lies just East from Milford on Sea beach at the start of Hurst Spit. The pond is a haven for swans, ducks, Canada geese, mallard, wigeon, teal, shelduck & grebes. Two wooden bridges cross the stream which runs from Sturt Pond to the salt marshes. The marshes of Keyhaven Nature Reserve has an abundance of wading birds including the little Egret, redshank, ringed plover, oystercatcher, dunlin & curlew, plus a whole variety of regularly changing visitors.

Crabbing from Sturt Pond Wooden Bridge: Fish from the wooden bridge on Hurst Spit closest to Milford on Sea.
Great outdoor fun for the older kids! Crab fishing from the bridge at Sturt Pond is ideal for a lazy afternoon. Crab lines, nets & buckets available from The Village Newsagent, Milford Models or Milford Hardware store at Milford Motors on the Keyhaven Road in the village.

Sturt Pond Ponies: Field next to Marine Cafe & Sturt Pond.
This village has their very own New Forest Ponies in the grazing area at Sturt Pond. The horses graze four acres of land between Sturt Pond and Hurst Road. & in doing so, they eradicate course grass and improve habitat for wild flowers and herbs. (Visitors are requested, please do not feed these animals a it can affect their diet.)

Sturt Pond Bird Hide: A hidden sanctuary for bird watchers which overlooks the Sturt Pond area of the Keyhaven nature reserve. The bird hide can be found at the end of the concealed metal gated path between the Marine Cafe & black council sheds at the end of Milford Beach & the begining of Hurst Spit.

Keyhaven & Pennington Marshes Wildlife Reserve: One of the best bird watching spots in Hampshire is managed by the Hampshire Wildlife Trust. The saltmarshes and mudflats support an internationally important numbers of birds. During the breeding season you will find the Black-headed Gull (with up to 7,000 pairs regularly nesting), & several species of Tern including Little, Common and Sandwich Terns. Among breeding waders are Oystercatcher, Ringer Plover and Redshank. Several thousand Brent Geese visit the marshes over winter, along with waders such as Dunlin, Grey Plover and Blacktailed Godwit. The upper marshes and Hurst Spit support colourful plants such as sea campion, little-robin, thrift, yellow-horned poppy, sea aster and golden samphire. Glasswort and common cord grass can be found in the saltmarshes. Salt Production: Centuries ago the area was used for salt production. Pans were formed by building rudimentary sea walls on the mudflats and salt water was allowed in and left to partially evaporate. Complete drying was done in boiling vats. A few remaining remenants of this industry can be found towards the Lymington side of the marshes. You can access the marshes & Solent Way from the car park opposite the Gun Inn pub in Keyhaven.

Keyhaven Harbour: One of the most beautiful harbours on the Solent. The harbour is shielded by Hurst Spit, the massive shingle bar that leads to Hurst Castle. The two access points to the popular waters of the Solent make the harbour a perfect haven for fishing boats, small yachts and dinghies. The Hurst Ferry runs to the castle from the Keyhaven Harbour Quay. Close by is the The Gun Inn pub which is worth a visit after a stroll around the harbour waters.

Hurst Spit is a shingle bank which extends 2.5km (1.5m) from the end of Milford beach out into the Solent and to Hurst Castle & lighthouse. It is a great place to walk, with spectacular 180 degree views of the local marshes, Nature Reserve, The Solent and Isle of Wight. The spit is also an important coastal defence, protecting the Western Solent from flooding and sheltering the designated area of salt marsh. The waters inside the spit are often used by Kite Surfers & Wind Surfers on breezy days, and is also a popular sea fishing location.

Hurst Castle is situated at the seaward end of the shingle spit that extends 1.5 miles from Milford on Sea. The end of the spit, only three-quarters of a mile from the Isle of Wight, and the views from the top of the centre keep are spectacular.
Hurst Castle was the perfect location to defend the western approach to the Solent. The castle was built by Henry VIII as one of a chain of coastal fortresses and was completed in 1544. Charles I was imprisoned here in 1648 before being taken to London to his trial and execution.

The castle was modernised during the Napoleonic wars and again in the 1870’s when the enormous armoured wings were constructed. Two of the huge 38-ton guns installed in the 1870’s can be viewed in their casemates.

During World War II, Hurst Castle was manned with coastal gun batteries and searchlights. It even contains it own 'It ain't arf hot mum' style garrison theatre. (Kid's ask your Grandad). Since the castle has been opened to the public many more exhibits and exhibitions have been installed.

There is also a small café in the castle grounds for light lunches or refreshments. Plus a ferry to Keyhaven Harbour if you can't face the walk back!

Hurst Castle Ferry: If you don't fancy the shingle walk to Hurst Castle or would just like a lift back, the ferry is a convenient fun trip. (Dogs allowed) The ferries run approx every 20 minutes from Keyhaven Harbour. First ferry 10am from Keyhaven, & last boat 5.30pm from Hurst Castle.

Hurst Point Lighthouse: Hurst Point Lighthouse guides vessels through the hazardous western approaches to the Solent, indicating the line of approach through the Needles Channel.

Childrens Play Area: Next to The Needles Eye Cafe, Hurst Road, Milford on Sea Seafront.
The Childrens Play Area is great for the kids. Climbling frames, swings & slides right on the seafront - and of course you can get ice creams in the cafe!

Hordle Cliffs Beach: Next to Milford on Sea beach to the west. Access from Hordle Cliff Car Park, Milford on Sea.
Wooden steps from the clifftop take you to a nice shingle beach known locally for the colourful and cosmopolitan beach huts.

Parky's Snack Bar: Hordle Cliff Car Park, Park Lane, Milford on Sea.
A nice snack bar for a break in your clifftop walk or visit to the beach. Hot & cold snacks, cakes, confectionery & of course ice cream!

The Needles Lighthouse: Isle of Wight | Wherever you are on the seafront in mlford on Sea you can see the The Needles. The lighhouse is operated by Trinty House & was built in 1859 on the furthest chalk rocks near sea level. It cost £20,000 & was designed by James Walker. The circular granite tower is 33.25m high. Much of the base rock was cut away to form the foundation, and cellars and storehouses were excavated in the chalk. The Needles Lighthouse was automated in 1994, and the last keepers left the lighthouse on 8th December the same year. The 1500 watt light is visible for up to 17 miles.

Braxton Gardens & Tea Rooms: Lymore Lane, Milford on Sea, SO41 0TX | Tel:07771 873529 | Open: Tues to Sun.
Attractive gardens featuring the 'David Austin' rose garden & a walled herb garden with clipped bays and box hedges. The planting has been extended over the years to include many unusual cottage garden perennials. The Rose garden has much to enjoy, including many old rose varieties. You can also enjoy herbaceous borders and a lily pool. Braxton also has a plant & herb shop with a wide choice of herbs, roses, herbaceous shrubs & trees. There is also a welcoming café to enjoy a coffee, cream tea, light lunch or snack. (Free entry to gardens)

New Forest Water Gardens: Newlands Manor Farm, Everton, SO41 0JH | Tel: 01590 644405 (Formerly known as Everton Water Gardens) | Ornamental ponds & water gardens to wander around at your leisure. Small charge for entrance to gardens. Also, live fish for sale together with complete pond kits to install in your own garden. Open for visitors from March to October.

Apple Court Nursery & Garden: Hordle Lane, Hordle SO41 0HU | Tel: 01590 642130 | Open March 1st to October 31st. 10am to 5pm Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Bank Holidays | The garden at Apple Court has been created since 1988 in the abandoned walled kitchen garden of Yeatton House and extends to just over one acre. The soil is a fertile neutral loam. The Garden has a White Garden, Hosta Walks, Exotic borders, Grass borders, Fern Walk, Japanese Garden, Woodland borders and Daylily Gardens.

Milford on Sea Bowls Club: Hurst Road, Milford on Sea.
Try your hand at lawn green bowls. A relaxing way to spend a few hours of the day, with spectacular sea views. Open to visitors for £5pp per public session including hire of shoes and bowls. Season runs from late April until October.
The club was founded in 1933 and is situated on the seafront.

Barton-on-Sea Golf Club: Milford Road, BH25 5PP | Tel: 01425 615308
Founded in 1897, the club is situated on the coastal cliff between Milford on Sea & Barton on Sea. The current 27 holes include the the original Harry Colt design from 1932. There is alaso an elegant and imposing clubhouse which is truly spectacular, with commanding views across the Solent to the Needles on the Isle of Wight, along to Old Harry Rocks at Swanage, it is also situated overlooking the lake and an Island green. Visitors welcome.

Vinegar Hill Pottery: Vinegar Hill Pottery, Mockbeggars, Vinegar Hill, Milford On Sea, SO41 0RZ | Tel:01590 642979 |
Local pottery selling vases plates & pots. Please call before visiting as not always open. Also they run residential or non residential pottery courses for all levels of skill and your creativity!

All Saints Church: Greenbanks Close, Milford on Sea, SO41 0SQ | Tel: 01590 644707
Norman Church built around 1080 & rebuilt in stone in the 12th Century. It has seen alterations over hundreds of years but much is still 12th & 13th Century.

All Saints Old Parish Church-Hordle:

 

Site on Hordle Cliffs. From 1080 to 1830 the Parish Church for Hordle stood on the cliffs, until the current church was built 2 miles inland in Hordle. The foundations & church yard of the original church can still be seen.

The White House on the seafront was converted into private apartments in 1999. Prior to this the building had a colourful history. The White House was originally built in 1903, as the summer residence for the Walker-Munro family who owned what is now the Rhinefield Hotel in the New Forest. At some stage the house was rumoured to have been 'Lunatic and Mental Asylum’, but the history on this phase of its life is unclear. What is known is that the house became a Childrens Hospital between 1938 to 1983. During this time it served as a convalescent home, mainly for child TB sufferers. From 1963, it became a school for those with special needs before falling into disuse for several years.

Milford on Sea village historic manor houses: The village has three historic manor houses. Newlands Manor and Milford House are both now converted into private homes. Westover Hall is now an active hotel & feature a magnificant collection of stained glass windows. The colourful history relating to these building can be found by using the following links:

Montague Dawson: Marine Artist.

This renouned artist lived in Hurst Road on Milford on Sea Seafront from 1936 until 1973. The Plaque on the front white wall tells his story. (Now a private house). You can read more on the 'Famous Village Residents' page.

Victorian Post Box: Junction of Victoria Road with Cornwallis Road.
This rare 1887 Victorian pillar box is the oldest one in Hampshire. It has vertical fluting, a small hinged vertical posting slot, stepped circular base and heavy cap.