There's no place like... Lymington

Living in Lymington means you can combine the pleasures of town and coastal living with the countryside on your doorstep, says Jill Belcher

If there was ever a town which ticks all of the boxes for location, then it must be beautiful Georgian Lymington.A couple of years ago it came top of  a national estate agent’s survey as Britain’s most desirable coastal town and it certainly is a vibrant, historic place, chock full of all the community amenities you could want, yet with a very distinctive, individual character.Everything you need to buy is obtainable in or off the picturesque and bustling High Street, home not only to many national chains but also a satisfying variety of high-quality individual retailers. There’s even a traditional Saturday morning market filling the High Street, where you can find stalls selling all your requirements, from vegetables to antiques.As if this shopping nirvana were not enough, Lymington is also a paradise for sailors, with not just plenty of places to moor your craft but also the Royal Lymington Yacht Club, the largest RYA affiliated club in the world.If country pursuits are more your thing, then look no further because Lymington’s position on the edge of the New Forest gives you the opportunity to ride, cycle, walk, play golf and enjoy the amenities it provides to your heart’s content.The Solent Way runs through the town and walkers and naturalists also have the benefit of the nearby Lymington and Keyhaven Nature Reserves.All this opportunity for exercise doesn’t mean that the cultural side of life is neglected. Lymington’s St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery, tucked away behind the High Street, not only tells the story of the town and the New Forest coast, but also holds major art events and exhibitions, workshops and talks.Buckland Rings, a short distance from the centre of the town, is where people in Neolithic and Bronze Age times first settled the area. Lymington prospered thanks to the Normans exploiting the local sea salt industry and even today, during the summer months, you can swim in one of the old salt pans.With the resources of the New Forest on its doorstep and the sea lapping at its shore, it was only natural that Lymington should develop into a busy boat-building centre, a craft which has survived, although nowadays efforts centre on the leisure boating industry rather than warships.Whether you favour a period home or something more modern, Lymington has a wide range of housing stock, from grand listed Georgian houses in the centre to modern executive homes with plenty of ground a little further out of town.There are also waterside homes, including flats and many properties suitable for a weekend hideaway.Lymington even has two railway stations, one in town and one at Lymington Pier, and trains connect at Brockenhurst, where you can travel to London in little over 90 minutes.

SchoolsLocal independent Hordle Walhampton School is a co-educational boarding and day school for pupils from two to 13 years. Ballard School, in nearby New Milton, is an independent co-educational day school for children from one-and-a-half to 16, while Moyles Court School in Ringwood takes day and boarding students from nursery to senior age. Local state primary schools are considered good.

Your commuteTrains from Lymington run to nearby Brockenhurst, which has excellent direct links to Bournemouth and Waterloo, while you can enjoy the beauties of the New Forest if you commute through it to join the M27 for Southampton and the M3. Bournemouth and Poole are just to the west. If you work on the Isle of Wight, the Wightlink Lymington to Yarmouth ferry is the shortest and fastest vehicle route there, taking just 30 minutes.

Why I live in Lymington 

Lyndsey Metcalf (33), managing director of Lymington-based lifestyle communications agency Inspired, grew up in the New Forest and moved to Lymington a year ago after working for 12 years in London. “I have travelled the world for work but I genuinely think the south coast and the New Forest is one of the nicest places in Britain,” she says. “I got to the top of my agency, wanted to consider my next move, came back home and decided it would be a good place to set up my own business because it is an affluent area with good, strong businesses.“My family owns the Big Bath Company in Lymington. The town is generally a bustling place without being overcrowded, the New Forest is on your doorstep and so is the coast. There are really nice houses and you can have a great quality of life in terms of watersports, horse-riding and sailing, as well as culture and social life and there are good restaurants – The Mill at Gordleton is excellent.”

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