The shores of Southsea on Portsea Island can be somewhat chemeleonic. Being part of the UK it does not escape from the ever changing weather, its the transporting views on a beautiful coastline that stretches of for miles that I immediately fell in love with back in 2003. I guess you can say it was love at first sight. The following year I moved to Portsmouth on Portsea Island, Southern coast of England. On long summer days I could easily spend the day out on the seafront watching sailboats play catch with the wind, ferries transporting islanders to Calais in France or watch cruise liners pass through with passengers hoping for a short break from cabin fever. The beauty that comes with living so close to the sea side and a break from the concrete jungle of London life is what inspired the move to Portsmouth.
My visit back to Portsmouth this time was for a Sunday lunch date on the Spitbank Fort. Not many people know about this place. On the coastline of Portsea Island lies the secrets of The Solent. I got to spend the day exploring one of the secrets. Spitbank Fort is one of four forts that was originally constructed to defend the British from Napoleon's army in the 18th century. Days of fighting have long gone and these abandoned forts have now been renovated, with one turned into a museum, one is solely owned, with the other two turned into luxury hotels. One of which is the Spitbank Fort and the other twice as big, opening its doors this Autumn.
One can only get to the forts by boat, so transportation was from the Royal Clarence Marina on Gosport. Floating passed the beautiful Spinnaker tower and sailors no doubt testing out their boats in readiness for Cowes week this coming summer. With a tricky entry onto the fort due to rough seas, on arrival we were met with glasses of wine and canapes. Then a tour of the fort with a little historical detail of the living conditions of the soldiers that guarded the seas from within the fort. You cannot help but admire the old generation for building such a fantastic structure in the sea, with the little the technology they had compared to what we can achieve today, and it still stands today. There is so much history within the walls. Touring the fort and watching ferries and speed boats sail passed we had worked up an appetite, so it was time to retreat to the dining room for lunch served with a side of Spit water! An interesting name for sure, but I assure you its not literal. There is a spring running 401 feet beneath the fort so you can quench your thirst with Spitbank(shortened to Spit) water, freshly bottled on site too. With conversations effortlessly flowing with other guests at the table and dessert beautifully caressing each and every taste bud you could be forgiven for your mind drifting off into a dreamy state filled with all things sweet and nice.
The fort was beautifully transformed from a neglected sea fort, to one that has a luxurious coziness to it with a mix of a nautical theme and some original furniture items for its hay day. A relaxing lounge, recreation room, outdoor heated pool with stunning sea views, a fire pit to cozy up to and a bar to toast the night away you would wish never to leave the fort. After much needed Sunday rest and relaxation on the fort it was time to head home and leave the overnight guest to enjoy enjoy their humble aboard.
The secret is now out of the bag. If you have not head of the forts on The Solent then you need get your fingers busy on Google so you can get you and your special someone over to Spitbank Fort stat! You will thank me for it. In the meantime some pictures from my exploration of the fort...
Rest and relaxation with panoromic sea views await you... So have you heard about the luxury forts on The Solent before?