Lymington, Hampshire 01590 689 000
Lymington is a handsome, well-to-do harbour town that warrants a day or so out of anyone’s itinerary. The old town, clustered round the quay, is an attractive medley of cobbled streets, boutiquey shops and cafés. Down on the quay is where the yachties hang out, and where you can catch various boat trips: to the Needles or the Isle of Wight (around £14–16 return) or upriver (around £9 return). You can also watch the trains rumble out to the ferry terminal over the water – the ferries are one of the main routes to the Isle of Wight. Head west along the coast, too, for some great walks.
There are some lovely hidden gems in Lymington.. a friend thoroughly recommends the very cute Willow cafe half way up the high street (I'm vegan, so can't partake, but it looks lovely!)
Further down (opposite Costa coffee) is The St Barbe museum and art gallery, it often hosts some great little exhibitions
As you reach the bottom of the highstreet hill (past the chipshop which seems very good), opposite you'll find Graze, a stylish tapas bar with great food (we had 3 dishes between us for lunch, about £16, they recommend another).
To your left is Egons restaurant, highly recommended by those who've been there..
Down the cobble streets, you'll find yourself at the harbour, and the Ship Inn on the waterfront. Child friendly, with a cosy but modern interior, there's a good amount of room outside on decking by the water as well as inside. They're happy to make food vegan for you, and there's a good selection of vegetarian stuff. Their lunch menu is very reasonably priced.
Carry a little further on again, past a fab children's park, and you have the LIDO!
An outdoor seawater swimming baths built in the 1830's but looking like something from the 1950's, the place is just gorgeous. Watch the enormous, lumbering Isle of Wight ferries go past while your little people play happily in the sand pit and paddling pool, fabulous :)
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