Solent Forts Amazing Venues
If you've ever been on the ferry from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight, you'll have passed the Solent Forts, built during Napoleonic times to defend the south coast from attack. Thanks to the good people at Amazing Venues you can stay overnight in two of these extraordinary forts – Spitbank Fort and the larger No Man's Fort, which are arguably the most unique exclusive-use venues for a wedding, conference or party anywhere in the UK. How do you get there? Just show up at the Departure Lounge in Gosport for boats to whisk you off to the fort.
The first thing to understand is that it's all very comfortable indeed, refurbished to an extremely high standard with not a hammock or ship's biscuit in sight. Spitbank Fort has nine huge suites available, all of them spectacular, with super king-size beds (one has a waterbed), amazing bathrooms and uninterrupted views of the Solent, while just across the water is No Man’s Fort, which is three times the size and has no fewer than 22 luxurious bedrooms.
It's a slightly odd feeling knowing that you can't just up and leave, but that's really the point, in that you have no option but to relax and buy into the whole thing. Food is whatever you want it to be, given that you basically hire the place and its crew, but it's always of a gourmet standard and served in the former officer's mess. Afterwards you can relax in one of several bars or gather on deck around a fire pit and gaze out to sea – there's a large heated pool on Spitbank or two hot tubs on No Man’s Fort.
During the day there is a wealth of activities on offer, including exhilarating rib rides, tours of the forts, fishing, sea kayaking or even practising the art of 'sabrage' – that's the art of opening a bottle of champagne with a sabre for those who didn't go to public school. Basically it's a venue like no other – and a perfect place for a celebration, party or wedding. They also host special party nights which anyone can go to – see their website for details.
The Owner Says
Amazing Venues are the proud owners of 3 historic sea forts in The Solent and consist of Spitbank Fort, No Man’s Fort and Horse Sand Fort. Spitbank and No Man’s Fort have been transformed into ultimate private islands, perfect for weddings, corporate events and lots more.
£450pn for a Commodore suite
Open all year.
Getting to Gunwharf Quays by car, exit the M27 at Junction 12, then join the M275 motorway which brings you directly in to Portsmouth, and then follow the brown signs for the Historic Waterfront leading you straight to Gunwharf Quays and the Solent Forts Port Office – Canal Side, Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, PO1 3FH. By train, Portsmouth Harbour is the nearest main line station to the Departure Lounge and has excellent travel connections direct to London Waterloo. Journey times are about 1 hour 40 minutes. If you prefer to arrive in your own private helicopter, the crew will be on hand to collect your luggage and welcome you aboard.
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