England’s Victorian Era Sea Forts Are Being Made into Exclusive Offshore Retreats

by Owen James Burke


Spitbank Fort, Solent, Great Britain. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Built to protect Portsmouth Harbor from the army of Napoleon III, four Victorian-era military bunkers lie between mainland England and the Isle of White, decommissioned since World War II. Now they’re being remodeled in festive, luxuriant splendor to suit the needs of any party, however lavish and/or debauched.


What island fort would be complete without its own contained water feature? Photo: Anna Kunst.


Spitbank Fort has 8 bedrooms accommodating 18 in all. If you do make it out to the fort for a soiree, the 15-foot-thick walls will give you no trouble sleeping off the night’s festivities. Photo: Charlie Dave/flickr.


The courtyard may look a bit…institutional…but surely you could find some occasion to put it to use. Photo: Charlie Dave/flickr

Several private owners have attempted to renovate the abandoned forts, but none with any luck until now. Spitbank Fort (1878) and No Man’s Land Fort (1880) have just undergone serious retrofitting, and are now hosting some the UK’s most exuberant festivities. There’s also a spa, on that note.


Above: No Man’s Land Fort. Photo Credit: Anna Kunst

Spitbank’s larger neighbor, No Man’s Land Fort, the most recently opened venue of the Solent Forts, holds up to 200 partygoers and 44 overnight guests. There’s also laser tag.

Take a photographic tour of the renovated Spitbank Fort:

Though it was a military garrison, Spitbank Fort was built during Victorian times, and wasn’t exactly spartan to start–that is, as far as sea forts go:

These are the kinds of places where you could have both your bachelor(/ette) party and get married. It makes no difference; you and your company can be as brazenly hedonistic or as prim and proper as you like.


Photo via Daily Mail

Me? I’d probably just nab a bottle of fine single malt from the bar and head off to the top deck where I could sit fireside and wet a line for the evening while taking in the sights and sounds of the strait. –OJB


Above: Horse Sand Fort is being renovated into a museum, and is due to open next year. That means there’s only one left on the market… Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

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