Unique mid-water venues to reopen as hotels and museum

Sat squarely (or circularly, to be precise) in the Solent, and

guarding the seaway between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, three sea

forts built in the Napoleonic era have been bought by a property company

specialising in ‘amazing retreats’.

Having already acquired the

162ft-diameter Spitbank Fort, which has been transformed into a ‘private

island’ 9-bedroom luxury hotel, new owners Clarenco intend the larger

No Man’s Land Fort to be a 30-bedroom venue complete with helipad and marina.

It’s twin, Horse Sand Fort, also 240ft in diameter, is to be turned

into a ‘time-capsule’ museum.

A fourth sea fort, St Helens – close

to the Isle of Wight – is privately owned. During the lowest tide of

the year a causeway usually appears between the fort and St Helens

Beach, with islanders taking to it in a mass walk.

The sea forts,

known as Palmerstons’ Follies, were later armed for defense purposes in

the two World Wars. Since then they have only been used for navigation

and had fallen into varying degrees of disrepair.

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