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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