In January, I was invited down to stay in Milford-on-Sea. As a frequenter of this town’s beach in the summer months, I naturally was delighted to receive said invite so that I could explore a little more, and I am pleased to say that the town very much lived up to my excitement.
The town centre itself is relatively small, circling a very charming green onto which many of the shops and cafes look. Historically, Milford-on-Sea dates back to Saxon times, and is even recorded in the Domesday Book. That central village green was once ancient common land, and many of the old houses (now residential) such as the Old Mill, vicarage and manor, still remain today (in fact the Old Mill recently featured on Channel 4’s Extraordinary Extensions, having undergone serious restoration works).
The beauty of a weekend/short/long break in Milford on Sea is that there is as much or as little for you to do as you choose, and most activities are outside in the wonderful seaside air.
Where to Stay
We were given a two-night stay in an Airbnb, which was an incredibly aesthetic little hut with an outdoor space, all necessary amenities, a very comfy double bed, and within walking distance of the town centre and beach. I would certainly stay there again, however if you are after a bit more space then you are not short of alternative AirBnbs, B&Bs, and a few hotels too, in the area.
What to Do
Milford-on-Sea itself offers 3 different footpaths (see photo); the Clifftop route (taking you to Barton-on-Sea along the Hordle Cliffs), the Lymore route (which takes you inland towards Lymore), and the Keyhaven route (which takes you out along the peninsula to Hurst Castle) which forms part of the Solent Way where you can continue on to Lymington, Beaulieu, and beyond, all the way to Portsmouth! Have a look here for some more ideas!
Then there is, of course, the matter of the New Forest National Park being right on your doorstep too – click here to search for some of your many options.
Hurst Castle – an old artillary fortress built by Henry VIII and now an English Heritage site, Hurst Castle sits on the end of a long peninsula with lovely views of the Needles and Isle of Wight on the one side, and Keyhaven on the other.
Water sports – paddle-board, kayak, swim, windsurf, sail… Milford-on-Sea is a great base-point for all of these things, particularly because it is quite protected from the elements and not too windy. Bring your own, or hire equipment from the New Forest Paddlesport Company.
Beach – If energetic water-sports are not your thing, why not sit yourself comfy on the beach, read a book, bring a flask or bottle of fizz, and watch the (water)world go by? The beach is a pebbled one, so deck chairs might be sensible, or you could do one better and hire one of the gorgeous beach huts for the day.
Bikes – hire bikes from New Forest Bikes and explore the areas surrounding Milford-on-Sea, including Lymington, the New Forest, and Barton-on-Sea.
Shopping – a small but noble offering, No64 Biscuit House is a beautiful homewares store and a double Muddy Stilettos winner, and Noah Valentines Antiques shop is a treasure trove tucked away off the main road.
Food & Drinks Scene
On our first night we had takeaway burgers and chips from La Perle, where you can also dine in. The burgers were fab and I’d like to return and eat in to try the rest of the menu. They also did great chunky chips (something I am passionate about!).
For our second night, our host booked us a table at Rays Italian, which is also a deli in the day (more on that below). The meal was absolutely excellent, really reasonably priced, and I would certainly go back again. My favourite plates were the arancini and the charcuterie platter (which was a special).
Some other places we were recommended include The Cave Wine Bar, The Lazy Lion, The Beach House, and Britannia Thai.
There are many lunch options, and something to suit all requirements. The Pickled Weasel offers quick options like pre-made sandwiches, sausage rolls and the like. The Paddle on the Green also offers some great light-bite and brunch options. Also pop by Rays Italian for a sit-down lunch menu or grab some bits from the deli and head to the beach!
We had our first breakfast in the AirBnb, but on our second morning we headed to The Paddle on the Green. This was by far my favourite eatery, and a very popular one with the locals and cyclists. The wait for the tables moves quickly, the coffee is excellent, and the food great – avocado on toast, granola bowls, pastries, etc. Delightful.
As mentioned above, The Paddle on the Green had brilliant coffee. Also check out the Coastal Bakery, and Rays Italian.