We all love a hotel near the sea – rooms with a sea view – not a partial sea view. How annoying it is to get to a hotel that describes the room as sea view only to find out that if you do want to see the sea you pretty much have to stand on a chair and hang your head out the window to catch a glimpse.
So what a joy to discover a hotel where every single room has a sea view because the hotel is in the sea not next to the sea. It’s called No Man’s Fort and is located right at the entrance to Portsmouth in the middle of the sea.
It has an interesting history which makes the idea of staying here even more attractive.
The tale of The Solent Forts dates back over 150 years when fear of invasion by the French led by Napoleon III resulted in the commissioning of these sea based defences by British Prime Minister Lord Henry Palmerston. Concerned that the naval fleet and Portsmouth dockyard would be a target, work began on five commissioned forts in the 1860s. With 15ft granite walls and armour plating, these magnificent structures are testament to the skill of Victorian engineering. Large stone blocks were used as foundations, transported from the quarry by train, and then by barge before being set in place by divers. Taking 15 years to complete, by the time the forts were ready for occupation, the feared French threat of invasion no longer existed and hence, the forts became known as “Palmerston’s follies”.
Although the forts were no help during the Napoleonic wars they did come in handy during the first and second world wars defending Britain’s shores but being posted to one of these forts was a bit miserable. They were damp and cold then.
Now the forts have been purchased and are being turned into luxury hotels
– what a great idea all this history and comfort as well. And getting there is half the fun.
There are three of them now –
No Man’s Fort
Horse Sand Fort
(Have to be careful when I am typing those names – don’t want any typo’s here 😊)
I wonder if they offer a daily ration of Pusser’s Rum.
Anyone with a Royal Naval background will recognise this name. Pusser is actually navy slang for Purser and the daily tot was something highly prized by the men. It only stopped in 1970 on 31 July which became known as “Black Tot Day” and is celebrated every year.
Now I think having a drop of Pusser’s Rum while sitting on the balcony of No Man’s Fort would be a fine thing to do.