"> The History of the Solent | Solent Forts History


Royal shipwrecks, Roman remains and naval battles

The Solent is the strait of water separating the Isle of Wight from mainland England and a major route for leisure, freight and military vessels. The area is hugely popular with yachting enthusiasts, and is also the location of the prestigious annual sailing event, Cowes Week.

It is difficult to pinpoint an exact timeframe for the emergence of this busy stretch of water, but human remains that date from the Roman era have been discovered by divers which suggests the sea level was much lower at this time and the strait, if it existed at all, would have been much narrower.

In 1545, Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose was lost in the strait just outside Portsmouth harbour during a naval battle between the English and French and over 350 crew members lost their lives. A salvage project in 1971 pinpointed the location of the remains of this famous ship and later, it was successfully lifted from the seabed in 1982 to be restored in Portsmouth.

Another famous ship to be associated with the Solent was the doomed luxury liner, Titanic, which left Southampton never to return, in April 1912. Having been deemed “unsinkable”, the iconic ship hit an iceberg and with not enough lifeboats to accommodate all 2,224 passengers, only 710 people survived.



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Dear Guests

As a result of recent Government guidance discouraging mass gatherings and encouraging ‘social distancing’ in order to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, we have taken the difficult decision to temporarily cease trading at Solent Forts. The safety of our guests and crew is and always has been of paramount importance.

As this situation is unprecedented, we are, as yet, unsure when it will be safe to reopen the forts. We are currently concentrating on the displacement of all confirmed bookings which were due to take place over the next 28 days (up to and including Friday 17th April). Bookings beyond this date may also be subject to rebooking. We will be looking at dates beyond 17th April on a fortnightly basis whilst taking into account any further government advice.

You will appreciate the unprecedented nature of the current situation and the volume of customer enquiries we are receiving at this time. We as we are a very small team and we respectfully request that you do not contact the Port Office by phone or in person as this will help our team to process all enquiries as soon as possible. Please channel any other enquiries through our hello@solentforts.com email address.

We are working hard to reschedule as many of the affected bookings as smoothly and efficiently as we can and we are doing everything we can to provide maximum flexibility as the situation around novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve.

These procedures apply for all bookings made direct with the venue. If you booked through a third party agency please contact them directly.

Further updates will be provided via our online statement and through our social media channels.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

The Solent Forts Team