Solent Forts FAQ's
Frequently Asked Questions
WHERE DO WE PARK?
The nearest public car park is at Gunwharf Quay’s shopping centre (postcode for sat nav is PO1 3TZ). Zone A is the closest to the Solent Forts Port Office (which is opposite Customs House).
HOW DO WE GET TO THE FORTS?
Transportation to and from the forts is by boat which departs from the Commercial Pontoon at Gunwharf Quays. The size of the boat will vary depending on the number of guests and staff travelling at that particular time. It takes approximately 10-15 minutes to get to Spitbank Fort and 30—45 minutes to get to No Man’s Fort from Gunwharf Quays.
Guests travelling to no Man’s Fort may have an initial stop at Spitbank Fort whilst guests disembark. Guests who wish to travel to the Forts on their own boats are asked to contact the team before doing so to arrange this.
WHAT TIME DOES THE BOAT DEPART?
For any guests visiting the Forts for an overnight stay or day experience, we ask that you check in at our Port Office no later than 11:30am, the boat will then depart at 12pm sharp from our commercial pontoon.
For any guests joining us for a Dinner Experience, we ask that you check in no later than 6pm. The boat will then depart promptly at 6:30pm.
WHAT HAPPENS IF WE MISS THE BOAT?
We run a tight ship and cannot guarantee being able to get you to the forts if you do not arrive within the specified time frame. To avoid keeping your fellow guests waiting (and missing out on precious time onboard), we’re afraid the boats must leave at the scheduled departure times which is why we recommend you arrive at check-in 60 minutes before your scheduled departure time. Should unforeseen circumstances prevent you from getting to us on time, please call 02392 292575 as we may be able to arrange a private transfer for you at an additional cost.
- WHERE CAN I FIND THE ITINERARY FOR MY VISIT?
ARE CHILDREN OR PETS ALLOWED ONBOARD?
For health and safety reasons, children under the age of 12 years old are strictly not permitted onboard. Children aged 12-17 are welcome for day experiences such as lunches and afternoon teas but due to licencing laws, we are unfortunately unable to welcome guests under the age of 18 years old for an overnight stay. Please see additional details in our terms and conditions which can be found on our website. With the exception of guide dogs, we do not accept pets on-board.
I HAVE RESTRICTED MOBILITY – IS THE VENUE ADAPTED?
The forts are classified ‘ancient monuments’ and as such, we are limited in what we can do to adapt this unique venue to be suitable for all. As well as getting to, on and off a boat, access to all forts is via a landing stage where guests must walk up a two storey ramp.
The original staircases on the forts are relatively narrow and steep which may prevent access to all levels for those with mobility restrictions. If you are planning on visiting us and have reservations about mobility and access, please do contact us to discuss.
CAN YOU CATER FOR MY DIETARY REQUIREMENTS?
At Solent Forts, we are proud to say that we can cater for most dietary requirements that you may have and recognise the following allergens: Cereals containing gluten, Crustaceans, Molluscs, Eggs, Fish, Peanuts, Soya, Milk, Nuts, Celery and Celeriac, Mustard, Sesame, Sulphur Dioxide, Sulphites and Lupin. Please ensure you inform our reservations team of any allergens or dietary requirements at time of booking, or at least 48 hours before your visit to ensure we have enough time to source alternative ingredients for you if required.
IS THERE A DRESS CODE?
Whilst there is no official dress code, we do ask that you wear flat shoes to steady your sea legs on the boat and advise wearing something warm for the boat transfers as all good sailors will know, it can get a bit breezy on a boat in the middle of the Solent!
Most of our guests do opt for smart casual attire but if you prefer to go all out or even visit us dressed as Nelson or even Napoleon, you will be equally welcome aboard!
WHAT HAPPENS IN BAD WEATHER CONDITIONS?
Access to the Forts is of course subject to weather conditions and the safety of our guests and staff is our primary concern. We keep a very keen eye on the sea state, wave height and wind gusts and are regularly advised by the Harbour Master plus both our boat captains who have over 50 years’ experience sailing the Solent. Whilst we have a good track record cancelling only 7% of our trips, should it become necessary to postpone or cancel boats to and from the fort, we will let you know as soon as we possibly can and do our very best to offer you an alternative date to visit or failing that, a full refund.
We have created multiple partnerships with other hotels and venues in the local area so, should your corporate event, meeting or EU with us be affected with us in anyway, we will do everything we can to find an alternative venue to host you.
I’M PLANNING A SPECIAL CELEBRATION. HOW CAN YOU HELP MAKE IT EXTRA SPECIAL?
Here at Solent Forts we understand that with any event, it’s the little things that count. Whether you want to impress friends or clients with champagne Sabrage, surprise a guest with a personalised cake at dinner or have a bottle of champagne waiting in someone’s room, we are on hand to make every event extra special. For the ultimate celebration, you can even hire a whole fort – with over 11 function rooms and 30 luxurious bedroom suites across our two amazing fortresses, we are sure to have the perfect space for you. Please visit our Solent Forts Celebrations page for more information.
HOW DO I MAKE CHANGES TO A BOOKING?
Due to the additional logistics and planning involved with such an unusual venue, we do not allow changes to be made to any bookings within 28 days of your visit. However, we are happy to change a booking due to extreme unforeseen circumstances. Please let us know as quickly as possible if you wish to make a change to you booking and we will see what we can do to accommodate.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE BOAT TO THE FORTS IS CANCELLED
If we have to cancel your trip, we will usually cancel within 24/48 hours and rebook you on the next available boat. Being a Napoleonic Fort in the middle of the sea, the weather can caused havoc meaning boats cannot take guests out to the forts.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO REFUND MY TRIP TO THE FORTS?
If we cannot rebook you, we will refund you, with funds being back in your bank account within three working days.
Please be aware that unless you have hired the Fort(s) exclusively, there may be other events running simultaneously on-board. Should you have any other questions that are not answered above, please don’t hesitate contacting us on 02392 292575.