Keyhaven and Hurst Castle

English Heritage Hurst Castle

English Heritage Hurst Castle

A lighthouse, an imposing Tudor castle, a cute passenger ferry, views of The Needles off the Isle of Wight, a long stretch of pebbled beach overlooking Christchurch and Mudeford, a harbour and a yacht club with boats glistening in the sunlight.

Keyhaven and Hurst Castle offer some fantastic coastal photo opportunities.

Getting there

On the south coast of England, Keyhaven is a short drive from Lymington, through the pretty village of Milford on Sea  (where there are plenty of tea shops for a quick bite, or local pubs and fish and chip shops for more substantial offerings).

Park at the car park just behind Keyhaven Yacht Club / opposite the Gun Inn, or continue round Saltgrass Lane to park up on the side of the road. I parked at the yacht club, walked towards the sea with the boats on my left and turned right along the path with the marshes on my right and the harbour to my left.  Over the footbridge and up the bank, to reveal a stunning view of the Isle of Wight’s famous rocky outcrop and lighthouse.

A passenger ferry operates if you’d rather save your legs… although when I visited, low tide meant it was out of action.

Keyhaven Hurst Castle Ferry Port

Keyhaven – Hurst Castle ferry port in low tide

Photo Notes

The pebble beach is good news for photographers who want to get that lovely coastal shot, without the risk of sand in precious equipment. Refuelling and refreshment opportunities are scarce though, so snack supplies recommended.

The Castle

Ok, so it’s not a traditionally picturesque turreted fort, but Hurst Castle boasts some pretty impressive historical credentials and its location makes for some stunning views.  When I visited (albeit out of season) it was fairly quiet too, so good for ‘tourist-free’ photos.

Hurst Castle and Lighthouse

Hurst Castle and Lighthouse

Built by Henry VIII and used as the prison of Charles I before his trial and execution, it’s now an English Heritage site, so you can pay to see inside the imposing stone walls, or just take in the views from the outside.

The Lighthouse

Hurst Point Lighthouse, a white and green building on a fairly isolated stretch of land with the hallmark New Forest rough scrub makes for some eye-catching landscape shots.

Hurst Point Lighthouse

Hurst Point Lighthouse

I imagine with the right lighting conditions it would be a good setting for dramatic stormy scenes.

I spotted a lifesaver and almost too good to be true, the lighthouse lines up perfectly through the bright red and white circular frame.

Through the Round Window - Hurst Point Lighthouse through a lifesaver

Through the Round Window – Hurst Point Lighthouse

The Needles

The Needles, a rocky outcrop off the coast of the Isle of Wight are a series of three jagged chalk pillars – hence, ‘needles’, marked by an upside down flashing exclamation mark – or lighthouse. As familiar a British coastal sight as the White Cliffs of Dover, they make for a good focal point on the Hampshire horizon.

The Needles from Hurst Castle

I found a weather-worn groyn to frame a shot of this landmark.

Sailing Sailing

Keyhaven and Keyhaven Yacht Club is a great location for shots of sailing boats, whether in action on the water, or moored in the harbour.

Keyhaven Boats

Keyhaven Boats

I love the way these boats are queuing in an orderly, obedient fashion – ready and waiting to be called into service.

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