The town of Lymington, or "Lentune" as it was called in Medieval times, lies on the West side of the Solent and is nowadays a thriving yachting centre and tourist attraction.
The origins of the town are obscure but, at Buckland Rings on the outskirts of Lymington, there have been Neolithic and Bronze Age finds. This site is part of the more important remaining earthworks in the New Forest. The town flourished on the export of salt from its salt pans, which were developed by the Normans. During the Middle Ages Lymington started to become well known as a shipbuilding and trading port. Shipbuilding has now been replaced by yacht and boat building.
The Solent Way is a 60-mile long stretch of quiet harbours, marshland, cosy Pubs, Castles and hosts the longest running Regatta in the world, the famous Cowes Week. The event has taken place in early August since 0930hrs on the 10th of August 1826. The Solent is a unique piece of water characterised by its tides and challenges and during Cowes Week it is filled with 900 racing boats and 2-300 spectator boats. It gives even the most experienced helmsman and crew plenty of excitement and problems to solve.
After the 2nd World War the Ocean racing classes started to dominate, especially after the first Admiral's Cup was sailed in 1957. Channel and Fastnet races - began to gain in popularity and yachting changed from being the province of the rich to a sport for the enthusiast.
Cowes plays host to visiting foreign warships, sail training vessels and celebrated high profile maxi and round the world yachts. Despite being a regatta for thousands of sailors from every background Cowes Week is still strongly part of the 'social' calendar, taking place after Goodwood, traditionally starting on the Saturday after the last Tuesday in July.