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Beaulieu: Cheap Visitor’s Mooring in the Solent!

Finding a cheap spot in the Solent to park your boat for a night or two isn’t easy. Marina’s are expensive and anchorages are limiting. But one place where you can tie up for a reasonable £10 a night is Beaulieu.

The Beaulieu River is conveniently located within easy reach of popular Solent destinations, including Cowes and Lymington. It is one of the few privately owned rivers in the world and offers some spectacular scenery and an abundance of wildlife. In fact it was here that a local seal boarded our tender and decided to chill out in the morning sun for a while!

The visitor mooring buoys are located close to the river entrance and are marked with a ‘V’. There are only 8 available at £10 a night, for a maximum of 7 nights, and are on a first come, first served basis. The buoys are strong with decent pick up lines. If these buoys are full then the river does have additional swing moorings but these are charged at a higher rate. (We were told by another visitor that it was £25 a night for these other buoys but not sure if this was based on length or a fixed rate). You can radio the Harbour Master on VHF channel 68 using call sign Beaulieu River Radio if in doubt.

UPDATE JUNE 2022: Alas another victim to rising costs (and greed?) as these cheap moorings are now gone 🙁 The rate is now £2.50 per metre. You can still anchor for £10 a night between piles 20 and 22.

Speaking of the Harbour Master the river is patrolled regularly so no getting away with a freebie! Payment was taken in cash, he didn’t have the facility to take cards but advised us that we could call the office and pay over the phone (although on a previous visit we did dinghy it up to the main marina to pay with card but this is quite a distance so best to carry some of that old fashion stuff they call cash!).

You will need a dinghy here to get ashore. We took ours upstream to explore the river and the Harbour Master kindly let us tie up around the back of the marina (apparently this is not usually an option but it was fairly quiet and maybe he felt sorry for us!). From here we strolled along the scenic footpath, which forms part of the Solent Way, up to the village of Beaulieu in the New Forest, approximately 2 miles away. This beautiful village, where donkeys roam freely, features quaint shops, eateries, art galleries, antique shops and gift shops, and of course Beaulieu Palace and Motor Museum. What it doesn’t have is a decent shop for essentials so do stock up beforehand! We were quoted £50 by a local taxi company to take us on a round trip to nearby Tesco’s in Hythe. A bus wasn’t an option either as this only ran on selected days. Luckily the marina back at Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour has a reasonably stocked shop for those all important basics, so we survived on this!

Buckler’s Hard dates back to the 18th century and is where ships were once built for Nelson’s Navy. Here you will find a Maritime museum and visitors centre, shipwright’s cottage, shipwright workshop and a small chapel. During the season river cruises run and there are a couple of places to enjoy something to eat, or simply bring your own and pick a spot along the river’s edge to have a picnic!

Finally the sunsets here were magical. ❤️

So there you have it…..a cheap mooring in the Solent! Just be sure to get your tides correct as there is a bar at the entrance to the river. When we first visited we watched this YouTube Video by Tom Cunliffe which we found helpful as we had felt a little apprehensive about going in here. But once we had done so, we didn’t regret it!


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