Explore Britain’s maritime history at Buckler's Hard

Beaulieu, Hampshire

Explore this unique 18th century village which had an important role in British maritime history.

This is probably the last place you’d expect to find one of the most important spots in British maritime history. Tucked away in a corner of the New Forest, surrounded by country lanes, Buckler’s Hard was where many of the ships were built for Lord Nelson’s fleet, back in the late 18th-century.

With a good supply of wood available, the ships took shape in the boatyard on the River Beaulieu before sailing the few miles downstream to the English Channel. Although the shipbuilding eventually died off, Buckler’s still played a crucial part in the mass evacuation mission to Dunkirk in World War II, with a flotilla of small craft mustering here before setting off for the French coast.

Nowadays, this is a quaint open-air museum, where you can stroll around the riverside village, poke your head into the redbrick Georgian cottages and even take a trip on the river. If you’re peckish at this point, they do a yummy game sausage roll at the Master Builder’s House next door – which also has rather stylish rooms if you’re keen to stay…

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