Solent forts to become a new hotel and museum

Horse Sand Fort
Horse Sand Fort

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TWO of the Solent forts have been sold and will be turned into a luxury hotel and a museum.

Horse Sand Fort and No Man’s Land Fort have been sold to the same company, Clarenco, which bought Spitbank Fort in 2009 and has turned it into a hotel and conference centre in a £3m revamp.

Clarenco has formed a new company to manage the development called Solent Forts and says this is the first time one organisation has owned all three forts.

No Man’s Land Fort is over 35,000sq ft – three times the size of Spitbank Fort – and was converted into a luxury hotel in the 1990s.

Clarenco says it will work with English Heritage and will create 30 bedrooms, an indoor swimming pool, a games and billiards room and meeting and dining rooms.

Planning has also been approved for a helipad and a marina area.

Horse Sand Fort was built between 1865 and 1880 to defend Portsmouth from the French and is almost an exact replica of No Man’s Land Fort. It has several armour-plated floors with 15ft thick walls all round. Clarenco will transform Horse Sand Fort into a museum showcasing the artefacts and history of the three forts.

Mike Clare, founder and president of Dreams and owner of Clarenco is the sole private investor in Solent Forts.

He said: ‘This is a momentous day for us.

‘We felt we couldn’t miss the exciting and rare opportunity to add both No Man’s Land and Horse Sand Fort to our diverse portfolio of amazing retreats.

‘Solent Forts will create employment in the area, generate an increase in tourism and will really put the Solent on the UK tourism map.’

Guests will reach the forts by Clarenco’s own flotilla of boats from the Royal Clarence Marina in Gosport.