Milford on Sea is a great place to spend the day with the family, with strong foodie spots, beautiful scenery and the main event: Hurst Castle.

Breakfast at Melleford

This independent spot does one of the best breakfasts in Hampshire in our book. It’s recently changed name from Saltwater to Melleford as the lovely local owners Becca and Tony have re-opened their former premises called Saltwater alongside this spot. Melleford is the name for Milford in the Domesday Book, so lots of history behind it. It’s overlooking the village green in the village centre.

They serve up very well-presented dishes, such as smashed avo and egg on toast, and smoked salmon hash amongst others, smoothies are always a hit with the kids and coffees for the adults, with lovely new addition of iced coffee, perfect for the incoming summer. The décor inside is pretty chic and colourful, and the staff nice and friendly. Melleford isn’t dog friendly but their sister venue Saltwater is. They are going to be open in the evening soon too.

It does get busy at times, so if you want to book a table ahead, you can call on 07726773485 – don’t forget to mention you found out via OurHampshire when doing so!

📍Melleford – 60 High Street, Milford SO41 0QD

🅿️ We parked for an hour, using free street parking, but you can also park at Sea Road car park SO41 0DA.

More info – Melleford site currently being created, but here’s the saltwater one –

Strolling Milford on Sea village

Melleford is located right by the village green which is a lovely centrepiece of the village where locals, visitors, and cyclists alike sit and enjoy a drink on the many welcome benches. Kids can have a runaround and it’s also a great spot for people-watching, as village life goes by. It feels very quintessentially English with its thatched cottages, and red telephone box now converted into a mini bookswap spot, like so many others have around the country. We love browsing the many independent shops of Milford on sea and we always enjoy popping into Coastal Bakery to grab a sweet treat such as their giant cream slices or their giant French fancies. On this occasion, it was their marshmallow cones.

Keyhaven Nature Reserve and ferry to Hurst Castle

A few mins’ drive down the road, we parked up at Keyhaven, the car park does get busy so you may have to be patient to scope out a departing car to get yourself a space. It’s a very photogenic harbour spot, full of fishing boats and wildlife, as well as a sea wall. We love to walk around the nature reserve which is a hotspot for bird watching. On this occasion, however, we were off on an adventure to Hurst Castle. Two options to get there, you can either walk there which is a 4-4.5 mile round trip along the seawall and Hurst spit or take the ferry which is an experience in itself.

We took the ferry option on this occasion, and they have two continuously running, one larger boat which is a 94 seater and one smaller, cuter number, and we were lucky with timing where we got to experience both either way. They come around every 20 minutes, and they leave from the quayside right by the rows of ladders, normally a group of people waiting so nice and easy to spot.

You can find prices and more info on the ferry trip here –

It cost us £28 for a family of four and we loved the trip across with the chatty staff, lots of happy families and excited kids, as well as doggies out on their coastal voyage.

🅿️ Parking – SO41 0TP 

Exploring Hurst Castle

The ferry dropped us right at the Castle’s front door, and as we approached it was certainly an impressive sight with the bright white lighthouse beside it.

It’s an English Heritage site with plenty of history, and stunning views of the Solent and across to the Isle of Wight and the needles. The artillery fortress was built by Henry VIII, and the heart of Hurst Castle is the Tudor fort which was built between 1541 and 1544 (according to the attraction website).

It was very popular with families as we experienced and for good reason as it’s like a giant playground to look around, so much open space to run around inside and around it, lots of hidden corners and corridors to explore with interesting artefacts and history on the location, as well as many stairwells to climb up for different views and unique angles of the surrounding landscapes.

At our time of visiting, they had an Easter trail for kids to join in, which was free, and they got trail sheets and crayons to do animal rubbings as well as a word hunt. They also had a room with free arts and crafts going on. There was a real mix of history to learn about in the different areas and I particularly enjoyed the World War 2 history, and they had a big focus on lighthouse keepers too in another area.

A family of four costs £24 and you can find more info on costs and other here –

Picnic on the beach

We came well-prepared for our day trip with a picnic in tow as there were lots of options where to enjoy it. From the picnic benches inside the outdoor areas of the fort, to the grassy areas surrounding it, or even on the stoney beaches. We went for the beach option just near the lighthouse and it was interesting to see the currents around the fort, as one side had the open Solent and across to Isle of Wight which looked very choppy and the currents were crazy, on the other side, the sheltered bay looking back towards the Hampshire coastline. Noted for a future paddleboarding trip and to stay in the sheltered areas, we did see a few kayakers and paddleboarders out, and it’s also a very popular spot for kitesurfers too. The water was clear where we sat and enjoyed our picnic and the passing sailing yachts made for impressive viewing.

This certainly makes for a top full day out and a diverse adventure for the senses for kids.

What about an aerial tour?

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