Spitbank Fort is one of a series of four sea forts that were built in the mid 1800’s as a way of protecting the Solent and Portsmouth Harbour on the south coast of England. Work on Spitbank Fort itself was originally started in 1861 but was temporarily paused until building restarted in 1867 to be completed in 1878.
Two of the other forts; Horse Sand Fort and No Man’s Land Fort are actually larger than Spitbank because Spitbank Fort was intended to be more of a third line of defence to protect against ships that had already got past the first two. Spitbank is only 162 feet in diameter and has one floor and a basement. It also has armor plating although this is only found on its seaward side. Once completed, the fort was kitted out with a selection of big guns to protect the Solent. Infact, the 12 inch breech loading guns that were installed in 1884 were still in service until after the First World War.
Towards the end of the century in 1898, the fort was repurposed to defend against light aircraft and guns and searchlights were fitted to the roof. Gun upgrades continued throughout the years until the Ministry of Defence decided that they no longer needed the fort in 1962. They officially disposed of it 20 years later in 1982 and the fort has since become privately owned.
Spitbank Fort Today
Since being privately owned, the fort has had many uses and even once opened as a museum. Today, Spitbank Fort is operated largely as a luxury retreat and guests can use the fort as a place to stay a night or two, visit for sunday lunch or even get married there. The fort now has a whole host of luxury facilities with 9 luxury bedroom suites, a restaurant and bar, a rooftop hot pool and firepit and much more. Not bad for an old sea fort from the 1800’s! Spitbank fort can only be reached by private boat and various packages are now available to book.