First reported by Island Echo Latest News


3 historic forts built in the Solent in the 1860s are being sold by entrepreneur Mike Clare who founded Dreams, the bed company.

They were built by Prime Minister Lord Palmerston when the country feared invasion by the French. By the time they had been completed, the Gallic threat had gone and they became known as Palmerston’s Follies.

2 of the forts for sale, No Man’s Fort and Spitbank Fort, have been painstakingly redeveloped into exclusive hotels. The third, Horse Sand Fort, is currently used to record the history of the follies and retains the 100 chambers and living quarters, original gun carriages and armour plated walls.

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No Man’s Fort has been transformed to create a 4-star island hotel, with a maximum capacity of 200. It has 23 en-suite guest bedrooms, staff quarters, a restaurant, 5 themed bars, laser battle play area and a spa. The fort has 99,000 square feet over 4 floors and includes a lighthouse with private dining, rooftop hot tubs, sauna, fire pit, hot pool and helipad.

Spitbank Fort is even posher with 9 luxury guest suites plus staff accommodation, events spaces including a restaurant, 2 bars and a ‘wine cave’. Totalling some 33,000 square feet over 3 floors, it has a maximum capacity of 60 and features an open central courtyard, plus roof top terrace including sauna, fire pit and hot pool.

Mike Clare acquired the properties around 10 years ago and spent several years redeveloping them. After recently stepping back from the business that runs them, Mike has decided to sell in order to focus on other businesses and charity interests.

The 2 hotels are being sold through global real estate advisor Colliers and the freehold estimate for them combined is more than £8million. Horse Sand Fort is being sold by auction through Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers with bids starting at £750,000.

Inside Horse Sand Fort

Paul Barrasford, Director in Colliers International’s Hotels Agency team, said:

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“In keeping with the unique nature of the forts and aside from buyers looking to continue the current use, we are expecting and would welcome interest from buyers looking to repurpose the properties to say, ultra-private residences, corporate retreats or exclusive use venues.

“This is an incredible opportunity to acquire two of the most remarkable properties to come to the market in recent years”.

Rob Marchant, auctioneer at Clive Emson, said:

“We sold one of these forts to Mike Clare’s company ten years ago. That was Spitbank Fort which has been completely renovated. We are now offering Horse Sand Fort that has huge potential.

“We sell some incredible land and properties at our actions but these forts must be among the most historically interesting.

“There are endless possibilities for these forts and buyers do let their imaginations run wild.”

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Government should buy them back and it should be part of our Heritage,,


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