Horse Sand Fort, The Solent, Off Portsmouth, PO4 9UQ

Lot Image

Auction sale - Tuesday 11th October 2016


Unsold, the last bid was £845,000 and is available at £875,000.

Upon the instructions of

Clarenco LLP
  • Freehold Solent fort completed in 1880 for redevelopment
  • Scheduled ancient monument
  • To view other completed luxury forts visit
  • Planning consent granted in 2004 for 14 luxury apartments
  • Access by boat from Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth with potential for helipad



The Solent is the area of water that separates the Isle of Wight from mainland Britain, and is a major shipping lane for passenger, freight and military vessels. It is an important recreational area for water sports, particularly yachting, hosting the Cowes Week sailing event annually. It is sheltered by the Isle of Wight and has a complex tidal pattern, which has benefited Southampton's success as a port, providing a "double high tide" that extends the tidal window during which deep-draught ships can be handled. The major navel and passenger port of Portsmouth lies on its shores. Portsmouth lies alongside the M27, and has a journey time by rail to London of 1.5 hours. The set off point for the forts is at Gunwharf Quays on the water front, site of the Historic Naval Dockyard Museum, the Spinnaker Tower, a main line rail station and ferry terminal for the Isle of Wight.
The property enjoys unrestricted sea views across the Solent to Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight and out to sea.


Horse Sands Fort is one of the largest of four off shore Solent forts, completed in 1880 at a cost of £425,000 as a military base with 59 guns to protect Portsmouth against the French. They took 15 years to complete by which time the threat of French invasion has receded and they were never needed for their intended use and thus became known as ‘Palmerston’s Follies’ after the prime minister who authorised their construction. Horse Sands Fort was rearmed during the first and second world wars, then finally declared surplus to requirements by the Ministry of Defence in the 1960s.
The forts lie some four miles south east of Portsmouth in the middle of the Solent, approximately 15 minutes by boat from Gunwharf Quays, some with helipads. Robustly built from concrete and granite, with a massive granite block sea bed foundation, the fort comprises two floors and a basement and has a circular road along the inner perimeter, affectionately known as ‘the Street’. There are around 100 chambers within the 15ft granite armour plated walls and a 200 ft diameter at deck level.
The fort would offer residents the ultimate in seclusion, fantastic views and a rare chance to reside offshore in a unique location.
Near by No Man's Fort has been completely redeveloped to a high standard as luxury hotel/corporate event space and gives an idea of what can be achieved from these unique properties. Both of the forts are similar in size and original configuration.

Further information can be found at or



Planning Authority

Portsmouth City Council (02392 834334)

Planning & Development

Horse Sand Fort is listed as scheduled ancient monument and benefits from planning granted in 2004 for conversion into 14 Apartments now lapsed.

Full plans of the Fort are available on the website along with various photos & plans of other development ideas.

Further information on the nearby No Man's Fort and Spitbank Fort that have been redeveloped by our client as luxury hotel's, dining and wedding venues can be found at

Accommodation Summary

The fort was constructed as a gun platform for 49 internal guns within casements and 10 deck placed gun turrets.
There are within the structure on the lower floor a large number of smaller ammunition and store rooms, on the main middle deck, the gun casements and living accommodation for around 80,and on the top deck a mix of ventilation shafts and a light house. The property had its own artesian well. The property has been cleared and tidied up with essential maintenance work.


Please refer to the legal pack.

Energy Performance Certificate

No EPC required.


Viewings are strictly by arrangement with the auctioneer and may be affected by adverse weather conditions. They will be on a first come, first served basis and at a cost of £20 per person.


* Guide price

The guide price is an indication of the minimum price at which, or if a guide price range is given, within which, the seller is prepared to sell at the date of publication. The guide price is not an anticipated sale price or valuation. All prices quoted are subject to contract.

* Reserve price

The reserve price is the minimum price acceptable to the seller and the price below which the auctioneer cannot sell.

Both the guide and reserve may be subject to change up to and including the day of the auction. The guide price does not include either VAT which may apply to the sale or other amounts the seller may charge. The seller’s Special Conditions of Sale and addendum if any, will state whether there are other seller’s charges and whether the seller has elected to charge VAT on the sale price. On the fall of the hammer a buyer’s fee is payable of £990 inclusive of VAT.

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