Three remote island forts go on sale

Perfect for self isolating! Your chance to live like a Bond villain as three remote island forts off the Hampshire coast go on sale for up to £4.2 million

  • The three 19th century private forts, Spitbank, No Man’s and Horse Sand, are currently on the market
  • Islands, which have gathered interest from private investors, sit between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight
  • Were commissioned by the former Prime Minister Lord Palmerston and were intended to protect Portsmouth 

Three 19th-century remote island forts that were built as defence barracks against potential French attacks during the 1850s have hit the market for up to £4.2 million.

The spectacular private islands, Spitbank, No Man’s and Horse Sand, which sit between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, will offer wealthy investors looking to live the life of a Bond villain with the ultimate isolation amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Sitting just a stone’s throw away from the Hampshire coast, the recently refurbished Spitbank and No Man’s are priced at £4 million and £4.2 million, while Horse Sand, which has not been renovated, is on sale for £750,000.

Mike Clare, 65, the founder and former owner of the bed company Dreams purchased the forts between 2010 and 2012 and initially put the islands up for sale two years ago to be run as hotels.

However after being granted permission by Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight council to transform them into private homes, Mr Clare, who spent £8 million on renovations for Spitbank and No Man’s, has put them back on the market.  

He added that the derelict Horse Sand fort, which remains a ‘blank canvas’, just needed a ‘few millions’ to ‘do it up.’

He told The Times: ‘A lot of people want them as a wacky home. You feel very secure when you are out there, a bit like a Bond villain.’ 

Among the forts currently up for sale is No Man’s (pictured is the interior) which sits about two miles away from the coast and covers 99,000 square foot

Spitbank fort, which was built as a line of defence against enemy attacks on the Solent and Portsmouth, currently offers nine bedroom suites a Victory bar, hot pool, sauna and a roof deck 

Horse Sand, which was designed by Captain E. H. Stewart and overseen by Assistant Inspector General of Fortifications Colonel W.F.D Jervois, was completed in 1880

Spitbank, which can be brought individually or alongside the other two forts, currently offers nine bedroom suites a Victory bar, hot pool, sauna and a roof deck which is ideal for those who wish to sunbathe.

The man-made fort, which can be accessed via a boat from the mainland, was built as a line of defence against enemy attacks on the Solent and Portsmouth.

The remote fort, which offers a circular floor plan and is 33,000 square foot over three floors, offers stunning panoramic views of passing yachts and the glistening sea across the Solent.   

A courtyard in the central area of the fort also features two decommissioned missiles from the 1970s.

Meanwhile No Man’s, which sits about two miles away from the coast, includes the largest property of the three forts and covers 99,000 square foot.

The island property, which can accommodate for 20 people and three helicopter pads, comes with 23 bedrooms, restaurants, themed bars, hot tubs and a sundeck. 

While Spitbank and No Man’s have been renovated, the derelict Horse Sand fort has remained untouched and remains a ‘blank canvas’, according to Mr Clare. 

The £750,000 fort, which was designed by Captain E. H. Stewart and overseen by Assistant Inspector General of Fortifications Colonel W.F.D Jervois, was completed in 1880 and is one of the larger Royal Commission sea forts in the Solent. 

No Man’s can accommodate for 20 people and three helicopter pads and comes with 23 bedrooms, restaurants, themed bars, hot tubs and a sundeck

The forts were commissioned by the former Prime Minister Lord Palmerston during the 1850s under the recommendation of the Royal Commission of the Defence of the United Kingdom

The spectacular private islands, Spitbank, No Man’s and Horse Sand,  sit between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight

The fort, which also appeared on the BBC’s Antiques Road Trip in 2015, was purchased by Solent Forts in an abandoned state having been unoccupied for decades.    

Spanning 99,000 square foot, the fort, is one of four built as part of the Palmerton Fort constructions and comes with two floors and a basement.

Speaking about the abandoned fort, Mr Clare said: ‘It was completely as it was in the Second World War. There are no generators, no wiring and no piping. But still it’s a hugely solid granite structure that can be converted into flats.’

He continued that the wealthy investor would hopefully be able to take inspiration from Spitbank and No Man’s, adding: ‘It just needs a few millions spent to do it up.’   

The three forts, which are all scheduled monuments protected by English Heritage, are currently on sale with the estate agency Strutt & Parker and have already garnered interest from hoteliers and international private investors.            

They were commissioned by the former Prime Minister Lord Palmerston during the 1850s under the recommendation of the Royal Commission of the Defence of the United Kingdom after concerns were raised abut the strength of the French navy.

The defences, known as Palmerston’s Follies, were intended to protect Portsmouth from a land-based attack and cost more than a million pounds when they were initially built.

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