In this fast-paced, technologically-bombarded era, we find ourselves switched on from dawn ‘til dusk. It’s becoming even more important to kick-back and unplug regularly to enjoy some clear headspace and remember what it’s like to share precious times with loved ones, connect with our natural world and simply switch off.
Add to this the known benefits of taking in the sea air, originally heralded by the Victorians for its health giving properties, and you can head for a coastal retreat that unplugs and recharges you batteries like no other break.
The health benefit claims range from improved quality of sleep – due to the sea air, which is charged with healthy negative ions that accelerate our ability to absorb oxygen; stress reduction and improved alertness and concentration – again from the negative ions that also balance levels of seratonin, a body chemical linked with mood and stress; improved creativity and happiness levels, as a result of better sleep; and reduced stress and improved relaxation.
What better place to do this than a little know sanctuary, nestled on the South Coast called Milford On Sea, a small village just south of the New Forest and quietly hidden between the better known landmarks of Lymington and Christchurch.
The immediate area offers a wealth of natural beauty, stunning walks and views over the Isle of White and its iconic Needles, a wildlife sanctuary, and one of the oldest fortresses in Great Britain built by Henry VIII.
So, if it’s long beach and cliff walks, glorious sunsets, great food and the great outdoors, this place needs to be on your bucket list.
The Marine offer a wonderful bed-and-breakfast venue housed in a unique art deco-styled property with dramatic uninterrupted views to The Needles, Christchurch Bay and Sturt Pond Nature Reserve. Its personality shines out in a world increasingly taken over by chains of hotels that symbolise uniformity and blandness.
It’s not one of those pimped and primed places; it’s got a lot more realness to it and whilst offering all the facilities that you could wish for on a break, this really is about getting out and about and staying somewhere unique and wistful.
As you arrive along the coast road, it really does feel as if you are driving off the end of the mainland, as it sits proudly apart as the very last building before Hurst Spit, a 2.5km pebble spit built to protect the rare marshlands and coastal wildlife.
The building, inspired by the original 1930s café that occupied the spot, stands majestically, gleaming white in its own uncluttered space surrounded by the most breath-taking panorama. As soon as you arrive, it does feel a little like you have left the rat race behind, as you start to soak up the raw beauty of its natural surroundings.
The Marine, owned and managed by Richard Thompson, offers three very distinctive executive rooms, The Needles, Christchurch Bay, Dolphin Bank that are available on a bed-and-breakfast basis, each with wonderful views over Christchurch Bay.
As a guest, you are instantly made to feel welcome by the team who run The Marine, which also offers guests and visitors a beach-inspired café, a fine dining restaurant and a stunning roof terrace bar. The Marine is also perfect for an exclusive hire for weddings or special events.
I was lucky enough to spend two days at The Marine enjoying wonderful weather and great days out to the Isle of White and beachcombing on Hurst Spit. And whilst there is Wi-Fi available, I found myself not wanting to tune back in to my other life (just for a few days). And whilst we had clear skies, there is something incredibly beautiful about storm-watching and watching the ships navigate the waters of the Solent.
For me, the most magical moments of the stay were being woken by the sound of seagulls in the mornings and in the evenings sitting on the balcony after supper looking out to sea with a beautiful moon shining down on the water – a view that was truly priceless, with nothing to distract me but the sound of the waves breaking. I was totally unplugged and tuned in.
I left The Marine feeling refreshed, relaxed and recharged, and as I reconnected with my normal, faster-paced life, I made my simple promise to unplug more regularly and take time to do some simple things.