Firstly, the restoration of the iconic landmark: The Chapel at Royal Victoria Country Park. This historically significant building is all that remains of the British Army’s first purpose built military hospital, a personal project for Queen Victoria who laid its foundation stone. It stretched for a quarter of a mile along the shoreline and served the British military for over a century before falling into decline after the Second World War and being demolished following a major fire in 1963.
Our heritage team worked on restoring the original Victorian interiors of the Chapel, including the newly painted ceiling and conserved hand-painted stained windows, the creation of a new exhibition, visitor facilities and outdoor information points. You can now see these features for yourself, with improvements to visitor access, thanks to a new staircase and accessible lift. For the first time in many years, members of the public can now take in the spectacular views of the Solent from the chapel balcony too.
Secondly, The Lookout at Lepe Country Park. Built in 1973, the visitor centre which included a café, retail area, kiosk and visitor information point was in need of modernisation!
Located within the New Forest National Park with easy public access to the coastland Lepe Country Park has panoramic views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. The new building, The Lookout, has been designed to take advantage of and be sympathetic to the sites distinctive character and is constructed using robust, sustainable and, where possible, locally sourced building materials.
As well as a restaurant and staff offices, The Lookout is a beachside facility and includes a changing place facility and toilet block. For easy access there is a shallow gradient timber boardwalk to the beach and lower car park.
Elevating The Lookout by two metres takes into account future sea levels and tidal surges, and with glazing to the south, west and east, visitors can enjoy views up to the pines wind-sculpted canopies to the rear of the building and the surrounding coastline.
For further information visit our Hampshire's Countryside page.