The narrow approaches through the western Solent have been guarded by lights since 1786. The Low Light of the 1860s and the metal light of 1911 survive and are displayed at the rear wall of the castle's west wing.
Situated at the end of a 2.4km shingle spit that extends into the western Solent from Milford-On-Sea, Hurst Point is the closest part of the mainland to the Isle of Wight. Accessible only by boat or on foot, it is the location of Hurst Castle, one of Henry VIII's chain of coastal defences, completed in 1544. The castle was used as a prison for eminent 17th century captives, and was later strengthened during the 19th and 20th centuries.