Lightship restaurant closes for business

By Connor Steel / Photograph by Steve Hawkins

GOSPORT restaurant Trinity’s at the Lighthouse officially ceased trading on October 16 following 28 years of business, saddening many loyal customers of the floating boathouse.

The news was confirmed in a social media announcement by owner Marie Payter late on Sunday evening.

After recently reopening following the Covid-19 pandemic, a decision has been taken to close the business while new management is sought in the near future. The company’s current owner, Ms Payter, is bidding farewell to the UK as she leaves to manage a restaurant in Lanzarote, confirming this via Facebook.

She said on Sunday: “And the story ends here. Our last trading day was yesterday (October 16) and the venue is now closed, waiting for the new management to take over. So many thanks to all of our amazing customers over the years It has been a pleasure serving you all. Time for our new adventure in the Canary Islands – but we’ll miss you so much.”

Before it was converted in 1992 into a restaurant and bar, the lightship served on many stations across the English coastline until the early 1990s before being made redundant. It ended a 40-year service following its creation just after WW2 by ‘Trinity House’ and some key features of the original vessel remain in place nearly 30 years later, gaining a reputation for being one of the best preserved lightship examples in the UK.

It has continued this reputation throughout the decades, offering a unique floating dining experience within his striking green historic exterior. With stunning views over Haslar and Portsmouth Marinas, Trinity’s has become one of the most popular restaurants according to TripAdvisor ratings; with many visitors posting five star reviews for its food and customer service in the community.

In 2019 the restaurant underwent a huge revamp of its interior and menu by adding breakfast & lunch options, which worked alongside the traditional seafood offerings inspired by the ship’s history. And it has proved to be a huge success in the borough as a pillar of the marina, with hours extended just before the pandemic due to increased business; only to be shut down on three different occasions as lockdown restrictions were implemented by Government.

But Covid-19 only brought more popularity for the restaurant as they embarked on community projects to those most in need during the pandemic.  The Trinity’s team delivered Easter lunches and roast dinners to key workers, alongside those struggling financially as a result of lockdowns. Portsmouth City Council’s night responders and their family also received meals as a thank you for their help over the pandemic, all provided by the restaurant whilst closed to the public.

It is not known whether a new owner has been found or is in the pipeline, but the restaurant will not reopen until this is settled. Readers are asked to look at the restaurant’s Facebook page for further updates over the next few months.