The band played, the flags waved, and the beef was served. It was all very British.

And with a setting to match, the perfect Sunday lunch for those who wish to go that little bit further than down to the local pub.

We were visiting No Man’s Fort in the Solent, and it was proving to be a sterling affair.

The Fort, one of Palmerston’s famous ‘Follies’ has just completed a multi-million-pound refurbishment to turn it into a wonderful hotel and restaurant destination.

And, while the adventurous can splash out – literally with the waves striking the exterior of the dramatic defensive installation – and book in for a night or two, those who wish to dip a toe in first can now book for a marvellous Sunday lunch experience.

The boat leaves from Portsmouth’s Gunwharf Quays on what is definitely a lunchtime treat with a difference.

The crossing takes just 30 minutes, calling as well at No Man’s smaller sister Spithead Fort, which is also now a luxury destination and part of the same Solent Forts group.

Daily Echo:

On arriving at No Man’s Fort, guests are immediately transported back to an age when Britain thought that once again we were to find ourselves at war with the French.

Following a report into the state of the nation’s defences in 1859, the then Prime Minister, Lord A thoroughly British lunch date IanMurray crosses the Solent to have Sunday lunch at the luxurious NoMan’s Fort Light entertainment in the middle of the Solent.

Palmerston, decided the threat to Portsmouth and the Naval dockyards from the forces of Napoleon III was very real, and so the four forts that now stand as rugged reminders were constructed.

No Man’s Fort was the giant of the group, three times larger than Spithead.

After the Second World War, when the forts were manned again as defensive rings around the Solent, the buildings passed into private hands.

Once allowed to fade – No Man’s was the bleak setting for episodes of Dr Who and the Sea Devils – now they are a statement in luxurious entertaining.

Today, guests at No Man’s Fort can even enjoy hot tubs and a sauna and sundeck on the platforms where once giant guns looked out to sea.

The lighthouse has been turned into a fabulous lookout tower, complete with bar area.

What were once downstairs gun turrets are now lovely guest rooms and suites as well as lounges, and there’s even a snooker and pool area.

Guests staying longer can enjoy Rib rides, kayaking and windsurfing and even, in the fascinating below decks area where the ammunition was once stored safely out of harm’s way, a LaZer adventure.

For those nipping over for Sunday lunch, we discovered, the party starts as soon as you arrive, with drinks served in the wonderful, glass-covered central lobby.

With a jazz band playing, we enjoyed a glass of sparkling bubbly and were able to wander off to explore the fort’s many attractions.

Lunch was served in the impressive dining room where, to the sound of Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory, a fabulous feast of British beef and all the trimmings was the main course.

Gorgeous grub it was, too.

No doubt when the time came for soldiers based on No Man’s Fort to go home for a spot of shore leave they welcomed the arrival of the boat from Portsmouth. The same probably can’t be said today for those lucky enough to visit this fascinating venue. We just wished the visit had been longer.

No Man’s Land Fort can be visited through