THEY are the historic forts which were built to help protect the Solent from a French invasion – and now you can own them.

The three Solent forts have been put up for sale by entrepreneur Mike Clare, founder of the bed company Dreams.

Two of the forts for sale, No Man’s Fort and Spitbank Fort, have been redeveloped into exclusive hotels.

The third, Horse Sand Fort, is currently used to record the history of the follies and retains the 100 chambers and living quarters, original gun carriages and armour plated walls.

But you will need deep pockets if you want to own them.

The two hotels are being sold through global real estate advisor Colliers and the freehold estimate for them combined is more than £8m.

Horse Sand Fort is being sold by auction through Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers with bids starting at £750,000.

Paul Barrasford, Director in Colliers International’s Hotels Agency team, said: “This is an incredible opportunity to acquire two of the most remarkable properties to come to the market in recent years.”

Rob Marchant, auctioneer at Clive Emson, said: “We sold one of these forts to Mike Clare’s company ten years ago.

“That was Spitbank Fort which has been completely renovated. We are now offering Horse Sand Fort that has huge potential.

“We sell some incredible land and properties at our actions but these forts must be among the most historically interesting. They were built by the Victorians to last and they certainly have – and are a reminder of the threats the country was facing more than 150 years ago.

“There are endless possibilities for these forts and buyers do let their imaginations run wild.”

The three forts were built in 1860s on the order of then Prime Minister Lord Palmerston when the country feared invasion by the French.

By the time they had been completed the Gallic threat had gone and they became known as Palmerston’s Follies.

Each of the ‘Solent Forts’ has 15ft granite walls.

No Man’s Fort has been transformed to create a 4-star island hotel, with a maximum capacity of 200.

Spitbank Fort is even more luxurious with nine classy guest suites plus staff accommodation, events spaces including a restaurant, two bars and a ‘wine cave’.

Totalling some 33,000 square feet over three floors, it has a maximum capacity of 60 and features an open central courtyard, plus roof top terrace including a sauna.

Mike Clare acquired the properties around ten years ago.