Are you a forest or beach kinda person? Rob and I were chatting about this back and forth before we decided on our impromptu getaway to The New Forest. It was a great compromise. With the weather forecast being not your typical U.K weather (Hot and Sunny), we quickly put together our itinerary for the next few days. In this new series of travel blogs i hope to share some itineraries. From experience, we’re the type of couple that can’t really work things out last minute. I like a plan. I have anxiety in every sense, and Rob gets stressed when we can’t find a good place to visit means that we often end up spending hours driving around finding places instead of actually enjoying the holiday!
Day 1 in The New Forest
We left around 10.30, headed for petrol and stuck on a playlist of summery vibes. It took about 2.5 hours to get to The New Forest which was fine because we’d driven straight to our lunch destination of choice, the rather luxurious Chewton Glen. We were dressed rather casually so instead of heading into the main house we took a slow walk through the forest grounds to their casual dining restaurant The Kitchen.
Hidden at the bottom of the property, this restaurant offered light bites, to hearty meals all prepared with ingredients from their onsite kitchen garden. Salad and burger consumed, we were given the choice of a buggy cart back to the main house where we’d parked or a stroll back. We opted for the latter as the walk was just so wonderful.
We hopped in the car and drove for ten minutes to the Highcliffe Beach hilltop car park, which was around £1 for an hour. A great little spot for an ice cream and a wander down to the beach. If you wanted more of a walk, you could actually take Chewton Glen’s beach walk from the property down to Highcliffe beach.
Feeling a bit sunkissed, we drove for twenty minutes onto our Hotel at The Pig in Brockenhurst, just in time for check in.
I am never disappointed when i check in at The Pig, there are currently 5 of them, this New Forest one being the first. Everything is so relaxed and not too stuffy. The staff are kind and helpful and offer ideas for activities and things to do outside of the hotel regularly, which is refreshing really. We checked into our Forest Cabin room which was secluded at the bottom of their grounds and has its own separate gate entrance. Such a magical, peaceful room with a dreamy bath and a wood burner. Extremely romantic.
As the sun was setting, we went up to the lawn of the hotel and had drinks outside on the patio before having an incredible dinner in the hotel restaurant. This is my favourite Pig to have dinner in, i think the layout of the tables really gives you a good amount of space between each diner and it never feels too chaotic and loud. Best time to dine would be slightly earlier, around 6.45-7.45 is perfect in summertime, as it gets a bit dark. I do like to see my food 🙂
We stumbled back very full, put on a dvd and fell asleep half way through. I always forget how important having a good mattress and comfy crisp sheets is…
Day 2 in The New Forest
I awoke quite late. Well late for the Hotel breakfast, which is served from 7am – 10am. I know hotels want you to buy breakfast, lunch and dinner with them, but why is breakfast never rolled past 10am? It should be 11 at least. Still, can’t complain too much when i remembered how good having breakfast at The Pig is. The continental breakfast of homemade granolas, cakes (hello – cake for breakfast is fine here), homemade compote and jams, local cheeses. They are also quick on catering to allergies which is perfect for me.
We took a walk around their kitchen garden, which is just a thing of beauty. If you want to ask any questions about the garden, the morning is the time to go as the gardeners are pottering around doing their awesome thing. I’m sure they get asked ‘how do you keep it so amazing?’ on a daily basis.
We took a short 20 min walk/ 5 min cycle from the hotel to Balmer Lawn to see the horses, it was a lovely spot to just sit and write or read a book. Great for a picnic also, another idea we definitely wanted to do next time.
After a slow walk back we got in the car and drove to Lyndhurst, the village here is steeped in history and full of wonderful tea rooms, tiny shops and The New Forest Centre which is a free museum and gallery. After an hour or so of browsing we headed over to have drinks and lunch at Limewood (The Pig’s bigger sister hotel), just 6 mins away.
Driving up this property is a delight in itself, breathtaking… expensive. We had lunch at Hartnett Holder & Co, a relaxing stylish Italian restaurant from chef Angela Hartnett and Lime Wood’s Luke Holder. Allergies were catered for very well, and the food was delicious, this was our most expensive meal of the trip but we both agreed it was worth it for the friendly, amazing service and delicious food. Their set menu was reasonably priced and would absolutely recommend taking advantage of this at lunch time.
Limewood has a variety of activities, plentiful cycling routes, forest ramble walks, and one of the best spa’s in the UK, Herb House. It’s easy to see why people spend the money and choose this hotel as a base here in The New Forest.
We headed back to our hotel, Rob went to spend a few hours more in the UK sun and i had a relaxing bath. We dined at The Pig once more in the evening, as the menu is dependent on local produce and season, this changed slightly overnight so we were able to try even more options. The Maughlan Flock Farm Cured Pork Bacon with broad beans, leaves and mint dressing was standout for me.
Day 3 – Checkout day
We checked out swiftly after another tasty breakfast and made the 2.5 hour trip back, mostly discussing when we were going to go back and where else to explore. That’s normally a good sign after a trip away!
Activities/ Places of Interest
If you’re thinking of visiting The New Forest soon and have a few questions, feel free to message me on Instagram or Twitter. Happy to chat restaurants and travel recommendations any day. If you’ve been to the New Forest and have any suggestions i’d love to hear them too!