Busy? And got to organise an impressive celebration, that has clearly taken a lot of thought and effort. We can help organise that memorable birthday party.
Here are our tried and tested ideas for busy organisers:
Rhinefield House Hotel – Visit for High Tea
This grand ‘manorial’ house is quite a place. It’s surrounded by thick forest, some of the largest Redwood and fir trees in the south of England, excellent walking and cycling trails. Having been a hunting lodge, school and private house, it is now a sizeable hotel. The oldest part of the property is the back of the central fireplace, the rest of that building was removed in the 17th century for the ‘new building’ to be created. The gardens are Italianate, the interior of the main dining rooms haven’t changed much since they were built in the 17/18th century – and it feels like a luxury 18th century hunting lodge (plenty of wooden carving, an extraordinary Moorish dining room) with newer modern touches.
The High Tea itself is all made on site, using mostly local ingredients and delivered with some of the most professional customer service we’ve experienced in a long time. The menu felt like a lunch really, but delivered in the style of high tea, with an emphasis on the sweeter things. Champagne and drinks can be purchased by the glass or bottle. They allocate 2.5 hours to each sitting so there is no hurry – quite a relief really – because you’ll be busy digesting!
Children are welcome and only cost £10 each – proper value.
The team are delivering well against their sustainability goals with solid work on supporting local suppliers (25 miles), reducing waste, and responsible consumption. There is always more to do – (I was fantasising about the walled garden growing food for guests onsite) but it’s a good start.
Do walk in the gardens afterwards and take a walk in the nearby Ornamental Drive. The plantsmen who had the vision – 300 years ahead – to present times – stayed at the lodge as they planted what has become Rhinefield Ornamental Drive – and it shouldn’t be missed. The trees are spectacular in their full maturity.
Montys in Beaulieu for a smart lunch and hire a vintage car and tour the forest after?
The smart old inn has a reputation for doing things ‘just the right way’, and once you get past the door team (donkeys love sleeping there in the shade) eveyrthing is ‘just so’. Expect great local food – they have their own kitchen garden onsite, and menu’s are considered with good options for those with dietary requirements and children.
Beaulieu is a pleasant spot for time-wasting. A few little shops, a fantastic garden centre (and learning garden opposite, which is a real treat), and ponies and donkeys meandering along in between. It’s bucolic, mildly chaotic at times with cars and ponies, and all very slow.
If you’re not heading to the Palace and Motor Museum, you have two choices.
- 1. Walk to Bucklers Hard
Head off for a walk, beside the Beaulieu River, to Bucklers Hard. It is one of the only private rivers in England, and certainly one of the prettiest. tiny village of Bucklers Hard. You’ll have the best view of some of the countries nicest houses and yachts. The tiny hamlet of Bucklers Hard was, in the 18th century, a shipbuilding village. Trees from the forest were milled here, which is why there are so many pollarded old oaks across the forest (or none in the south – all gone into warships).
You can catch a boat here to tour the river, and there is a wonderful small Naval history museum. Naval ships were built here, including for Nelson’s Navy. Now there are wide grassy spaces framed by pretty brick cottages, the maritime museum at the top of the hill and the river, filled with boats at the bottom. The walk will take you an hour and twenty (slow walk) both ways.
2. Hire a vintage car and tour the forest.
In Beaulieu you’ll find New Forest Vintage Cars. They have 5 cars for hire, including the world-famous Shelby Cobra 427, (now with an estimated value of $1.5 million USD). Other beauties include a Jaguar E-Type Series 1 2+2 Coupe and an Austin Healey 3000 MK III Convertible. Ladies, don’t forget to pack a headscarf!
Weekend hire is circa £600, but hire starts at £200.
Book into The Pig Hotel and Restaurant in Brockenhurst for a spoily lunch.
The Pig is multi-award winning and just as lovely as everyone says it is. We love it there and go often. You will need to book early.
If you’re staying at Heather Cottage, it’s just a 10 minute walk away through the trees.
The best bit is that they’re great with kids and the walled gardens are fantastic for impromptu games of catch and hide, as well as being flat, gravelled and quiet for gentle walks for less mobile adults or toddling children.
We often suggest that people who can walk through the forest to get there take the day and set off, whilst the less mobile or less willing drive over and meet the hikers. There are some good short walks near The Pig anyway and you can park in their car park and walk from there. (Ditto Limewood to be honest).
For those coming from Lymington, you can even catch the train to Brockenhurst and walk to the Hotel from the train station. It’s just down the road which can be a little busy, so it’s not ideal for families with small kids. It’s worth the trip tho’ and once you’re there you won’t be disappointed.
Approx £10 per head for coffee and cake and from £10 – £70 per head for meals. £15 – £20 for breakfast.
If you’re staying at any of our houses…. then do a posh picnic, champagne and nibbles on the beach.
There are various quiet beaches around our houses and we’ll talk you through the best one for your purposes.
Some have fantastic climbing trees, others have wooden groynes on them perfect for balancing games for grandchildren, others have mud for tracking animals that live on the beach and yet more have sand castling sand or get cut off by the tide for ‘total escape’ days.
Tanners Lane is our favourite and nearest Eat me Drink me Cottage and Ploughmans Cottage. You can also park there. Or near The Old Post Office, there are lovely beaches toward the west that get sandier with Avon beach being particularly lovely.
We love to get a takeaway curry or fish and chips and head down to our local beach. It’s fun to take champagne in tin mugs and walk the quiet coast and explore gnarly trees and play pooh-sticks on the footpath bridge. Dogs can go off the lead here through the year and the birdlife is always busy here too.
Grey Sparrow in Lymington do fabulous picnic boxes. There is a superb chocolaterie in Beaulieu. Solent Cellar will deliver champagne to your house. All give our clients a discount.
Head to Hurst Castle
It’s an English Heritage site and really very special. The team who run the castle also run the boat to get out there (or walk it’s 2 miles). Handily they run the lovely cafe there too. For celebrations you could ask them to do a special meal in the Castle Keep? Or on it’s roof? They hold weddings there from time to time and are well set up for food on what’s a fairly inaccessible and wild place.
Read our blog about Hurst here.
And here are some views for you.