Here is our guide to all the best bits of the area and all our favourite providers. If you have any questions, just ask us.
Do visit our blog for our Insider Guides to the New Forest areas, interviews with the locals, our reviews on activities, what to do with the kids etc.
Foodie places for special meals… To read our full guide, click here: The Foodie New Forest
If you’re organising a get together, then you’ll probably want help choosing a foodie destination. Here’s our list (from most expensive to least).
Hartnett Holder & Co Restaurant at Limewood Hotel, Lyndhurst | 02380 287 177 | www.limewoodhotel.co.uk/food/hh-and-co
Smart, chi chi and styled. The food is broadly Italian themed. They often do lunchtime discounts too – ask them. Also, as part of Limewood Hotel, it has a fabulous award winning spa to relax and unwind.
The Pig Hotel, Brockenhurst | 01590 622 354 | www.thepighotel.com.
Great spot. Smart and beautiful, but low key with great service. You will need to book well in advance for meals but it is well worth it. They offer a 25 mile menu made with all local produce in gorgeous surroundings. Call in for tea and cake, they usually have space.
The Kitchen at Chewton Glen, near Lyndhurst I 01425 275341 I www.chewtonglen.com
Spoily throughout, celebs love it here. Book early.
The Haven, Yachthaven Marina, Lymington | 01590 642 176 | www.havenrestaurant.co.uk
The restaurant has amazing views and very good food. Cheaper and less formal the cafe and bar is one of our favourite family stops after a sea wall walk. Come rain or shine, this place is always busy and has a great vibe. Hot choc’s here are legendary for winter warmups. There is a (fairly) wind-free deck for summer Solent viewing.
East End Arms, East End, 3 miles east of Lymington in the National Park | 01590 626 223 | www.eastendarms.co.uk
Owned by John Ilsley (Dire Straits Bass guitarist). Yes it’s just a pub, but it delivers again and again for a good meal out for sensible money. It’s also, right next door to another one of our eclectic homes ‘Ploughmans Cottage’. Dogs are welcome outside.
Verveine, Milford on Sea. | 01590 642 176 | www.verveine.co.uk
An innovative, award-winning sea food restaurant, with in-house specialist fishmonger. It’s well loved by many locals and worth booking early.
The Mill at Gordleton, Hordle I www.themillatgordleton.co.uk
Beautifully renovated, classic English with a quirky vibe. The office team are going for our Christmas treat… Need we say more.
Other cafes that we love: The Larder in Lymington – great for veggie and specialist diets. The Marine in Keyhaven – does great coffee, great for a pit-stop after a long beach walk with dogs.
Steph’s Kitchen and Pallets Tea House in Beaulieu. Visit our Food Lovers Guide here.
Pubs that we love: The Turf Cutters in East Boldre – more dogs than people, The Kings Head or the Ship down by the old quay in Lymington – perfect for lunch whilst the kids go crabbing, the Angel and Blue Pig on Lymington High Street – great for meeting up with people after they all split up and you’re tearing your hair out about lunch. The Royal Oak in Bank – great for a cycling destination. The Gun in Keyhaven has been renovated in 2021 and has a following already. Visit our Pub Guide here.
Coffee and Drift – On the Lymington Cobbled Quay area. Dogs welcome, lots of gluten free. www.coffeeanddrift.co.uk
The Larder – Up on the Lymington High Street – nice outdoor eating area – dogs welcome – consistently delivers.
Hoxton Bakehouse – Reliably good coffee, no dogs, www.hoxtonbakehouse.com
House theming prep’ and help…
Vintage Tea Parties | 07855 951 825 | www.thevintageaffair.co.uk
• Julia Lancaster runs a vintage crockery hire and her pieces are sure to bring elegance and charm to your event and make a lasting impression on the day. You can hire the vintage cups, saucers, plates etc. She’ll deliver them to the house and pick them up afterwards.
Alice Gates | 07568 324 147
In her 20’s this young lady is very creative and uses colour beautifully. We always have happy guests when she’s cooked.
The Forest Foodie I www.theforestfoodie.com
Flora and Amy have been doing a great job for our guests in 2020. Picnics, home deliveries, at home catering… Well reviewed. Enjoy.
Sophie the Private Chef I Well used by our guests, including us personally, super positive and super lovely, super delicious. www.sophietheprivatechef.com
Michele | 07966 868 475 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Call Michele for help and you’ll get a busy chatty cook to spoil you. She also does ‘food ready to go when you arrive’. She is happy doing beach bbq’s, surprise romantic suppers or a lovely family dinner.
Simone (The Ministry of Food Hampshire) | 01725 519 403 | www.ministryoffoodhampshire.co.uk
A full professional catering service for larger events such as wedding parties or birthday gatherings.
Cristian (The Granary Kitchen) | 01590 645 722 | www.thegranarykitchen.co.uk
If you want a quieter and very knowledgeable chap, and want a ‘creative’ caterer (he doesn’t do normal very often but you can try) call Cristian. He loves to cook outside, i.e. smugglers suppers cooked in front of you on a fire. They are in Lymington and do bread making and other foodie courses.
Local food discounted & delivered
Remember to look for the The New Forest Marque for truly local and sustainable food.
We also love The New Forest Foodie who will drop in a VIP hamper for you. www.theforestfoodie.com
Supermarket Delivery (Ocado, Tesco etc)
You can also book a supermarket delivery (Ocado, Tesco etc) – if you do this, please ensure it is within the timescale of your arrival so you or your guests will be there to receive the groceries. (Sorry, no supermarket delivery possible for Pitts Deep, the lane is too narrow for the vans!).
Solent Cellar | 01590 645 722 | www.thesolentcellar.co.uk SAVE 10%*
They will help you choose over the phone if necessary and can deliver wine straight to the house you’ve rented through us. The company are specialist, independent wine merchants in Lymington. Owners Simon and Heather are always available for tastings and friendly advice. Simon has over ten years of experience in the wine trade and is recognised for his good taste. Heather trained as a chef at Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland and has since worked for Masterchef winner 2009 Mat Follas, also enjoying a brief time with Michel Roux Jnr at Le Gavroche. Their broad experience helps them offer a food and wine matching service.
*Solent Cellar has kindly offered our guests a 10% discount on wine. Tell them you’ve booked through New Forest Escapes and you’ll get the discount.
Freedom Childcare Centre | 0845 330 0403 | www.freedomchildcare.com
Based in Lymington. We have good feedback from clients using them and they are all fully vetted and qualified.
Lavinia | 07894 998 585
Lavinia, one of our cleaners, can help. She’s in her 30’s, Romanian, speaks fluent English, has a recent CRB check, and has been a professional nanny for 11 years.
Sitters | www.sitters.co.uk The nationwide service has a good team here also.
Presents for the kids
Toucan Box | www.toucanbox.com Get 25% off
ToucanBox offer a spectacular range of highly creative arts and craft boxes, delivered by post to your house. The boxes are bursting with all the materials your child needs to make, build and discover. From their award winning Toucan Box, to exclusive Limited Edition boxes, each unique project is built by a team of educational experts for endlessly fun learning adventures. These need to be ordered well in advance of your stay because they are bespoke to you.
*All New Forest Escapes guests can get 25% off all ToucanBox craft boxes on shop.toucanbox.com. Simply enter code ESCAPE25 at checkout to claim your discount.
Here are some ideas for really special treats…
If you visit the property page on our site you’ll find a short guide related to each property, sharing lovely, simple ways to enjoy yourself there. Bon res by the beach, special walks, catching boat taxis etc. or you can simply have a browse of our blog which is full of our local tips and tricks, current inspiration and our secret guest offers across the Forest. Keep an eye on our Facebook page because we always post about what’s on in the local area.
Story Teller Mike O’ Leary | 07733 326 500 | www.michaelolearystoryteller.com
Mike is a fabulous entertainer and a professional tale-teller. Book him well in advance. He’s performed for many of our groups over the last 5 years and often as repeat bookings. £150 for 4 hours.
In house spa treatments Blossom and Jasmine | 0845 269 5937 | www.blossomandjasmine.com
For in-house spa treatments we have teamed up with the fab company – Blossom and Jasmine – they will come to you. For example, a body polish and massage for 60 minutes is £75 and 90 minutes £90 ( full body scrub and full body massage).
Ideas for locations you could use for food.
Our caterers will be happy to help you work out options and prices.
Eccentric and expensive celebration ideas:
- Private dining at the Hurst Castle keep; eccentric, ancient, fortified. Even Charles I couldn’t break out of here.
- Or how about a spooky picnic at the abandoned lighthouse keepers cottage at Hurst Castle. Walk or boat out and back.
The secret gardens in our local estates which can be hired for a themed picnic. Exbury Gardens is very special. Ask us for interesting ideas where you can eat at your property. Our bigger houses have interesting grounds.
- Gins Barn – eat on the jetty or the river bank.
- Pitts Deep – eat on the beach or campfire under the pine trees.
Ideas for days out. To read our full guide, click here to visit our activities blogs
- As locals, we’ve done a great deal of research on what’s best locally. We’ve written it up and keep it updated, do visit our blog on activities here.
And a list of things for kids here.
Our guide to Free or nearly free things to do in the New Forest here.
- And our Kids download Guide here.
Lymington Sea Water Baths | 01590 678 882 | www.lymingtonseawaterbaths.org.uk
They have a 1150metre floating obstacle course on the country’s biggest lido. Perfect for all ages. There is a toddler splash, a shall area with mini floats for under 8’s and the big float park. Our guests get a free coffee or ice-cream for one parent going with children. Summer only. You can hire wetsuits if it’s cold but the site is pretty wind free and the water gets very warm. Read our blog on New Forest Waterparks here.
Puffin Cruises, Lymington Old Quay | 07850 947 618 | www.puffincruiseslymington.com 10% discount.
The little boat goes from the cobbled Quay and takes you off for half an hour toward the mouth of the river, through the marina, past big boats and small. They also do 1 hour picnic trips, a ferry service to the Island and evening sunset trips. Staying with us means you’ll get a 10% discount.
Longdown Activity Farm, Longdown (toward Southampton) | 023 8029 2837 | www.longdownfarm.co.uk
Only a 10 mins drive toward Southampton, they have a good selection of baby animals and feeding events throughout the day.
Paultons Theme Park and Peppa Pig World | 023 8081 4442 | www.paultonspark.co.uk
This is excellent (and fairly expensive, so go all day) activity for all ages. The park is extremely well run and staff and consistently jolly and smiling. The rides vary from those in Peppa Pig World designed for babies to 6’s and those in the main park which are for all ages. They have recently developed ‘Little Africa’ with a good selection of small animals, an open aviary and themed rides. All ages will love the Dinosaur area and rides with lifesize dinos amongst the areas. The pleasure gardens are also worth spending time in for some quiet. The Japanese garden is particularly beautiful. In summer it does get busy. If you’re going, don’t go to Peppa Pig world first. Instead go at lunchtime when there is usually fewer people around.
Read more about Peppa and surviving your day here.
Lymington Market is on Saturday mornings from 7am – 2pm ish on Lymington High Street.
Walk up the Beaulieu River. Park at the Agamemnon boatyard. Listen to the owls at dusk.
For a gentle and mainly flat riverside walk we suggest wandering for 1-2 hrs from Beaulieu to Bucklers Hard alongside the Beaulieu River in the nature reserve…..just beautiful. Park in the car park at Beaulieu (SO42 7YD), go out on to the high street, cross the road and you’ll find a sign showing the beginning of the walk. Or park at the Agamemnon boat yard at Bucklers Hard and walk upstream. If you come here at night, with head torches, it’s a great place to listen to owls and have an up close and personal experience with nature at night.
Beaulieu Palace and Gardens. | 01590 612 345 | www.beaulieu.co.uk
For a full day out and plenty of local history and fun, visit Beaulieu. There is lots to do and see including the National Motor Museum, Palace House, Gardens, Beaulieu Abbey, World of Top Gear and a ride on the Monorail. For music and events check www.beaulieu.co.uk.
Ideas for keeping active folk happy
- New Forest Activities | 01590 612 377 | www.newforestactivities.co.uk
A well known and respected company based in Beaulieu (of ce and bike hire) and Bucklers Hard (water based activities).*They give us a 10% discount off any activity for our guests. That’s £19.20 off a 2 hour kayak trip on the Beaulieu River for 6. Normally £192 but reduced to £172.80. (Normal price £32 per person, reduced to £28.80.)
- Cycle trips Cyclexperience | 01590 624 808 | www.cyclex.co.uk SAVE 10%*
Hire bikes at Brockenhurst from Cyclexperience. They have bikes for all sorts including masses of kiddy-trailers, seats, trikes etc. There are masses of off road cycle routes through the forest. Traffic free and most of it is flat and on gravel tracks.
Horse Riding in the New Forest.
Ford Farm | 07503 507 324 | fordfarmstables.yolasite.com • In Brockenhurst and has good reputation for novices.
Brockenhurst Riding Stables, Coombe Farm. Read more about riding and other places to go here.
- Bush craft with New Forest Navigation | 07873 575 997 | www.newforestnavigation.co.uk
Our guests get 15% off all courses which are great for kids looking to learn some bush craft skills. Nigel is our local navigation guru and he runs courses on map reading, compass use, night walking, backpacking and wild camping trips – learning to plan and go on your own adventures including equipment buying advice, training and expedition and wild camping training courses for one to one, couples or groups.
Blow the cobwebs away on the coast…
Walk the coastal paths in the area. For a wild walk head to Tanners Lane and walk into Lymington. Read our blog about Tanners here.
Or walk the full Solent Way – 82 miles – www.solentway.co.uk
Hurst Castle | 01590 642 344 | www.hurstcastle.co.uk
Walk the shingle spit and brave the wind to Hurst Castle, an ancient fort. Have coffee n cake in the tea rooms. Take the ferry or walk back. There are sandy beaches revealed at half way to low tide. And good crabbing from the little bridge where the spit connects to the mainland. This is detailed more in our Insiders Guide to Keyhaven blog.
And a blog about a full day trip and lovely hide and seek at Hurst Castle here.
And lovely Jason Crane who runs the castle, runs the boat trips, started up the cafe, and general workaholic here.
Wightlink Ferry | 0333 999 7333 | www.wightlink.co.uk | SO41 5TB
Ferry to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight on the Wightlink ferry from Lymington. Cook your own meat on the table at Saltys, or there’s a great new deli and cafés by the seafront. Get a take-away and walk out to the pier hut while watching the sailing boats.
Things to do for grown ups
Spa Days at Limewood | 02380 286 999 | hwww.limewoodhotel.co.uk/spa
The spa at Limewood is very spoily and chi-chi. Make sure you book. Or just go for drinks. Walking from here is very good too.
We have 15% off midweek (Mon to Friday) spa treatments for our guests at Pitts Deep and Gins Barn and thoroughly recommend that you take up the offer.
Exbury Gardens | 02380 891 203 | www.exbury.co.uk
Woodland walks and world famous displays of rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. After, head towards Exbury and walk on the coast track by the boat house that juts into the sea at Lepe. Read our blog on Exbury here.
Do a serious picnic with all extras and watch the sunset over the island. Good at Tanners Lane Beach. Read our picnic guide here.
For some serious peace and quiet get into the forest and get quiet. Read our blog on the lthe oldest and most recently ‘the latest’ health ideas here.
- Cycle trips Cyclexperience | 01590 624 808 | www.cyclex.co.uk SAVE 10%*