Driving to the forest? The best spots for a great lunch.

Want some lunch ideas on your way to and fro from the forest? We’ve done some homework for you and even organised some lovely freebies for you too.

Here’s our list:

Pyt House Walled Garden. North Dorset.

About 15 mins off the A303 south from Gillingham, thru Tisbury, then continue your drive through rural Dorset to the north west of the forest border – Lymington is about 1hr 15 from here.


Wow all round, PYT is amazing. Food, local ingredients, service, style, a broad swipe of rustic magic and smiles on the face of all the staff make it a convivial place for a lazy lunch. We had sardines on toast as a main, slow roast pork belly with a lip-smacking celeriac and apple and god-knows-what salad which was to die for. Followed by lemon verbena posset and a gooseberry tart that caused an argument about sharing. Kids are welcome. The garden is worth a poke around too.  Conde Nast rate it as a ‘must visit’ in August 2018 issue for South Wiltshire. We agree. It’s so lovely here, it’d be well worth making a detour to eat here.

Furniture and vintage junkies must also pop to Dairy House Antiques, and their neighbours Kingsettle Antiques in Semley, about 3 mins from PYT.

Driving from here to the Lymington would take you 1.5 hours. The route is a delightful tour of English villages; Shaftesbury is nearby, then over the downs and trendy Tollard Royal (film maker Guy Ritchie’s local “boozer”), then on through broad arable fields to the edge of the National Park which you enter via Ringwood to Burley.

Visit the PYT website here. 


The Rockingham Arms, Cadnam.

About 1.5 hours from south London and the normal step-off from big roads into the New Forest. 

The pub is owned by long-time entrepreneur Liz who has a string of pubs and hotels behind her, all successful, all in the New Forest, and all much loved. Her local followers are loyal which is not suprising. The service is good, food is local and fresh, style is absolutely bang on and the team think of everything; dogs are welcome, children enjoyed, and there is even a well stocked gift shop in case you’ve forgotten a birthday present.

Driving from here toward Lymington is via the two pretty and busy villages of Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst. If you’re going to Beaulieu then turn off in Lyndhurst and go for a very pretty drive though some lovely bits of the old forest.

Visit the Rockinham Arms website here. 



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