Daisybank Cottage Boutique Bed & Breakfast, New Forest
Drive out of picturesque Brockenhurst
and if it wasn’t for the sign beside the Sway Road, you probably wouldn’t give
Daisybank Cottage a second look. Set
back in a large garden behind a gated drive, it’s a quirky Arts & Crafts
cottage from the turn of the 20th century, but nothing immediately out
of the ordinary.
Yet behind the whitewashed
exterior lies a delightful B&B offering 7 surprisingly spacious en-suite
rooms, all on the ground floor, and – in a quiet corner of the garden, a new Shepherd’s
Hut with private facilities and terrace. Far from providing a home-from-home, Daisybank Cottage could even be
better than home.
Daisybank Cottage is home to
Cheryl and Cieran from Dublin who opened their doors to guests in 2010. Since then, they have won several awards and
featured in many respected guidebooks such as Alastair Sawday’s Special Places
to Stay, Lonely Planet England, and The Michelin Guide. And it doesn’t take long to see why.
Arriving before the other
overnight guests, I’m given a quick tour of the bedrooms before settling into
the Garden Suite with its huge bay window, luxurious bed, and vast bathroom
with free-standing bath and walk-in shower. Classic FM is playing quietly from the Roberts radio on a bedside table. Beside it, a cute teddy bear is a handy
indicator for those who want privacy – simply pop him outside the door and
nobody will come in during your stay.
I like the eco-friendly
cotton bag hanging on the back of the door, a thoughtful gift bearing the
Daisybank Cottage logo, and the welcome tray that includes a chocolate snack
from Beaulieu Chocolate Studio. Just the
thing after my energetic afternoon walking through the trees, heaths, and wetland
of the New Forest. My fridge contains
fresh milk and complimentary bottled local water, and if I fancy a snack or
alcohol tipple, there’s an honesty bar in the kitchen.
The property was built in
1901 and designed by Charles Brightiff, a student of Charles Rennie
Mackintosh. An identical cottage next
door was sadly bombed during World War II. Cheryl and Ciaran bought Daisybank 25 years ago and raised their
children here before entering the hospitality business. Over the years they have met with the
families of several previous owners and the information folder in each room
tells the full fascinating story.
The folder is one of many homely touches that lift Daisybank out of the ordinary.
I also love their commitment
to supporting local businesses and producers. They have commissioned art from local artists as well as a whole
range of accessories from key rings and trays to cushions and teddies. The plates and mugs come
from a potter in Milford on Sea and the door handles and coat hangers from
Everything echoes the ethos
and atmosphere of the unique landscape of the New Forest. And everything comes with a story. Four years ago, the National Park granted
them planning permission to rebuild the old corrugated Gardener’s Cottage in
the back garden. Now it has been
sympathetically reincarnated to form The Lodge. Similarly, they bought a shepherd’s hut five years ago and a privy (shower
room), landscaping the area around them in 2017 and opening the hut as a unique
guest room in April this year.
Visitors to Brockenhurst are
spoilt with the choice of hotels, restaurants and pubs in which to eat dinner,
but I’d advise saving room for the New Forest Breakfast served overlooking the Daisybank
garden. A modest breakfast eater, I go
for local smoked salmon and toast, but there’s a choice of cooked free range
breakfast fare, as well as award-winning jams, made in the Forest or
course. Simply leave your menu choice in
the flowerpot outside your door before retiring.
I’m only staying one night
and find myself wishing I had time to stop longer. But sometimes it’s good to leave wanting more
– hopefully I’ll be back before long.
An overnight stay costs from
£110 per room with two sharing, including full New Forest breakfast.
For more information call
01590 622 086 or visit www.bedandbreakfast-newforest.co.uk