Review: New Forest
New Forest, United Kingdom
Magical New Forest
51 people found this review helpful
As many will know, the New Forest in Hampshire is a wonderful place to spend some time in the summer. I recently was lucky enough to win a dinner, B&B at the Woodlands Lodge Hotel, a picturesque part of the Forest with great views from the rooms.
However, the date of our stay was November 20th, and although the hotel looked great from the literature, the weather was very wet at this time and I didn't think the Forest would be very inviting. How wrong I was!
We arrived at Woodlands in the afternoon and was allocated Room No. 1 which was on the top floor with a fabulous view over the forest. It was warm, comfortable and spacious with a free standing bath as well as a shower. The hotel is ideally placed to explore the forest and can be accessed from the gardens. Spoilt for choice, you can simply enjoy the charm and comfort of the hotel, or visit one of the many local museums and gardens.
Pet owners will be overjoyed by Woodlands facilities, as they can take their dogs or cats along to stay with them. A 'pets welcome' policy is operated in three of their bedrooms. (Dogs must be on lead when taken to bedrooms). A paddock is available for dogs to exercise. There are local maps available for the many paths leading all over the Forest.
Meals are served in the Wedgwood Dining room and Garden Room and any guests with dogs can be served the full restaurant menu in the bar. With an AA Rosette, the food is very good and the Head Chef is John Oyaro who was inspired by South African chef, Bill Gallagher whom he met as a young boy while at the Hilton in Nairobi. As well as delicious, seasonal menus and bar menus, you can enjoy scrumptious Cream Teas and cakes (home-made scones with cream and jam, served with cucumber sandwiches and a pot of tea).
I was particularly impressed by the breakfast presentation. If you don't want a full English, you have the choice of a Continental style buffet, American styled pancakes with maple syrup/chocolate sauce, or fish dishes.
The New Forest has an authentic rural life with a fascinating history. It is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy walking, cycling, fishing, horse riding and water-sports. It has a unique landscape where ponies and cattle graze and pigs roam free. Although the animals appear to be wild, they are owned by people called 'commoners' who have historic rights to graze them there. Currently there are about 500 commoners turning out animals out onto the Forest. Each commoner has his own individual brand for identification by the agisters (employees of the Verderers of the New Forest). William the Conqueror set aside the Forest for hunting more than 900 years ago. The Forest was made a National Park in 2005. It is a mixture of ancient woodland, boggy mires, heather-covered heaths, farmland, rivers and streams, unspoilt coastline and picturesque villages.
You can enjoy a right royal welcome in the delightful town of Lyndhurst, where, since William the Conqueror, it was known as the capital of the New Forest. Throughout the centuries it has been visited by Kings and Queens staying at the Royal Manor.
On our way to Woodlands, we stopped off at the New Forest Museum in Lyndhurst which is worth a visit as it gives you a unique guide into the forest's history and heritage. Nearby, you can also find the pre-Raphaelite church of St Michael and All Angels, where former Lyndhurst resident, Alice Liddell's grave can be found. She was the inspiration of Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland.' There is a wonderful charm to be found in Lyndhurst with it's cosy tea rooms, old world pubs, cafes, retaurants and interesting range of shops.
When our stay at Woodlands came to an end, we drove deeper into the Forest while the rain poured down. It turned out to be purely magical, like a winter wonderland. The floor of the Forest was covered in golden leaves, shimmering from the rain drops, providing some wonderful photographs; picking up colours, which wasn't noticeable by the eye alone. In places, trees appeared to be growing from small lakes, where so much water had built up.
There's something for everyone in the New Forest, try it and you will surely be inspired!
51 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.