Boy was I excited to spend the weekend away recently! I have been BUSY lately so a relaxing weekend was definitely in order. Since all of our annual leave has been used up for our Australia trip later in the year we couldn’t venture too far from home! With that in mind Craig and I headed off to the New Forest for a weekend of nature, good food and relaxation. We were pretty unlucky with the weather, it rained all weekend – but in true British spirit we weren’t going to let that ruin things for us!
On day 1 we didn’t arrive until fairly late in the evening, and we were pretty tired and hungry after battling the Friday afternoon traffic! We were staying in a little village called Everton which is just outside of the New Forest. The Airbnb we were staying in was lovely, the perfect little hideaway for two people! We had planned on just eating at the local pub but by the time we got down there they had stopped serving food, so instead we headed into Lymington and came across The Ship Inn for some dinner. We stumbled across a gem here – there was a buzzing atmosphere, live music and the food and cocktails were delicious – we both had the pork belly with scallops!
The following morning was kicked off with some breakfast at Rosie Lea’s in Brockenhurst – which is a lovely, quaint little tea room on the high street. Their cakes looked absolutely delicious, but as tempting as it was to have cake for breakfast we settled for breakfast sandwiches instead! After breakfast we spent some time wandering around the village. The New Forest is home to wild ponies, donkeys and cows, and in Brockenhurst they are allowed to roam free throughout the village which was really interesting. Seeing a donkey meander down the high street is something you don’t see anywhere else in the UK, and I’ve pretty much fallen in love with donkeys now!
For the afternoon’s activities we headed out into the forest for some walking. There are endless trails to choose from, but we followed one from the Shatterford car park which is near Beaulieu Road Station. This particular route took us on a loop through some wetland, woodland and then back to the car. It was really lovely to just be surrounded by nature, and since it was raining there were very few other people about which meant a lot of peace and quiet! We saw more wild ponies and some cows (I’m unsure if these were wild or not as they all seemed to be tagged).. apparently there are also wild pigs in that area but we didn’t see any of those! A walk or a bike ride in the forest is an absolute must do if you visit the New Forest, it really is a beautiful place. On our way home we stopped off in Lyndhurst which is one of the larger villages in the area, it has a lovely high street with lots of little independent shops filled with trinkets and pretty things – I could have spent a fortune but I managed to restrain myself and only pick up a few bits.
Our evening consisted of a slap up meal at the gorgeous Burley Manor. This isn’t a restaurant I would recommend if you are on a budget, it’s a little bit on the pricey side but we decided to treat ourselves and it was worth every penny in my opinion! Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe our meal, the duck I had for my main was particularly yummy! I also got to try my first ever souffle for dessert and now I want to eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Having dinner in a manor house with such beautiful surroundings was something a bit different for us, and it really was an excellent evening filled with good food, drinks and laughter!
For our third and final day we headed off to Beaulieu, the home of the National Motor Museum and Beaulieu Palace House. It was raining even harder than the Saturday so we were quite glad to be indoors! The motor museum wasn’t really my thing but it kept Craig amused for a few hours, and it is a must see for any petrol heads out there. The array of different vehicles they have on display is quite impressive, and they also have Top Gear World where they showcase some of the old vehicles they’ve used on the show. Later in the day we headed over to Beaulieu Palace House which was much more up my street! Over the last few years I’ve really come to appreciate the detail in these old buildings, and although this wasn’t the biggest or most impressive house I’ve visited it had some really interesting features and was full of lots of art and paintings.
Before heading home we stopped off at Steff’s Kitchen and indulged in their afternoon tea platter (this weekend involved a lot of indulging!). The sandwiches and scones were lovely and just what we needed after a day of sightseeing. We were pretty stuffed by the time we got to the cake though!
That concluded our little weekend away! The New Forest is such a beautiful part of the UK, I would highly recommend a visit to anyone who loves walking, nature, animals and good food. I think my highlights were the meal at Burley Manor and seeing the wild donkeys in Brockenhurst. There are still plenty of things we didn’t manage to do on our short trip, so I’ll definitely try my best to go back and explore the area a bit more at some point in the future!
Have you visited this part of the UK? Let me know yours thoughts in the comments.