The last couple of years or so has been rather light on travel for me and Mr. Actually… Work has been hectic, life has gotten in the way, and we’ve been putting all our money into finishing up the flat (Still not done though… eep!) The last time we had a weekend away together was when we went to Rye for the weekend! Needless to say, a weekend away wasn’t really on the cards, until we both decided it was a necessity. We both wanted to get out of London for a few days and just chill out, so we decided a few days in the New Forest was just what the doctor ordered!
Staying cozy at The Thatched Cottage Hotel
I am a big fan of cozy B&Bs when it comes to travel; there’s something so much nicer about that small-scale personal experience that I really enjoy. When it came time to finding a place in Brockenhurst to stay, I looked at a few places (and there were a few, but miles out of my budget, which is a shame), but when I discovered The Thatched Cottage Hotel I knew I had found the perfect places. Staying in a little thatched cottage was probably the most idyllic thing I could do, especially as a cheesy American who has read an awful lot of Jane Austen novels… When we first arrived, the first thing we did was so sit in their outdoor garden area and have a cool beverage. There was even a family indulging in some afternoon tea! Cha-ching, we hit the jackpot! The room was perfectly cozy, and situated in the original cottage, just under the roof (we even had to duck to fit through doors, a thing I don’t often experience being a mere 5’2!) and it was the perfect location for all of the exploring we wanted to do! The New Forest has so much to offer, and staying in a Thatched Cottage really took it to the next level!
Our first hour or two in Brockenhurst were spent wandering around the small village, enjoying the sunshine, and taking a million pictures of horses… I knew horses wandered around, but I had no idea they’d be wandering around the town, literally stopping traffic as they just did their own thing. I’m such a city girl in that sense that it felt a little strange to see a convergence of these two things, living together quite happily! Ordinarily, horses scare the bejesus out of me (I was almost trampled by one when I was little…) but these cool dudes were just the right make to melt my heart. Frolicking foals are enough to melt anyone’s heart, I’d think! The town itself is very sweet and idyllic, even with the Tesco and Sainsbury’s but it felt so intimate and everyone was just so friendly! A million miles from London, eh?
An Evening at The Pig
I’d heard of The Pig long before I had any inclination to go there. My gal pal Jaye has always told me great things about it, and lovely Liv did a post or two about her stay there (which you can see here and here) so when I was looking at restaurants and the the name popped up, I didn’t question it! I’m gonna be straight with you… it was worth every penny. A little bit about The Pig: Most everything is picked fresh and the menu changes based on the seasons and what’s available locally and what’s foraged. Straight from the New Forest and onto the table! They even have some amazing herb infused oil with herbs that have been picked from their kitchen garden. From the moment we arrived, the welcoming atmosphere, the charming decor and the polite and incredibly kind and attentive staff made it a wonderful evening, but the food was the cincher. Our starters, our mains, and even the bread basket were clearly made with such care and attention. It was divine! We ate ourselves silly in the waning summer sun, and then sat out on the lawn with a bottle of local wine. Does it get any better than that? I don’t think so!
Biking to Burley
We decided fairly early on in the planning of our little mini break that we should rent some bikes and see a little bit more of the New Forest! We ended up doing a route that was about 21 miles, and rode all the way to the little town of Burley. Apparently, the town is steeped in a history of witchcraft and smuggling. A cache of coins, bottles and pistols was apparently found under the floor of The Queen’s Head pub. By the time we got to Burley, we were ready for a pitstop and some refreshments. Mind you, I’ve not ridden a bike in well over 5 years, so my legs were on fire. I was waddling as we walked to a table to sit down, I kid you not! After a little snack (salty chips, duh), we had a little wander through the town of Burley, which, unsurprisingly took about 3 minutes. The buildings were very cute, and there was an adorable fudge shop that I was seriously tempted by, but the rest of the shops were all a bit bric-a-brac and filled with fairy figurines and the like… one shop even had a few golliwogs on sale outside… Once we carried on our ride, though, it was all lovely. Beautiful and so nice to see! By the time we got back to our room, I was a wobbly mess, but it was a great way to see so much of the forest!
Dinner at The Huntsman
On our final evening, exhausted from our bike ride, we were in the mood for more of a pub dinner than anything as fancy as The Pig, so we settled for a nice dinner at The Huntsman of Brockenhurst. I didn’t take very many photos, because I was barely staying awake, and because it wasn’t the most photogenic (we were sitting inside, and the lighting wasn’t great… a blogger’s nightmare!) but the food was pretty tasty! The starter at least was the stand out dish, a rosemary & garlic baked camembert, and toasted sourdough, with some delicious caramelised red onion chutney. It was really delicious, but we could barely keep our eyes open! Needless to say, we slept pretty well when we got back to our room, rather full from all of our indulgences!
Back to London
We squeezed a fair bit in only a day and a half, so our final morning was a very relaxed affair. A delightful breakfast at our hotel (though we both didn’t have much room after two very nice dinners), and then a hour or so spent in the garden soaking up the sunshine, and one more stroll through Brockenhurst, before making our way back to London. Overall, it was kind of a perfect 48 hours in the New Forest!