You may have seen on Instagram recently (@jakeparsons18) that Saturday morning just gone, Ellis and I spent 24 hours in The New Forest- drinking, eating and exploring in the sun! With it being only a 2 hours drive from us, we tend to vacate there whenever the weather gets better. It’s one of our favourite locations to unwind and relax, and seeing that the weather was improving, why not we thought. Our luck grew when we saw advertised a B&B situated just outside of Lymington, a popular destination for New Forest tourists, for £67 for the night. A quick read of the reviews and a glance over the pictures, we had our bags packed and set off for the road with the accommodation booked.
The New Forest itself is one of Britains National Parks, a large area protected by U.K. Law. With its abundance of grassland, woodland and heathland as well as the free roaming horses and cows, and the endless walks and cycle routes, it’s no wonder that it attracts thousands of visitors a year. There are a number of towns and villages within the New Forest itself, but the ones which stand out to us are Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst, Lymington and Burley. Each of these towns and villages have their own feel and some are more touristy than others, but if you’re looking for a place to be your focal point, we’d recommend any of the above. These four areas each have an endless number of places to stay, eat and drink as well as having the scenery to blow you away. And the great thing is, all of these areas are within a 20 minute drive of each other and can easily be explored over a weekend.
Like I said, Ellis and I have visited the New Forest a handful of times and it’s no surprise that we keep getting pulled back. It’s holds some sort of gravitational pull over us, which we never tire of. However, only spending the one night here, we wanted to make the most of our time.
After a quick stop in Brockenhurst for a freshly baked cake from the Bake House (one of our absolute faves), we then arrived just after 4pm at the Stepping Stones B&B. Luckily for us, the sun was out and not a cloud in the sky. See our review of the B&B we stayed in “Stepping Stones B&B” here. Once we arrived at our quaint B&B in Lymington, we unpacked and got changed and headed to a pub In Brockenhurst called The Huntsman. Commence, the unwinding. After a drink in this cosy setting, we decided we’d actually like to eat here too, but as it was last minute they had no reservations available. Oh well, on to Prezzo in Lyndhurst! In our first few hours we got to explore three of our favourite places in the New Forest, even if it was only for a small amount of time. No bother, still another day.
Our second day, however, was much more productive. After a delicious, freshly cooked breakfast by our host, we headed to a small town called Milford on Sea, about a 5 minute drive from where we were staying. This was to be our first time visiting the sea whilst actually in the New Forest – this National Park has it all!
You cannot beat fresh coastal air in the morning. The sky, blue with only small clouds dancing their way across the horizon. The small, gentle waves patted the pebbly shore where I attempted to teach Ellis how to skim stones across the surface of the shallow sea, however, it turns out my teaching skills are no good.
Once we discovered that neither of us were any good at skimming stones, in to Lymington we went. This small port town is the perfect place to grab a coffee or a beer and relax overlooking the harbour. If you fancied a bit of shopping, there’s a variety of establishments to suit many needs as well as an abundance of ice cream parlours that cater to many tastes. We sat and watched young children crabbing in the small harbour and wandered along the narrow cobbled back streets up to the main high street whilst ogling at the ice creams. After a spot of window shopping and with the sun at its highest point beaming down, we decided we’d venture into the many vast open spaces that are situated within the National Park.
The open areas within the New Forest stretch for miles upon miles. The dramatic contrast of colourful heathlands with tremendous oak trees in the distant background make this setting one of true beauty. A common sight is the free roaming New Forest ponies and cattle which graze upon the varied species of vegetation. All ponies grazing on the New Forest are owned by New Forest commoners – people who have “rights of common of pasture” over the Forest lands.
These open areas of natural beauty are spectacular spots for a long walk over the many hills, secluded picnics or somewhere to let the kids run around. You could spend hours just wandering the New Forest rural areas.
After some frolicking in the sunshine, we decided to quench our thirst in a pub called the White Buck on the edge of the small village of Burley, and what a perfect day for it it was! Perfect pub garden weather.
Burley itself is known for its history of witches, smuggling and dragons! So expect to see that theme in some of the small shops in the village.
After spending the afternoon wandering the villages of the New Forest, we headed home well relaxed and de-stressed. We can’t recommend a quiet short break in the New Forest enough. If you’re heading down to the south of England, it’s well worth checking out.