Ever since I drove down past Picket Post into the purple heathered hills, I knew I was in love with The New Forest.
The New Forest is one of these little gems in the South where one can still find absolute bliss. Never too far from the beach, always in walking distance of a great hiking trail and a good pint, ‘The Forest’ as my husband likes to call the region where he grew up, is a perfect holiday destination if you want to shake off the London rush and stress.
But where should you stay? What village should you choose as your home base? And why?
To make these decisions easier, I have compiled a list of 10 great hotels in amazing locations from where you will be able to explore the New Forest in a relaxed and tranquil way.
Forest Park Hotel
One of the best spots to base yourself at in The New Forest has to be Brockenhurst. This town is seen as the beating heart of the region and most tourists taking the train down to The New Forest will probably get off at the station in Brockenhurst – Brock for the locals.
Forest Park Hotel is one of the nicest (more or less) central hotels in Brockenhurst and therefore makes it to the top of this list. This recently refurbished 4-star hotel was used as a hospital for the Indian and New Zeeland troops during the Great War and Theodore Roosevelt dined in the hotel on his travels to the UK.
Now the Hotel serves locally served food and at the bar you can order a very special local New Forest gin. The modern rooms are spacious with big, comfortable beds and scenic views over the garden or the New Forest.
There is free Wi-Fi for all the guests and if you’re a tad bored in the evening you can head down to the game room, the spa or the swimming pool. When weather permits you can choose to sip Gin and Tonics in the beautifully kept garden.
As mentioned before: Forest Park Hotel is well-located in the center of The New Forest with transport links nearby.
Rhinefield House Hotel
I have to be honest… I went for afternoon tea at Rhinefield House Hotel once and I was not impressed at all. But I am more than ready to give them the benefit of doubt as there was a massive wedding on at the hotel.
But let me tell you that The Rhinefield House Hotel is absolutely gorgeous! My parents in law had their winter wedding there and I can see why. The beautiful historical hotel with luxury amenities such as a spa and a pool is a New Forest Favourite for people who have cash to spend.
The bedrooms in traditional style are fit for a princess and with the New Forest just outside the hotel it is a great place to start from when setting off for walks and hikes.
The hotel boasts an indoor and an outdoor pool, a beautiful private dining room, an amazing beauty salon, a gym and an award-winning restaurant.
If you are looking for a tranquil B&B experience in a cute little cottage on forest? Then Thatched Cottage will be your absolute perfect getaway! This Bed and Breakfast scores a staggering 9.9 out of 10 on 143 reviews (wow!) and looks like it ran away out of a fairy tale.
This thatched cottage is located in Brockenhurst and is lies directly on the forest. This means that when walking out of the front door you will be on the national park with free-roaming horses, pigs and cows grazing and pigging around not 10 feet from where you are standing.
Every morning a continental breakfast is served with cheese, ham, croissants, cereal and orange juice. Every room has a flat screen TV, free Wi-Fi and of course their own private bathroom.
As the cottage is located in Brockenhurst, it is a great place to stay if you want to explore the rest of the forest. Due to its central location, you can easily catch (tourist) busses, hire bikes or even take the train in Brockenhurst.
The lovely historic hotel is on the bank of Beaulieu River. The Hotel has Maritime themed living rooms with the addition of colorful Indian fabrics and bedrooms that have a traditional rural feel. The award-winning restaurant of the hotel serves modern British cuisine with loads of local fish and locally sourced ingredients.
The hotel has a bar, free parking, parking, Conference Hall, Meeting Room, parking, Wi-Fi, etc and you are very welcome to sit on one of the picnic benches by the river or at the beer garden while enjoying a fresh pint, a nice juice or a delicious cocktail.
You can visit nearby National Motor Museum situated within the Beaulieu Estate while you stay in the hotel. You can easily hire bikes at or near the hotel to explore miles on the spectacular countryside via little-known and quiet roads. The hotel is branded as pet-friendly although I would always recommend calling a hotel before making a reservation and taking your dog on a trip.
As it is located in Buckler’s Hard I would always recommend visiting the hotel by car as it might be hard catching public transport in that neck of the woods.
Although I would not always count Lymington to be part of The New Forest ( sorry, not sorry), I did think that not including Britannia House in this write up would be a crying shame. Britannia House is a beautifully decorated family run Bed and Breakfast in the center of Lymington. The rich coloured fabrics in the room, the comfortable beds and the overall tasteful décor make you feel at home from the moment you walk through the front door. Every morning you can enjoy a hearty full English breakfast before you put on your wellies to explore the forest, the coastline or even the Isle of White.
The facilities of the hotel include rooms with balcony, family suites, parking, free Wi-Fi, sit-out terrace, private villas, garden, and private apartments.
You can enjoy horse riding, golf, sailing, cycling, etc. There is a local market to explore in Lynington and you can go shopping in the little high street of the city.
You might have read about the Burley Manor in one of my blog posts about the best hotels or places to stay in Burley. I felt I needed to include The Burley Manor in this write up just because it is such a beautiful venue in the middle of the little village.
The Burley Manor is known for its luxury rooms, amazing views over the forest and fields, and of course the many deer that come together in front of the hotel.
The spacious rooms are beautifully decorated in a mix between modern and village chique with deep blues, mustards and porcelain whites. I am a big fan of the free standing baths and the cleanly designed en suite bathrooms.
The hotel also boasts an amazing pool and since it is located in the middle of the little village of Burley, pubs, restaurants, shops and bike hire are can all be found in walking distance.
The Walhampton Arms
The Walhampton Arms is a cute little Bed and breakfast just off the road to Lymington and lies in the middle of the forest. This historical mock Tudor cottage has been welcoming guests only since February 1st this year, but reviews have been overwhelmingly positive.
The clean and modern rooms look incredibly cozy and all amenities needed to make your stay a pleasant one have been provided. From a flat screen TV to free Wi-Fi and a water cooker with some tea and coffee… the hosts will do everything in their power to make sure your stay is excellent.
Every room comes with a modern en suite bathroom. Due to its location it is easy to put on your walking boots and walk right into the forest. I would recommend taking the car when staying at the Walhampton Arms as it is quite a walk to the nearest amenities and public transport links.
The Mayflower Hotel is yet another smart inn with rooms close to Lymington’s Marina. The hotel boasts six rooms with a cool naval theme.
The facilities of the hotel include Outdoor dining, Satellite TV, Bar, Cafe, Free Wi-Fi, Restaurant (AA Rosette), Garden, Beer Garden to the rear.
The inn also serves food to its customers using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. The hotel is a great base to explore the Hampshire coast or New Forest.
As you are close to the Lymington Marina you might want to rent a boat. You can also go bird-watching as the North Solent Nature Reserve houses Britain’s largest colony of Black-headed gulls.
The Montagu Arms
The Montagu Arms lies in the middle of the picturesque village of Beaulieu. This hotel houses an award winning restaurant and boasts 22 fully furnished luxurious rooms with terrace. The rooms are spacious and modern, and all come with their own style and theme.
The hotel also houses a restaurant which serves modern British food. There is a library for book lovers and bar where you can sit back and relax with a big glass of house red. Another plus point of the hotel is its central location along with Beaulieu Estate. This makes that restaurants, pubs, bars and shops are never far away and that when coming back from a tiring walk in the forest, you will always have a lot of choices for food and drink.
You cannot bring pets to the hotel. The facilities of the hotel include Bar, Four poster beds, suites, restaurant, spa, etc.
The Three Lions
Last but not least I wanted to include The Three Lions in my write up for those who wanted to stake out on the south side of the A31.
It was a village inn in the past but the owner of the Hotel who is a chef converted the inn into a hotel. It has seven well-decorated rooms and an amazing garden. There is a restaurant that uses local ingredients and is supposed to be absolutely amazing.
When looking at the amenities in the hotel we notice that the hotel has a number of family suites, parking, free parking on-site, bar, outdoor dining, sauna/steam, Meeting Room, bicycle hire, outside terrace, free Wi-Fi, restaurant, garden, hot tub, etc. There is an outdoor hot tub in the garden for the use of all guests.
As the Three Lions is in Fordingbridge you might want to take the car in order to discover and explore the New Forest.