A New Forest Break at Balmer Lawn Hotel

New Forest The New Forest is one of the most unspoilt and glorious parts of southern England. This unique area, full of picturesque villages, bustling market towns and winding country lanes is a great place for a short and relaxing break whatever the season. It’s made up of a well cared for mix of forest, pasture and heathland. The environmental impact of the many visitors has to be carefully balanced and the forest has a 40mph speed limit and lots of car parking areas. Here you will give way to the ponies and cattle grazing freely as they have done for centuries. There’s plenty of opportunities to see the famous ponies at close quarters and deep in the wooded areas there’s a good chance of spotting one of the 2000 or so deer.

My wife and I took a short break to the area in early Spring staying at the delightful Balmer Lawn Hotel and Spa. Situated on the outskirts of Brockenhurst the hotel is ideally located in the heart of the New Forest and just a few miles from Lyndhurst, a firm favourite with visitors. Stop off at one of the many tea rooms and explore the local shops. Not to be missed is the New Forest Heritage Centre in the main car park. This free to enter museum, gallery and reference library is dedicated to sharing the history and traditions of the New Forest. With a gift shop and excellent little cafe, it’s a great place to find out about this diverse and beautiful area.

Balmer Lawn Hotel The Balmer Lawn Hotel’s name is taken from the lawn at the front of the hotel. Originally built in the mid 1800s as a hunting lodge, Balmer Lawn is a classic country house hotel. The proprietors, Chris and Alison Wilson, together with their dedicated staff put great effort into ensuring their guests receive 100% satisfaction. There are 54 rooms reached by a rather grand staircase near the reception area or via a convenient lift to all floors. We had room 10, and what a room! Luxurious accommodation, large bathroom with shower and a super balcony with artificial grass and a wonderful view across the lawn and the forest beyond. With cricket matches in the summer, ponies, deer and cattle most months and the New Forest all around, this is the place to stay. A number of ‘dog friendly’ rooms are also available.

Our room at the Balmer Lawn Hotel Balmer Lawn Hotel  has its own microbrewery in the grounds producing their own ale called ‘Smokin Deer’ which is on sale in the hotel bar. There’s a story on the hotel website as to how this brewery came about. There are indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a well-equipped gym, tennis court and the luxurious Saltus Spa which offers a wide range of massages, facials and body treatments. The spa facilities include a pool, Jacuzzi and post treatment quiet relaxation area.

There are two choices of dining at the hotel – Beresfords, the award winning 2 AA Rosette restaurant and The Lounge overlooking the terrace. We decided to try both on our two-night stay. Beresfords the first night was superb. A lovely warm and inviting atmosphere with a great menu and wine list. The service was excellent and the steak for my main course was cooked to perfection! Dinner in the Lounge the following night with an extensive lounge menu. Our table was reserved and another excellent meal followed with first class attentive service. The New Forest breakfast was hard to beat and with a mix of buffet and table service we were set up for the day.

Afternoon tea at the Balmer Lawn Hotel Using Balmer Lawn Hotel as a base, there are a lot of places to visit and attractions to see. First up was the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu which houses more than 250 vehicles kept in immaculate condition. There’s a monorail, rides on a veteran bus, cars from the movies and World of Top Gear. Visit the Palace House and lose yourself in the gardens and then, like us, lunch in the Brabazon restaurant.

We visited Brockenhurst famous for the watersplash at the bottom of the High Street where animals stop to drink and just beyond is open heathland and some fantastic woodland walks. Lyndhurst is a must and if you have the time the Georgian market town of Lymington set on the coast between Southampton and Bournemouth is worth a visit. Famous for its sailing history, there are two large marinas filled with fishing boats and yachts, as well as two sailing clubs. The town’s narrow streets are lined with pretty period cottages and houses, as well as plenty of local pubs and restaurants. From Lymington we made the short journey to Burley village made famous by its history of witchcraft.

National Motor Museum, Beaulieu Other nearby attractions include Paultons Park, home of Peppa Pig World, Fairweather’s Garden Centre in Beaulieu, Rockbourne Roman Villa in Fordingbridge, The Eling Tide Mill Experience at Totton, Buckler’s Hard a unique 18th Century village where warships for Nelson’s Navy were built, and the Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum to name just a few. Do take a look at the New Forest website for a comprehensive list of attractions and days out to help you plan your stay.


My wife and I had a great break to the New Forest, a special place whichever season you choose to visit. Peace, tranquility and relaxation are key words for the area.

Escape to Balmer Lawn Hotel & Spa, it’s a great hotel in a super location, we can’t wait to return!

More information

There is currently a package available from Sunday to Thursday on selected dates up to 27 June, costing from £79.50 per person per night (2 sharing a room). This includes bed & breakfast in a Standard room, £30 per person allowance towards dinner (food only), 20% discount on all treatments booked prior to arrival at the Saltus Spa, complimentary use of the leisure facilities and free wi-fi. Call 01590 623 116 or visit the hotel website www.balmerlawnhotel.com

For more information on the New Forest visit:


297 people found this helpful

Share Article:

David Powell

Travel editor

Leave a comment


Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

Explore China with our guide tailored for travellers over 50. Discover ancient wonders, vibrant cities, culinary adventures, and landscapes…
Rich in exotic wildlife, tropical forests, white-sand beaches and lost civilisations, Belize really is a diverse pocket of overlooked beauty….

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.