The New Forest, England

New Forest - by Jim Champion via Wikimedia Commons Situated in Southern England, covering an area of 219 sq. miles sits the New Forest National Park. Boasting trees of birch, beech and oak, wildlife and animals in abundance, the area attracts visitors in their millions year upon year. During the summer months hotels, guest houses and camping sites are full to capacity as visitors return each year to what is one of the most beautiful beauty spots in the country. But what of the area in winter you may ask, well, it takes on a new suit of clothes. The trees are bare, their past foliage covering the ground in an array of colour or on a frosty morning crunches underfoot, a time to visit the famous beauty spots and ancient sites without crowds, roads free of heavy traffic allowing you to stop and admire the wildlife and animals that freely roam the Forest.

I travelled with South Western Railway from London Waterloo to Brockenhurst in a remarkably quick 92 minutes, just time for a coffee and a quick read of the daily paper.

There are many residences to choose from but my choice was the Balmer Lawn Hotel & Spa on the outskirts of Brockenhurst and I was not disappointed. Why this hotel, several reasons; it’s run by Chris and Alison Wilson owners for the last 20 years who together with a very dedicated staff put immense effort into ensuring their guests receive 100% satisfaction. Balmer Lawn Hotel & Spa The bedrooms, all 53 of them, are individually designed, tastefully furnished and well appointed, many with wonderful panoramic views across the forest, it has its own microbrewery, the Brockenhurst Brewery producing Smokin’ Deer Ale which is on sale at the hotel bar. For the more energetic there are both indoor and outdoor pools, squash courts and all weather tennis courts, thus, having exerted all that energy, what better than to relax in the Nordic Spar with its comfortable loungers or enjoy a massage in one of the luxurious massage rooms. Feeling hungry after all that? Sample the main restaurant Beresfords, which even offers a 7 course tasting menu. Balmer Lawn has a history that few can match, a former hunting lodge, during WWI as a hospital and during WWII it was used by the Canadian 3rd Infantry Division as their HQ prior to the D-Day landings. Contact them direct for the best price.

Using Balmer Lawn as a base the locality is a myriad of venues and attractions to visit. One of the most famous being the National Motor Museum. National Motor Museum Founded by the 3rd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu, beginning life with just 5 motor cars on display at the official opening of Palace House and Gardens in 1952. Over the last 55 years the exhibition has grown to what it is today, a collection of 250 vehicles manufactured since the late 1800’s accompanied by books, journals and films from around the world. Other attractions include the Monorail, rides on a veteran bus or in a vintage car and having done all of this there is the restaurant to eat and relax in. Also visit the Palace House with much of it now open to the public together with the partial ruins of Beaulieu Abbey. Open every day with the exception of Christmas Day this is worth a visit winter or summer.

Lyndhurst, dubbed by many, ‘The Capital’ of the New Forest, an area that over the years has become a favourite with tourists and visitors alike. Enjoy the tea rooms, craft shops, restaurants and much more. Whilst in Lyndhurst visit the New Forest Centre, open 7 days a week and a venue where all your questions on the New Forest will be answered.

Whilst in the area visit the church of St. Michael and All Angels where is buried Alice Liddell, Lewis Carroll’s inspiration for Alice in Wonderland. More information

Finally, the Forest itself, dating back to time immemorial, an area of heath, woodland, lakes and streams, teaming with animals and wildlife where artefacts going back to the Bronze Age have been found indicating the existence of dwellers going back centuries.New Forest pony - by R J Higginson via Wikimedia Commons The first records show that in 1079 King William 1st designated the area as his hunting ground. The Forest is looked after and tended by Verderers and Agisters, Verderers, of whom there are 10, are concerned with the management of the Forest whilst Agisters are full time employees who look after the welfare of the wild life and animals that roam the Forest. Year upon year the number of animals inhabiting the Forest increases with numbers for 2017 totalling nearly 13,000, ponies and cattle making up the majority but a plus to this figure is around 2,000 deer of which there are 5 species.

From the Balmer Lawn Hotel so many locations are possible on a day trip: Marwell Zoo, Monkey World as featured on the TV series ‘Monkey Life’, Corfe Castle, Stonehenge, The Isle of Wight, Lulworth Cove and many more. This is an area that is special whichever season you choose to visit. Peace, tranquillity and relaxation are key words for the area, and an area I will certainly return to.

My personal thanks to Go New Forest for all their help and assistance during my visit.

 

127 people found this helpful
18880

Share Article:

Alan

Travel writer & cruise journalist

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

Geoff Moore joined events across the island to celebrate Liberation Day, one of the most important dates in Guernsey’s calendar…
The Royal Shakespeare Company offers far more than just live theatre as Gillian Thornton found out on a visit to…

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.