Focus on Brockenhurst for a family self catering holiday in the New Forest
Brockenhurst New Forest, steeped in history and nature
Brockenhurst Village lies in the heart of the New Forest National Park which is steeped in history – William the Conqueror’s forest is a unique landscape and Europe’s largest surviving area of ancient pasture woodland.
Brockenhurst is the beginning of a marvellously natural and spectacular route north westwards along the Ornamental Drive, incorporating the tallest trees in the forest, stately at all times of the year which seem to reach up and touch the sky. From there the route continues across the A35 towards the Knightwood Oak, the largest and most famous oak tree in the forest, and the higher reaches of the open forest heathlands beyond.
Forest and Waterways merge in Brockenhurst
The North and South Weirs streams join and as one flow through Brockenhurst heading south towards Lymington.
In Brookley Road in the warmer months of the year the stream which has for decades been known as the Watersplash, flows innocuously across the road and is easily crossed. It is however to be avoided by motorists in winter and spring when the flow is greater – many a local has been caught out here and similarly along the road out of Brockenhurst towards Beaulieu under the railway bridge just before the Pig Restaurant! Don’t say you haven’t been warned!
On the subject of water, the New Forest is a very special place. Containing some of the least polluted waters of the United Kingdom, it’s home to some remarkable and incredibly rare wildlife which it’s vital we continue to protect. The work of the Freshwater Habitats Trust in the New Forest is fascinating and visitors to the New Forest can learn more about the habitats of the New Forest by taking part in events and activities for both adults and children held by the Countryside Eductation Trust
Brockenhurst – excellent road and rail connections to the whole of the UK
Although the village is in the heart of the forest with a charming village green and forest ponies, cows and donkeys never far away, Brockenhurst also has road and rail communications with the rest of the country which rival those of many large towns. There are two easily accessible access points on to the M27 motorway which leads to the M3. It’s also barely 20 minutes by road into the centre of Southampton. Meanwhile Brockenhurst mainline railway station provides access to regular fast trains via Bournemouth to Weymouth in one direction and via Southampton and Winchester to Waterloo in the other.
Brockenhurst – the most beautiful place to live in the UK!
Brockenhurst was officially named the most beautiful place to live in the UK in April 2016 by Leaders Estage Agents – that came as no surprise to locals but it’s also of course good news for holidaymakers!
A Leaders spokesman said: “The area is home to ponies, deer, donkeys and cows – all of which are known to roam the main street. Locals have the enchanting New Forest at their fingertips, a selection of warm and inviting pubs to enjoy and beautiful views in every direction. The countryside around the village is spectacular and Rhinefield Road is one of the prettiest places you could find.”
Carey’s Manor Hotel is on the edge of the village just along from the green, close to renowned sixth form Brockenhurst College. It offers superb accommodation and beautiful grounds, as well as multi-award-winning SenSpa, designed to melt your stresses away. If you’re self catering SenSpa is open to non residents and you can try Careys Manor’s three fabulous restaurants – fine dining at Cambium, Thai-inspired Zen Gardens part of SenSpa (more here) , and French bistro style le Blaireau.
The historic and charming Thatched Cottage Hotel in the heart of Brockenhurst is under new ownership and thriving. For self catering holidaymakers a Great British cooked breakfast is available to non residents on weekdays, and fabulous cream teas every day with scones straight out of the oven. On selected evenings the New Forest’s only Gin Club in the hotel’s bar serves a fabulous array of gins in gin tasting “flights”, so if you’re staying in Brockenhurst you can walk home which is an added bonus!
Plenty to do in Brockenhurst and nearby
There is so much to do in the New Forest!
No family holiday in the southern part of the New Forest is complete without a visit to the treasures of Beaulieu National Motor Museum
In the heart of Brockenhurst at Cycle Experience you can hire all shapes and sizes of bikes for all ages and sizes, including now electric bikes for those who’d like to explore further afield in peace and tranquillity but don’t have the fitness levels needed!
New Forest Activities offer a variety of activities for both adults and children, in which the whole family can take part together if you wish. From kayaking and canoeing on the Beaulieu River and further afield, to its shooting range and , to boat tours, to all sorts – well worth giving them a call in advance to see what’s on when you’re here. More information here as well
You can also take a relaxed double decker bus ride around the Forest with New Forest Bus Tours, have a good run or fly a kite or generally let off steam at Whitefield Moor and Car Park, mix with a calming visit to ancient St Nicholas Church, and depending on the season paying a visit to New Forest Polo Club could be rather special.
Horse Riding If you can’t imagine seeing all those ponies on the New Forest without riding one too during your stay, and if the children are clamouring but you don’t know where to start with finding a good stables, the answer is in Brockenhurst! Ford Farm riding stables has an excellent reputation with locals across the whole of the Forest, they offer lessons and hacks but they’re very popular so do book in advance of your stay.
Events through the year in the New Forest
There is also so much going on in the New Forest! If you’re planning a self catering holiday , please talk to us because we know what’s happening where when. The annual highlight in July is the nationally renowned New Forest Show http://www.newforestshow.co.uk/. But there are events throughout the year and if you’d like to plan ahead for your precious holiday time in the New Forest to make the most of every minute, you might like to sign up for the Lymington.com weekly What’s On newsletter before you come. www.lymington.com. It’s focussed on Lymington but covers the wider New Forest and lots in Brockenhurst itself as well, and you’ll be able to spot events you think you and your family might enjoy during your stay.
Eating, drinking and shopping in Brockenhurst
And finally our personal thoughts about eating, drinking and shopping in the village – although there really is a lot more of all to choose from. In fact we’re so well supplied with shops in Brockenhurst that you definitely don’t need to go to a big supermarket at all during your stay if that’s something you’d really rather take a holiday “from”!
Rosie Leas Café and Bakery – café
We think this is a lovely tearooms and it’s conveniently in the village centre so you can combine with a spot of local shopping. It serves delicious homemade cakes beautifully presented on vintage china – and we love to sip tea from china cups, it tastes so much better! You can sit outside and watch the cars splashing through the ford – they provide blankets and hot water bottles when it’s cold – or at one of the cosy tables inside; dogs welcome. Warming soup with a fluffy homemade cheese scone is a perfect lunchtime size snack. 6 Brookley Road, Brockenhurst, SO42 7RA Phone: 01590 622 797
Snakecatcher – large pub with good food.
The Snake as it’s fondly known locally is a very long established but also recently totally refurbished large pub with excellent pub food. Lyndhurst Rd, Brockenhurst, SO42 7RL Phone: 01590 622348 Click this link to see inside the Snake!
We’re really fortunate in Brockenhurst to have an excellent Thai Restaurant – and they do takeaways so if you’re loving your home from home holiday home and don’t want to leave it for longer than you have to, you can eat in without cooking! 26 Lyndhurst Road, Brockenhurst, SO42 7RL Phone: 01590 622459
Brockenhurst is actually becoming a bit of a foodie destination, all the better for self catering holiday makers staying in and near the village. Station Approach, Brockenhurst, SO42 7TW Phone: 01590 622438
If you want a quick supermarket visit we have both Tesco Express and Sainsbury in the village. But we recommend also the following independent shops including butchers, bakers, and fruit and veg shop too.
Gifts: Pot Pourri – cards and gifts, Ytene Gallery – art gallery, Brocante – antiques
A bike ride away from the village – Setley Ridge Farmshop and Nursery – for plants, gifts, food, cafe.
Give us a ring at New Forest Holiday Lets!
Our offices are based literally in the centre of Brockenhurst and we’re on hand to give you personal advice about any aspects of planning a self catering holiday in Brockenhurst or indeed other parts of the New Forest, so do just pick up the phone and give us a call on 01590 622449. You can even take a look at us here before you call if you click this link!