Why go there?
If you’re going to take in the many wonders of the New Forest – whether it’s cycling, walking, riding ponies or just revelling in the area’s unspoiled nature – then basing yourself in the very heart at Lyndhurst sounds the perfect idea.
Lyndhurst is the unofficial capital of the New Forest, and it packs a lot into what is ultimately a village. Get a feel for the area, its wildlife and its history by visiting the New Forest Museum, then spend an afternoon browsing the many shops – a blend of well-known names and local exclusives – that line the village’s main streets, many of which are housed in buildings dating back centuries.
Take a stroll to Bolton’s Bench, a hill to the east of the village, check out the photo-friendly cottages at the nearby hamlet of Emery Down and see the local Victorian church, which dominates the view due to its elevated position.
When you’re ready to look further afield, consider starting with an open-top bus tour of the New Forest, which serves as an excellent introduction to the area. Nearby attractions worth considering include Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary, Beaulieu and Furzey Gardens.
Where to stay
The Little Hayes Guest House offers bed and breakfast accommodation on the edge of Lyndhurst, enabling you to quickly scoot off and explore the forest. Breakfast is a two-course affair cooked using local produce where available. Weekend prices are £40 per person per night, with a 10 per cent discount on Sunday night.
Other accommodation in Lyndhurst can be found through the New Forest website.
Where to eat
If you’re looking for traditional pub fare with an emphasis on home-cooking and ales, the Waterloo Arms is the place to visit, particularly as guests at Little Hayes get a 10 percent discount. If you’re going upmarket, check out the Brasserie at the Crown Hotel, which is situated in the heart of Lyndhurst’s shopping district. The chef specialises in uncomplicated dishes based on locally sourced produce, and the prices won’t blow you away.
Tell us a local secret
Alice Liddell, who was Lewis Carroll’s inspiration for his Alice in Wonderland tale, lived in Lyndhurst and was buried in the churchyard. Don’t go hunting for a grave with her name on it, though – she was buried as Mrs Reginald Hargreaves, after her husband’s name.