The Forest Park Country Hotel and Inn has a lovely location in heart of the delightful New Forest. It sits right opposite mysteriously lush forests much loved by ramblers and just minutes from the quaint village of Brockenhurst.
This attractive red-brick Tudor renaissance building started life as a vicarage before becoming a hotel – but a rather dowdy one. It had its time in the spotlight when the Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, came calling some years ago.
Despite the limelight, the hotel deteriorated and was eventually bought by Kevin Wood. Under his watch, the hotel was pared back to its bare bones and underwent a multi-million-pound renovation. The result is a mash-up of styles from contemporary all the way to traditional – that shouldn’t really work together but somehow they do. No doubt Ms Polizzi would approve.
Famously, New Forest ponies have free reign to roam free in the New Forest and they tend to loiter nearby and even come by to take a peek.
Comically, there is an effigy of Theodore Roosevelt on a bench at the front of the hotel. A note states that he had stayed here in 1910 and even hosted dinner for him.
Check-in is easy and attentive with a welcome drink before being shown to your room.
Couples, families or anyone wanting to spend a pleasant sojourn in the New Forest – with or without the pooch.
There are 42 ample sized rooms with the Presidential Suite being the most plush coming with floor to ceiling glass doors that open up onto a balcony as well as a luxuriously large bathroom and free-standing bath. All have mod cons – TV, hairdryers, tea, eco-friendly toiletries and tea and coffee.
The ground floor rooms are dog friendly and are kitted out with a pooch mat, doggie treats and water bowls. These rooms open up to the gardens. Room 0 has its own private terrace.
Food and Drink
There is a lovely bar area and lounge with plenty of tipples and cocktails. They even have their own label “Brock” gin and their own Forest Park Ale.
Breakfast (buffet or a la carte) is served in the lounge area or the restaurant and ranges from gluten-free to full English. They have two types of coffee: Illy and Red Garage served in a cafetiere and both offer top quality sipping.
Forest Park is a member of the New Forest Marque which ensures that all the ingredients are either sourced locally or from around the UK.
Dinner can be taken at the bar or at the more formal Restaurant at Forest Park and the menu offers an eclectic menu with pies, sushi, roasted salmon, seabass, steak, burgers and dazzlingly good chips.
The restaurant has a formal ambience with floor to ceiling windows that overlook the lovely gardens. You can’t take your dog there but you can dine on the same menu in the lounge with your pooch to hand.
They do a lovely Enchanted Afternoon Tea and great homemade cakes from £25.95. You can choose from traditional, champagne, gin taster or whisky taster.
Is Wi-Fi available?
Yes and it is free throughout
A deluxe Super King bedroom from £150 including breakfast
The forest is at your feet and livestock loiter everywhere. New Forest ponies have free reign around here and so do donkeys and deer. There are so many trails, you could spend many a hiking hour spotting badgers, foxes and deer.
There is an unspoilt coastline along the Solent. Park the car at Keyhaven and you can catch the Henrietta Rose ferry (£6.50 adults £3.50 children return) to the historic Hurst Castle built for Henry VIII between 1541 and 1544 as an artillery fort. In 1956 the coastal artillery was abolished and Hurst Castle came into the care of English Heritage and is really worth visiting. Tickets to Hurst Castle cost £5.50 for adults, £5.00 for concessions £3.50 for children (5-17).
You won’t get bored in the New Forest. There’s plenty to do and you can find out more at The New Forest website and at The New Forest Heritage Centre Better still visit the heritage centre in person – it’s located in the Main Car Park, Lyndhurst.
TIP: For a different type of dining experience where the wine comes first and paired with delicious deli food head to the dog-friendly restaurant The Cave in Milford on Sea, the lovely town next door.