K and I spent four days in and around the New Forest, Hampshire over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend.
We stayed in Lyndhurst (unsurprisingly busy being a bank holiday, and touristy with heavy traffic) hired mountain bikes, saw lots of New Forest ponies (prompting a chucklesome, horse-themed Spotify playlist – see the end of this post), sampled some local pubs and restaurants, drove to the Hampshire coast and saw the Magna Carta on display at Salisbury Cathedral.
Here’s sharing our highlights and recommending some things to see and do.
01. AA Bike Hire
Hire quality mountain bikes from AA Bike Hire (behind the tourist information centre, off Gosport Lane) @ £10 a day per adult. Bikes are hired on a first come first served basis and they do run out as we discovered on our first attempt (a Sunday morning).
Top tip: get there for 9am – opening time – on Sundays.
The closest alternative bicycle hire is from CycleExperience at Brockenhurst. They also run out.
1. Bikes from AA Bike Hire; 2. New Forest ponies; 3. Exploring the forest; 4. Knightwood oak; 5. Enjoy
On our second and successful attempt on the Monday, we benefited from the owner of AA Bike Hire’s invaluable knowledge about the forest – recommended routes, and what to look out for.
Recommended cycle route: A.E “15 country miles”
We followed route A.E., a “good fifteen country miles” (some steep hills) taking in the impressive grounds of Rhinefield House Hotel, freely roaming ponies, redwood trees, Bolderwood Ornamental Drive hosting the biggest tree in the forest (a knightwood oak probably between 400-600 years old) and a deer sanctuary. Returning to Lyndhurst through Emery Down, passing (or pausing via…) the New Forest Inn and Swan Inn.
Rhinefield House Hotel + grounds
02. Siam Thai Lounge, Lyndhurst
Excellent Thai food in a comfortable and spacious restaurant, with truly hospitable and efficient service.
Siam Thai Lounge interior
Siam Thai mixed starters @ £12.80: chicken satay, prawn toast, tod mun fishcakes, spring rolls + we substituted mushroom satay instead of chicken wings
Tom yum soup @£4.95 – gorgeously spicy
Tofu and veggie curry @ £6.85 – Thai red curry with kaffir lime leaves, red and green pepper, mushroom, tofu, fine beans, carrot and coconut milk
Gang Massamun @ £9.50 – rich curry with tender beef, coconut milk, peanut, onion + potato
The total bill for two came to £76.35 which included two bottles of Viognier (great dry white wine) @ £17.95 each.
Quick ref info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: Thai
~ Address: 24 High Street, Lyndhurst, SO43 7BG
~ Tel: 02380 283061
~ Website + menus: Siam Thai Lounge website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Siam Thai Lounge food
03. Lyndhurst Art Gallery
The Summer Show at Lyndhurst Art Gallery runs from 29 May 2015 and features contemporary British Art from the likes of Sandra Binney, Nagib Karsan, Kate Richardson and Yvonne Coomber.
I love the mixed media paintings by Penelope Timmis, particularly this Hen Party @ £750.00 including frame – it just makes me smile.
04. Tea Total
First impressions of Lyndhurst High Street might make you think it’s a bit twee, with its numerous antique shops and tea parlours.
But Tea Total is a tea shop with a difference – check out the playfully named teas on their tea board for a start.
Menu – click to enlarge
Staff are friendly, welcoming and really know their teas, serving up expert knowledge with every cuppa.
Our visit *was* after our “good fifteen country mile” bike ride. We’d worked up a thirst and were in need of a sugar fix.
The ‘Tea lover for one’ @ £6.95 each seemed like a good reward: a choice of 50+ teas served with a homemade plain scone with jam and clotted cream and a slice of cake (gorgeous, oh-so-moist carrot cake on this occasion).
Tea lover for one – IngenuiTEA pot for one, scone with jam + clotted cream and a slice of carrot cake @ £6.95 all served up with experTEAS…
K chose a monkey magic (golden monkey tea from Fujian, China) and I chose a passage to India (a spicy masala chai from Sri Lanka), each served in an IngenuiTEA pot with our own timer (a minute for K’s monkey tea to brew to perfection, three minutes for my chai).
Novel, perfectly brewed, two very satisfied customers.
Quick ref info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: Tea + cakes
~ Address: 23 High Street, Lyndhurst, SO43 7BE
~ Tel: 023 8028 4585
~ Website: Tips N Leaves
~ Photos on flickr: images of Tea Total
The ‘Starskys’ name and the restaurant exterior may not be overly appealing but it’s a different story inside. On our visit, staff welcomed us the moment we stepped into the restaurant; there was an interesting (if limited) choice of craft beers on offer (that we didn’t find anywhere else around Lyndhurst) and it wasn’t a problem to go ‘off menu’. And the food was great too.
Starskys interior + Stevens Point pale ale
The Texas burger – 6oz 100% prime lean beef patty served in a brioche bun with pulled pork, BBQ sauce, lettuce, red onion + tomato, with either rustic, skinny sweet potato fries or jacket potato (sweet potato fries were recommended by our server) and with a side salad @ £13.25
Mac cheese side dish – not on the menu but that wasn’t a problem
Georgia pulled pork from the smoker – Slow cooked pork marinated in Starskys own rub and served with a homemade BBQ sauce. And sweet potato fries.
Quick ref info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: American/smokehouse/burgers
~ Address: 16 High Street, Lyndhurst, SO43 7BD
~ Tel: 023 8028 2991
~ Website + menus: Starskys
~ Photos on flickr: images of Starskys food
New Forest Ponies horse-themed Spotify playlist:
Filed under: LardButty food / restaurant reviews, UK | Tagged: AA Bike Hire, Alice in Wonderland, Brockenhurst, Crown Hotel, Crown Manor Hotel, Hampshire, Lyndhurst, Lyndhurst Art Gallery, Magna Carta, New Forest, Penelope Timmis, Salisbury Cathedral, Siam Thai Lounge, St Michael & All Angels church, Starsky's, Tea Total | Leave a comment »