Lyndhurst New Forest – where to go

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.

 

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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.

 

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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 treesBolderwood 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.

 

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Rhinefield House Hotel + grounds

 


 

02. Siam Thai Lounge, Lyndhurst

Excellent Thai food in a comfortable and spacious restaurant, with truly hospitable and efficient service.

 

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Siam Thai Lounge interior

 

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Siam Thai mixed starters @ £12.80: chicken satay, prawn toast, tod mun fishcakes, spring rolls + we substituted mushroom satay instead of chicken wings

 

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Tom yum soup @£4.95 – gorgeously spicy

 

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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

 

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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 BinneyNagib KarsanKate 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.

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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).

 

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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

 


 

05. Starskys

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.

 

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Starskys interior + Stevens Point pale ale

 

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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

 

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Mac cheese side dish – not on the menu but that wasn’t a problem

 

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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:

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All’s well that’s Arundel

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My parents are taking a break in the West Sussex area at the mo, so I caught the train to Arundel yesterday to meet them. It’s only 80 mins from Clapham Junction and costs £20 for a day return ticket. I thought this was great value. And it’s a really interesting place to visit: it’s a historic town with a fascinating (honestly!) Norman castle and other attractions, set in the countryside, with fine dining and drinking places to lure you, too.

See my photos here.

With Norman origins dating from 1067, Arundel Castle is one of England’s longest inhabited country houses and is home to the Dukes of Norfolk, who also fulfil the hereditary office of Earl Marshal of England, responsible for arranging coronations and funerals for heads of state. Closely connected with the royal family, traces of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s visit of 1846 are still very apparent, including the bed that took two years to ‘make’.

The castle’s 130 feet long Baron’s Hall was used in the film-set for The Young Victoria, representing a nineteenth century Windsor Castle banquet hall. Arundel Castle has served as a filming location for many films and TV productions including The Madness of King George, Henry VIII and Victoria and Albert, given the inability to film in palaces where royalty live.

It’s in immaculate condition for an ancient castle too; different parts have been re-developed or re-built over the centuries. A climb to the Norman Keep exposes you to the elements and offers spectacular views over the West Sussex countryside, while the ante library and library rooms are, surprisingly, the most awe-inspiring. The ante library contains black lacquer furniture bearing the most exquisite, oriental designs from the 1700s. The library, from around 1800, houses ten thousand books including a late fourteenth century Nuremberg Bible. An important Gothic room, its red, pink and gold patterned carpet is a replica of that made for Queen Victoria’s 1846 visit, in her favourite colours. It may not catch on at Ikea but it doesn’t look out of place today.

Padstein + Camel vineyard

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Just returned from another short break in Cornwall, on the pretext of attending a Rick Stein evening (fab!). Not only was the Rick Stein evening excellent (we got to watch him cook a few dishes and sample them, and the wine was flowing) but we went on a tandem bicycle ride and stumbled across the beautiful Camel Vineyards – it would’ve been rude not to have a taster or two…


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Camel Vineyard – Lardbutty best British vineyard 2008
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Vineyard info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Address: Camel Valley, Nanstallon, Bodmin, Cornwall
~ Postcode: PL30 5LG
~ Website: Camel Vineyard website
~ Location:

More:
~ Cornwall holiday photos