The New Forest is an idyllic escape for a romantic break. Less than 89 minutes by train from London, the New Forest boasts 193,000 acres of serene natural landscape. Here native forests, moors and coastline combine to create the perfect rural escape.
Walking enthusiasts will love exploring 143 miles of track. Start off with the way-marked walks at Bolderwood, Blackwood, Knightwood Oak and Wilverly Plain, which are tranquil at any time of the year. While on your walk, don’t be surprised if you come across a variety of wild life including deer and wild ponies. It’s estimated that there are 3,000 wild ponies roaming freely throughout the New Forest as they tread their own pathways to their favourite feeding grounds.
Having recently been refurbished at the end of 2015, all of the décor is brand spanking new, apart from the gorgeous antique furnishings. The dark, classic colour scheme (think Farrow and Ball ‘Pelt’ and ‘Calke Green’ painted walls) help to create a luxe feel, while chairs covered in a variety of wildlife print motifs lend a nod of hunting lodge chic to the décor.
We loved the sophisticated drawing room decked out with opulent furnishings and the attractive lounge with its roaring fire, which was very inviting after a brisk walk in the drizzling rain.
During our visit we stayed in Room 40 ‘The Burley Suite’, a generously proportioned room that was furnished with a seriously comfy King Size Hypos bed, a large plasma screen TV, a 2-seater sofa, two stylish arm chairs, a small writing desk and a beautiful antique wardrobe with matching dressers. The contemporary colour palate of aubergine, taupe, white and yellow was both elegant and restful. We also liked the addition of a DAB Robertson radio, which was great for listening to as we lounged in bed reading magazines.
The bathroom had a bath with an overhead power shower and included special touches such as fluffy robes and slippers and a complimentary selection of Temple Spa toiletries. At the end of the day I indulged in a bubble bath, which was pure bliss.
One or two hour rides cater for everyone from beginners to advanced riders. The ride takes you through the beautiful National Park where you can take in the wonderful views and see the wild ponies and other animals that roam and inhabit the forest.
If horse riding’s not your bag, you can enjoy the outdoor heated swimming pool (open seasonally from 8am-8pm), while gazing across the field at deer and wild horses.
For guests who are staying for a longer period and are looking for activities in the local area, there are a wealth of option including enjoying an educational tipple at Setley Ridge Vineyard or Ringwood Brewery or perfecting your golf swing at Burley Golf Course or Brockenhurst Golf Club.
For our starters my husband had the Moroccan soup, a hearty soup that had a great balance of flavours and a pleasant crunch from the chickpeas and seeds. The portion is huge, so do keep this in mind if you only want a light starter! For my starter, I opted for the grilled halloumi salad, which was nice, but the Moroccan soup was definitely the star of the show.
For our mains we had the lamb shank, which was very tender and a rich beef stew with vegetables and dumplings, which was a classic 'winter warmer'.
Overall, we found that the serving staff were friendly, however, it would appear that many of the staff are still finding their feet as they were struggling to keep up the pace during times when the restaurant was busy. So, although there are still a few teething problems to work through, the restaurant offering has the potential to be great with a few small tweaks. That being said, a special mention is in order for the sommelier who was superb and couldn't be faulted.
Burley Manor Hotel
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A summary of our experience at
Burley Manor Hotel
Most suited for: Couples of all ages
Best bits: Our massive, super stylish suite
Worst bits: Restaurant staff are in need of a bit more training to deliver 5-star service
Our experience overall
The property: ★★★★★
Food and drink: ★★★
Staff attentiveness/friendliness: ★★★
*During my stay I was hosted by the lovely team at Burley Manor Hotel. All words and opinions are my own.