No one who lives in the New Forest village of Brockenhurst is surprised that it’s been officially declared ‘Britain’s Most Beautiful Place to Live’ by Leaders Estate Agent.
According to Leaders Estate Agent, which judged a number of UK towns and villages, Brockenhurst has “bundles of charm and history”.
A Leaders spokesman said: “The area is home to ponies, deer, donkeys and cows – all of which are known to roam the main street. Locals have the enchanting New Forest at their fingertips, a selection of warm and inviting pubs to enjoy and beautiful views in every direction.
“The countryside around the village is spectacular and Rhinefield Road is one of the prettiest places you could find.” This is where you can find the beauty spot Whitefield Moor.
The locals are justly proud of their secret places; the Watersplash Ford and ‘Brockenhurst Beach’, a swimming spot on the Lymington River.
Brockenhurst is in fact the largest village by population in the New Forest.
The Domesday Book shows records of four Saxon manors in what is now the Brockenhurst area. One of these manors, Broceste, is what gives the village its name. Another, Brochelie, was situated in a spot that is now The Watersplash Hotel.
The railway arrived in Brockenhurst in the nineteenth century, making the village a popular place for tourists.
Brockenhurst has an interesting military past and in WWI was the location of hospitals for injured Indian and New Zealand soldiers. During WWII, what is now Balmer Lawn Hotel was often used as a Divisional HQ and was the location of many meetings between Generals Montgomery and Eisenhower as they planned the D-Day Landings. In 1944, ancient oak trees in the village hid military as they gathered to do battle in Normandy.
Things to do in Brockenhurst
There’s plenty of things to do in Brockenhurst, including many leisure activities.
If you enjoy cycling then why not embark on the 8 mile Brockenhurst to Rhinefield ride, taking you along the Rhinefield Drive. Cyclexperience, located at the railway station car park, can get you onto two wheels with their cycle hire and can help with a variety of cycle route suggestions to suit all cycling abilities.
Walkers can pick up the South Taste Trail, a 7 mile route that takes in a variety of pubs and tea rooms, not to mention the New Forest Cider shop!
Within the village you will find a variety of independent shops. Head to Brookley Road (Brockenhurst’s High Street) and you will find Village Veg, Village Butcher and other small stores, ideal for picking up those everyday essentials as well as souvenirs of your visit to the New Forest.
Walking around the village you will come across a lot of interesting points. One such example is the Watersplash (also known as the Splash). This is a meeting point of two of the area’s streams; the North and South Weirs, which eventually lead on to the Lymington River. You can often find animals drinking from this watering hole, including the famous New Forest ponies.
Take a look at two of the village’s churches: the Church of St Saviour and the Church of St Nicholas. The latter is the oldest church in the New Forest and the only remaining church in the New Forest that is mentioned in the Domesday Book. Not only do the churches showcase different eras of architecture, but the Church of St Nicholas houses a small exhibition which commemorates the ‘Tin Town’ hospital of WWI. Within the graveyard, you will find the grave of Brusher Mills, the legendary New Forest snake-catcher. Find out more about this famous local resident in the public house named after him, The Snakecatcher at Brockenhurst.
If you would like to give horse riding a go on a break here in the New Forest then why not try the nearby Brockenhurst Riding Stables or Ford Farm Stables?
Designed by the great golf course architect, Harry Colt, why not a round of golf at Brokenhurst Manor Golf Club?
Events in Brockenhurst
During the summer, the fabulous annual spectacle and celebration of forest life that is the New Forest and Hampshire County Show descends upon the village. One of the most important events in the New Forest calendar, this show brings with it three days of agricultural fun and entertainment at the end of July.
Places to stay in Brockenhurst
Did you know Brockenhurst is also one of the UK’s top places to stay – bursting with amazing hotels, world-class spas, friendly inns and pubs?
Careys Manor is at the centre of the village, just along from the green, and offers superb hotel accommodation and beautiful grounds, as well as its Thai-inspired, multi-award-winning SenSpa, designed to melt your stresses away. The spa is also available for day visitors.
Balmer Lawn is another great Brockenhurst hotel – in the past it played host to King George V and Queen Mary, today it boasts excellent facilities for younger guests and it too has a well-regarded spa.
Get close to nature and go Camping at Long Meadow Campsite.
Where to eat and drink in Brockenhurst
Brockenhurst is full of delicious places to eat. From quiant cafes and tearooms down the highstreet, to luxurious restaurants at the hotels dotted around the village, such as Le Blaireau at Careys Manor and Beresfords Restaurant at Balmer Lawn Hotel, as well as independant restaurants too, including plenty of pubs to head to as well in and surrounding the village.
Getting to Brockenhurst
Brockenhurst also has the main bus/train interchange for the New Forest so is accessible to all. With regular trains from London Waterloo, Southampton and Bournemouth via South Western Railway, it won’t take you long to get here.
Head to www.visit-brockenhurst.co.uk to find out even more information about the wonderful village of Brockenhurst.