In food

Whether it’s that big celebration lunch, afternoon tea with your girlfriends, or a tasty supper at the pub, the New Forest is always the perfect place to grab something great to eat.

From traditional pub grub to some of the UK’s highest-rated restaurants – James Martin used to work at the Chewton Glen – this magical area really is a foodie’s paradise.

Our restaurateurs pride themselves on their 25-mile menus and the amazing produce they glean from the Forest’s natural larder, as well as supporting suppliers who carry the New Forest Marque for their food.

In fact, the only real problem you’ll really have is choosing where to go. But we’ve thought of that too - and done all the legwork - to make sure we bring you the New Forest’s very best places to eat.

Cafes & Tearooms
 

With many of their vegetables coming from over the road from Patrick’s Patch, as well as free-range eggs, sausages and bacon, you’ll get great food, sustainably sourced, at the ever popular Steff’s Kitchen at Fairweather's Garden Centre in Beaulieu.

If you fancy some farm fare for lunch, with perhaps a little tipple, then Hockey’s Farm near Ibsley in the Forest’s north is a must. Fresh coffee is ground on the premises and their cider is renowned.

Fancy trying something new? The Old Station Tea Rooms at Holmsley do a scrummy Savoury Afternoon Tea, which includes cheddar or chive scones, and they also serve a Full Vegetarian Breakfast, as well as loads of other delicious dishes.

For a farm café with a difference, try the New Forest Lavender Tearooms, at Landford. For lunch, you can choose from homemade quiches, their famous cheese scones, jacket potatoes and delicious salads, to hearty homemade soups, depending upon the summer or winter menu.

And, if you find yourself in Lyndhurst’s High street, pop into Tasty Pastries for a mouthwatering selection of baked pasties, pastries and cakes to eat in or take away. 

Pubs
 

From a pie and a pint to a full-blown gastro experience, our New Forest pub fare is as varied as the establishments themselves. Eat inside or out, overlooking rivers or the heathland, on shady terraces or cosied up beside a roaring fire.

The Waterloo Arms in Lyndhurst, just off the A337, is a beautiful 17th Century traditional thatched pub, which has a large beer garden for sunny days, a cosy open fire for the colder days and a delicious a la carte menu, as well as some excellent daily specials, for you to choose from.

The New Forest Inn at Emery Down on the other side of Lyndhurst has a new menu, so make time for their slow braised lamb shoulder roulade or a chargrilled Hampshire pork chop, when you’re in that part of the Forest.

Walking in the Beaulieu Road area? Then pop in to The Drift Inn where they promise that ‘wellies, walking boots and dogs’ are always welcome. They’ll serve you fresh fish as well as free range meat, with starters including guinea fowl terrine.

Or try The Bold Forester, also on Beaulieu Road (it’s a long road!). With well-thought out décor and a reputation for fine roast diners, it’s not to be missed if you’re eating out in the Forest’s east.

Food is served throughout the day at The Rising Sun on the Bashley Road near New Milton. This Victorian pub opens at 10am for tea, coffees, and cakes and they also do a mean Sunday lunch!

If you’re going to Beaulieu itself, The Royal Oak at Hilltop is worth a stop. It started life in 1848, as a tea-room and cyclists’ rest. It still welcomes cyclists and all who require a refreshing drink, or tasty meal. The pub has just been totally refurbished, retaining all of its original charm, plus some extra comfy seating area and a cosy snug.

We’ve another Royal Oak for you, too (that King Charles II really got about!), this time at Downton near Lymington. They serve fresh food all day, every day. Treat yourself to a Beachcomber gin, made in nearby Lymington, and look out for their giant Yorkshire pud served with the roasts on Sundays.

Also in Lymington you’ll find The Walhampton Arms, a hostelry dating back to the 1800s. It started life as a dairy but now has a selection of places to eat. They serve pub classics, with a two-meat carvery on Mondays, and they also do vegan food too, so no one has to miss out.

Meanwhile, deep in the forest in the village of Minstead, The Trusty Servant is waiting to serve you, whether it’s with fresh, home-cooked food or real ales. They welcome everyone – dogs, walkers, cyclists and children whether it’s in front of their three fires in the winter or in their beer garden on warmer days.

Restaurants
 

Whether it’s dinner a deux, a celebration lunch or anything in between, the New Forest has a restaurant that will serve it to perfection.

Aubrey’s Forest Kitchen at Sandy Balls Holiday Village near Fordingbridge is excellent for a relaxed meal throughout the day, or an evening dinner with the family. You’ll find delicious Italian classics, like gourmet pizzas from the pizza oven, plus a separate menu for vegetarian diners, with vegan, dairy free and gluten free options.

There is yet more fabulous Italian fare at Enzee’s Ristorante & Pizzeria. Their chefs are just waiting to serve you freshly-prepared Italian cuisine with all the signature dishes, and authentic ingredients and drinks, at their restaurant in Brockenhurst and also at their smaller restaurant in Lyndhurst.

If breakfast is your thing, you have to try the Drifter’s Butty – the bacon, pork sausage and fried egg they serve at The Beaulieu Hotel. Or check in for diner there to enjoy dishes such as roast hake loin, celeriac puree, fine beans, smoked streaky bacon and red wine jus.

Also in Beaulieu, make time to pop into Monty’s Inn, the relaxed bistro at the historic Montagu Arms, where their burger always goes down superbly for a swift evening snack. Book next door at their Terrace restaurant for some of the best food in the forest, served with flair and impeccable knowledge by their friendly staff, overlooking their exquisite garden. Or why not sample their Afternoon Tea? It’s been judged as one of the best outside London.

Plenty of people know about The Zen Garden, the tasteful little Thai food oasis at Careys Manor in Brockenhurst. It is also the home to the gorgeous Le Blaireau, their exuberant French brasserie, serving the very best Gallic dishes with enthusiasm in an authentic setting. Still at Careys, make time to pop into the newly refurbished Cambium Restaurant where the traditional dishes are interpreted with simplicity and flavour, and they also serve one of the biggest collections of English wine in the country.

If you’re staying in Brockenhurst you are spoiled for choice when it comes to amazing places to eat.

The Pig has become synonymous with this village, where devoted diners tuck into Piggy Bits snacks before repairing to the Victorian-style greenhouse dining room to sample such locally-sourced delights as New Forest partridge with crown prince and juniper sauce. Just one visit will reveal why The Pig is such a popular place to eat.

Its nearby sister hotel, Lime Wood, is equally renowned, especially by those who adore modern Italian cuisine, or food smoked on the premises. Lime Wood’s restaurant, Hartnett Holder, has been gathering awards and admirers for nearly two decades now, and it’s a great place to spot the occasional, off-duty celebrity. Lime Wood’s Kitchen Table is also a fab place to stage an important family meal where they’ll serve you five courses with paired with wonderful wines.

Still in the Brockenhurst area, you can dine on venison from the New Forest or wild mushrooms foraged from the local woodlands at New Park Manor Hotel, an ancient Royal hunting lodge with wonderful parkland views. Savour fish freshly caught from the nearby coast, along with dishes flavoured with locally grown vegetables and herbs from their own gardens.

Cheese lovers should check out the Balmer Lawn Hotel’s Beresford Restaurant, which claims its cheese board ‘has to be seen to be believed’. But not before you’ve enjoyed a course or three from their highly-rated menu, which changes according to the seasons and availability of the local produce that their chef loves to use.

Prime, hand-cut steaks farmed in the Wiltshire and Somerset countryside, aged for 28 days and seasoned with thyme and butter take centre stage on the menu at the 1820 Grill & Brasserie at Forest Lodge Hotel in Lyndhurst. Check out their other brasserie classics, too.

One of their sister hotels, Bartley Lodge, which is near Lyndhurst, will serve you a signature salmon and ginger fishcake with Asian slaw, sesame and peanut chilli and spring onion and coriander, as well as old favourites with a twist, such as bubble & squeak linguine with a crispy hen’s egg, for starters or mains. Again, it’s relaxed dining in a chic atmosphere.

As well as a beautiful restaurant overlooking the river, The Mill at Gordleton offers light snacks or a full-blown three-courser. Their proud boast? That everything, from bread to soup to ice-cream – is made from scratch every time.

For an experience where the surroundings are grand – wooden carvings, traditional panelling and a mighty marble fireplace – but the food is unfussy, book yourself into the Armada restaurant at Rhinefield House near Brockenhurst. Enjoy a drink at the bar or on the terrace beforehand, and admire the formal gardens.

There are more beautiful gardens at Moorhill House Hotel at Burley near Ringwood. Their well-chosen, AA rosette cuisine embraces seasonality and the finest produce from the New Forest area.

Staying with Burley, but for something a little different, check out Burley Manor’s wonderful Mediterranean inspired menu – perfect for cold winter evenings and sunny spring days and served in the dining room, or the conservatory overlooking a herd of deer! They have an extensive tapas menu as well as a number of dishes – including some sumptuous puds - all baked in their wood-fired oven and served in stylish surroundings.

If you are looking for the dining experience of a lifetime you will find it at the Chewton Glen, the 5* hotel near New Milton, whose reputation as the place for an unforgettable meal is truly deserved. Many of the ingredients they use have no food miles at all – they have travelled a few hundred yards from Chewton Glen’s own garden to the beautiful dining rooms. According to Tatler magazine: “The menu is utterly delicious and thankfully avoids the sometimes tortured ‘cleverness of country-hotel dining.”

Take a look at our Food & Drink pages to find even more places to eat and drink in the New Forest...

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