Absolutely travels to the bucolic New Forest to test out one of the group’s foremost Hotels
Words Hannah Hopkins
Set in the heart of the ever-popular New Forest, The Pig at Brockenhurst was the first of five Pig hotels to open. Created by Robin Hutson and David Elton – who also own The Lime Wood Group and Home Grown Hotels, it retains its fun and unfussy approach to hosting. Billed as a ‘restaurant with rooms’, the focus is very much on its home grown garden food, shabby chic interior and laidback atmosphere which makes it accessible to all. A modern take on a traditional country house hotel, families with young children and couples looking for a chilled-out weekend break will feel most at home here, where Soho House vibes meet a cosy country pub.
Expect eclectic furnishings, personal touches, great beds, oversized showers, ‘larders’ stocked with snacks and drinks, espresso machines and, with every room having a forest or garden outlook, naturally beautiful views. We stayed outside the wisteria-clad main building in the Stables and Piggery – little duplex suites and rooms with their own private courtyards and plenty of original features. For a truly private stay opt for the newly introduced lodges, nestled in the grounds at the start of the hotel drive with rustic wood floors and woody interiors, log fires and rugs along with luxurious beds and linens. Families will love the Pig Lodge which comes with a master and twin bedroom, as well as a spacious sitting room and dining area.
Lunch and dinner takes place in the charming Victorian conservatory with bare wood table tops, mismatched bone handled cutlery, vines, flowers and potted plants. Immediacy from garden to plate is The Pig’s trademark and it’s clear to see from the menu, where anything not grown in the kitchen garden is locally sourced within a 25 mile radius. Everything’s perfectly porcine, including a selection of ‘piggy bits’ (scratchings, chorizo and brawn) to start and a whole lot of other meat on offer. Outside, there’s a wood-fired oven cooking pizzas and flatbreads over the weekend. Breakfast is a banquet of boil-your-own eggs, delicious homemade granola and cakes, miniature pastries and hot food on order.
Out and About
Get out into the country air for a spot of horse riding, archery, falconry, tennis, cycling or rambling. Stock up on seasonal fruit and veg at Warborne Farm, a mile and a half east of Lymington. Visit the vintage cars at the Motor Museum in Beaulieu then walk along the river to Buckler’s Hard (lovely at high tide). Take the ferry from Lymington to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, then hop on an open-top bus to see the Needles. In the hotel, massage treatments can be enjoyed in the ‘potting shed’ by the lake and the hotel bar boasts roaring fires and comfy chairs.
Room rates start from £149 per night. A three-course dinner, excluding wine, will cost around £35. PIG Lodge and PIG House cost from £345 per night midweek and the Forest Cabin is from £250 per night midweek.