A local’s guide to Lyndhurst
PUBLISHED: 10:07 01 December 2020
Photograph supplied by New Forest National Park Authority
Known as the captial of the New Forest, this quintessentially English village was also home to the original Alice in Wonderland
There’s a sweet smell of freshly made fudge drifting from Roly’s Fudge Pantry. Opposite are rows of gleaming sportscars lined up on the forecourt of Meridien Modena – Ferraris, Maseratis and Porsches.
There are touristy tea rooms and high art in the parish church, St Michael & All Angels, with a fresco by Sir Frederic Leighton and fine windows by Pre-Raphaelite artists.
“Curiouser and curiouser!” you may be tempted to exclaim about Lyndhurst. And appropriately so, for Alice in Wonderland lived here, or rather Alice Hargreaves (nee Liddell), the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s heroine, and her ashes are interred in the Hargreaves’ family grave in the church grounds.
But Lyndhurst, in the wonderland that is the New Forest, is full of surprises and finds. This may be a village, but is regarded as the New Forest’s capital as it is home to both the New Forest District Council and the Verderers’ Court, which manages the Forest’s commoning rights, conserving its character, landscape and wildlife.
More discoveries can be made at the understated New Forest Heritage Centre, hidden away behind the High Street.
The Centre includes a great little free museum with lots of imaginative Forest-related displays and family-friendly activities.
In addition, there’s a gallery, shop, café and the Christopher Tower Reference Library, one of the most comprehensive collections of material about the New Forest, which has only recently reopened to the public (booking necessary).
Back on the High Street, the surprises continue in the variety of goodies to browse – including art, antiques, bee design cushions, crafts, cuddly bears, fashion and furniture (Paisley patterned upholstered loveseat anyone?), making Lyndhurst nifty for Christmas gift buying if you want to find something individual and special while supporting local.
Luke Holder, Chef Director & Partner with Angela Hartnett, Hartnett Holder & Co, Lime Wood
Five years in the making, Lime Wood is a country house hotel that’s described as laid-back luxury at its best.
Features include HH&CO, Lime Wood’s relaxed Italian restaurant, HH&CO cookery school with classes from visiting chefs, Herb House Spa with yoga practised in the rooftop herb garden, and Cottages, Hideaways and Lake Cabin to stay in, all found in the stunning grounds.
Luke’s Local Life
“When I first came to Lime Wood what struck me was how quaint and quintessentially English Lyndhurst felt – until you see the Ferrari garage.”
A secret: “Bolton’s Bench, a local landmark at the start of Beaulieu Road, is said to have a dragon buried underneath it.”
Something quirky: “Lyndhurst is rumoured to have the highest concentration of tea rooms in the UK! (Don’t quote me on that!)”
Favourite pub: “The Crown Stirrup as it’s just outside the main tourist spots and has a wonderful beer garden and decent food.”
Restaurant: “Anissa’s Thai Kitchen. Having lived in Thailand for two years, I love Thai food and the team here do it really well and they are a super nice bunch as well.”
Shop: “Sweet Thoughts, as I‘m a sucker for old fashioned sweets, it has a feel of times gone by, and the kids love it.”
Evening out: “HH&CO of course! Great cocktails, warm welcome, brilliant wines and delicious food! It’s what I live for!”
Walk: “From Lime Wood to The Pig; it is about 45 minutes. There are great sights and, at the right time of the year, wonderful trompettes, hedgehog mushrooms and penny buns!”
Local event: “Smoked and Uncut (24 July 2021), Lime Wood’s brilliant one-day festival that’s safe, family-friendly with great bands and great food!”
Local attraction: “Exbury Gardens: they’re beautiful, the kids love the train and the ice cream is good, too.”
Emma Barcia, Goose Green
Named after a local landmark where geese roamed freely, Goose Green was opened by Emma in 2015 and has been so popular it recently moved into larger premises.
This is an Aladdin’s cave of a lifestyle store, piled high with cashmere jumpers and jewellery alongside local artwork, upcycled painted furniture, mirrors in reclaimed wood frames and scented candles.
In the run up to Christmas, you will also find festive decorations such as sparkly baubles, garlands of dried oranges and cinnamon, and wicker stars.
Emma’s local life
“Lyndhurst is the capital of the New Forest. Its High Street is full of charm and history, and we have a shopping experience that is truly independent, as Lyndhurst attracts small businesses who keep their businesses fresh and current.”
Favourite pub: “The Stag has had an amazing refurbishment during lockdown. It has the feel of a local pub, but it is a hotel and has a garden hidden round the back.”
Café: “The Greenwood Café. They serve great coffee, amazing baked potatoes and homemade cakes, as well as being really supportive of locals, businesses and visitors alike.”
Walk: “Autumn is the best time to take a stroll in the Forest. If you head out beyond Bolton’s Bench, you’ll quickly find yourself in open Forest where sandy tracks provide a route through the gorse.”
Overnight stay: “Lime Wood is the most eclectic and interesting place to stay!”
Local attraction: “Bolderwood, along Ornamental Drive, is magical with a short walk to a viewing platform where you are able to see the majestic stags. The Autumn rutting season gives an added spectacle.”
READ MORE: A local’s guide to Winchester
Ian Tiffen, Tip & Leaves
Ian and Kelly Tiffen launched Tips & Leaves in 2013, after returning from seven years at sea.
They sell a wide range of premium loose leaf from renowned estates across the world, from classic breakfast blends to exclusive bespoke teas.
Normally Tips & Leaves would be found at food festivals and country shows. At present you can find them online at tipsnleaves.com or at Tip, Leaf & Bean, Ian and Kelly’s own tea and coffee lounge (with coffee from Anvil Coffee, Hampshire-roasted and delicious), found in the New Forest Heritage Centre.
Ian’s Local Life
“What a friendly community this is! We have been so well supported with our business ventures and are fortunate not only to live in a beautiful part of the world but be surrounded by a caring, welcoming community.”
A secret: “The first Governor of New South Wales, Admiral Arthur Phillip (who led the British settlement and colonisation of Australia) once lived in Lyndhurst.”
Favourite pub: “Waterloo Arms, a thatched inn on Pike Hill, has friendly service and great food.”
Café: “We are biased as we run the coffee lounge in the New Forest Heritage Centre, providing a warm welcome, freshly ground coffee, a wide selection of loose-leaf tea, delicious cakes and more.”
Restaurant: “Tough choice, but we love Anissa’s Thai Kitchen, the menu is very authentic and the family who run it are so friendly. We also enjoy Passage to India, good quality Indian food, and Berties for the best fish and chips around.”
Shop: “We’re lucky to have an eclectic mix of independents on the High Street. We enjoy popping into Burrow & Hide for interior design inspiration, Down to the Wood for Perry’s creations, and Paws in the Forest for John and Maggie’s collection of bears. Also worth a visit are Pages and the New Forest Heritage Centre.”
Evening out: “Monday night quiz at the Fox & Hounds, great fun unless you choose the wrong prize at the end (coming first does not guarantee the best prize)!”
Walk: “We love wandering across Bolton’s Bench with our cockapoo Gracie, then back across Beaulieu Road through Pondhead Inclosure, a conservation area, or to Bank with a stop at the Oak Inn.”
Overnight stay: “The Crown Manor House is a very warm and welcoming hotel but Lyndhurst also has some amazing B&Bs, including Clayhill House, Whitemoor House and Rosedale.”
Fitness classes: “For a little luxury, treat yourself to a visit to Lime Wood, however there are also some great fitness classes at Lyndhurst Community centre.”
Hair salons: “We’re spoilt for choice, but can recommend Beau Chic and Evolve, both offer a range of treatments and the staff are very friendly.”
Local event: “The Remembrance Day Parade is usually well attended and we love the Christmas lights switch on.”
Day out for kiddies: “Our nephews always enjoy a trip to the New Forest Wildlife Park!”