Things to see and do in Lyndhurst
PUBLISHED: 10:28 27 October 2014 | UPDATED: 10:28 27 October 2014
The New Forest’s capital remains rooted in the traditions that make this part of Hampshire so special. Yet just like the encircling trees, Lyndhurst continues to turn over a new leaf with fresh attractions on offer
A Potted History
It’s a village with royal connections thanks to William the Conqueror’s New Forest hunting ground. And Doomsday Book records suggest the parish of Lindhyrst - named after the flourishing lime trees, was crisscrossed by ancient trade routes, including the famous Salt Way.
Originally a coaching inn, the Crown Hotel still greets the traveller; however, it’s the Queen’s House and one-time dowry of four consecutive English consorts that boasts the more glittering guestbook. Remodelled during Charles I’s reign, this architectural gem still hosts the Verderer’s Court, preserving historic customs.
Vying for attention, the towering pre-Raphaelite church of St Michael and All Angels has the grave of the ‘real’ Alice in Wonderland, Alice Hargreaves, nee Liddell. Sadly, Lewis Carroll fans need imagination to conjure-up her former Cuffnell’s Estate home, and memorials to Captain Arthur Phillip the Lyndhurst farmer turned 1st Governor of Australia, are equally scarce.
A local racecourse, once trodden by horses, bullocks and even an ox, now resounds to the thwack of golf balls.
During the Great War, grenade training wreaked extensive damage on this heathland course, but even a major WW2 army encampment couldn’t halt nature’s recovery.
My weekend in Lyndhurst
“Living here is brilliant because you’ve got the forest and the beaches close by, and you’re not even that far from London,” says Sue Jones, who works at vintage homeware emporium Shave Green Interiors. “With four children to feed I’ll do my big food shop in Hythe but the shops here also have everything you need.
“I’ve been a local for almost 30 years and cycle as much as I can. In the village, The Fox and Hounds has a new look and is very nice, but five minutes up the road is The Oak at Bank. It’s a tiny pub right in the middle of the forest and is great for bikers and walkers.
“It’s also worth going up to Emery Down and walking across to Acres Down, which is the highest point for miles around; from there you can look right across to the Isle of Wight. I love it, seeing the changing face of the forest through the seasons. As winter approaches it’s all about crisp walks and log fires.”
Shop till you drop
Petrol heads might drool over the Maseratis on Meridien’s forecourt, but just as eye-catching is the latest Fiorelli jewellery collection at Desire by Christopher Stephens. And nearby, more treasures await amongst the collectables in Lyndhurst Antiques Centre.
A complimentary homemade soap (see www.brandnewforest.co.uk) is just one of the reasons to visit the quirky Old Apothecary, or for the gift with a grain Romsey Road’s Down to the Wood has locally-made walking sticks and bowls.
Head back on to the High Street, and equally irresistible, are the wildlife-inspired slates by Hampshire’s Donna Stacey at Shave Green Interiors. Pop next door, to Lyndhurst Gallery and you will find plenty to draw fine art lovers, including new landscapes by local Lyndhurst artist Claire Wiltsher.
Food & drink
Despite an already abundant cream tea scene, Indulgence’s finger lickin’ good cakes are proving a successful addition to Lyndhurst’s High Street; and The Crown Hotel’s ‘New Forest Breakfast’, featuring at least three locally sourced ingredients, is also worth savouring.
Delicious, Cheryl Sweed’s new Romsey Road deli, stocks Tunworth amongst its cheeses, and is becoming a one-stop shop for picnic treats or hampers. And prepare to have your tastebuds tickled at the Producers’ Market on Sunday 5th October, in the Community Centre.
With blends like New Forest Dawn, specialist merchant Tea Total is re-mastering the delights of a freshly brewed cuppa. While Hampshire’s real ales pour forth at the Mailman’s Arms, with Burley pressed New Forest Cider also readily available.
Out & about
While Lyndhurst’s forest ponies roam freely, anyone in awe of otters or dotty about deer will adore getting up-close on a Keeper Experience at New Forest Wildlife Park (www.newforestwildlifepark.co.uk).
Naturally, this National Park’s many trails are perfect for horse riders and cyclists, or if time to explore is short, a funky eco-friendly electric car (www.hireatwizy.co.uk) eats up the miles.
Former ranger Steve Adams (www.fuzzackerguidedwalks.yolasite.com) will also happily take you off the beaten track. But to really burn some calories, a forest fit work-out could be the answer - especially as you can reward yourself with some blissful pampering at the Herb House Spa (www.limewoodhotel.co.uk/pamper).
Visit the New Forest Centre or www.thenewforest.co.uk for all the latest.
Bisected by the A35/A337 south off the M27; buses leave from Southampton and Lymington daily, with a National Express service connecting London Victoria bus station. With Ashurst (New Forest) train station 3 miles away, the Lyndhurst Loop cycle route from Brockenhurst (4 miles) is a traffic-free option. Drivers can avoid village centre congestion by using long stay car parks e.g. at Bolton’s Bench.
Satnav postcode: SO43 7BE
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