What’s on offer in the village of Burley

PUBLISHED: 15:33 22 August 2016


With stories of witches and smugglers, visitors have always had a fascination with Burley. However this pretty New Forest village has much more to offer than myths and legends says Claire Pitcher

Village souvenir

There’s a sprinkling of wonderful independent shops in Burley. If you’re looking for a gift for someone with a sweet tooth, head to Burley Fudge. If you’re brave, you could try their delicious chocolate chilli flavour.

At Lawfords you can pick up some fine china, ceramics, pottery and brown glass among many other tempting items.

The Magpie’s Nest stocks stunning jewellery, as well as many gift items and unique homewares. Titan Leathercraft is another fascinating shop to peruse. On sale they have leather bags, photo album covers, phone and tablet covers, plus lots of cute gift items made from leather.

Where to stay

There are plenty of campsites in the forest if you like staying under canvas. In the village, you could check in to the Burley Manor Hotel. The former royal manor has lovely rooms (from £117) and oak-panelled restaurant specialising in Mediterranean food. Book online at www.burleymanor.com.

Alternatively, spend a night or two at The Burley Inn. This traditional pub has 11 rooms (from £100) and a good restaurant selling classic pub dishes. Go online to www.theburleyinn.co.uk.

Village voice

Mary Topp and the rest of the Topp family have been producing cider in Burley for 28 years.

“My father, Barry Topp, first set up the business in 1988 when we moved back to his family smallholding from Cornwall.”

When Barry first started it was just him making cider, selling from the old dairy, which was set up as a shop.

“Years later the whole family is involved in the business. We now have a cider bar in London’s Borough Market - we have opened our own ‘Cider Pantry’ tearooms and restaurant on the farm in Burley and have six B&B rooms for guests to enjoy our wonderful village and the New Forest,” says Mary.

As well as the delicious cider, she also has a few other ideas on what makes this village so popular.

“It has such a rich and fascinating history - witches, smugglers, dragons…how could anyone not be curious about its mystical roots? The central village has a sense of quintessential England, with its thatched cottages, roaming forest ponies, cattle and pigs, surrounded by a big blanket of ancient trees that dutifully watch on and protect it. It’s almost like it’s in a little bubble. I think people can’t help but be spellbound by the beauty of Burley.”

Mary loves where she lives and when she gets the opportunity, she loves to run in the forest.

“At home however, I have a little garden where I enjoy growing vegetables, that keeps me busy in the summer evenings. And walking up to the green to watch Burley play Cricket on a summer’s evening is just lovely.”

Did you know?

The Queen’s Head pub, built in the 16th century, was notorious for smugglers and highwaymen. A hidden cellar was discovered beneath the floor of the ‘Stable bar’, full of pistols, bottles and coins, it was believed to be one of the historic hiding places.

Top 5 things to do

• See the local wildlife on a New Forest Deer Safari (www.newforestsafari.co.uk)

• Take in the picturesque lanes and forest with Burley Wagon Rides (www.wagonrides.co.uk)

• See the landscape on horseback. Ride out from Burley Manor Stables (www.burleymanorridingstables.com)

• There’s plenty of forest to explore on two wheels. Hire a bike from New Forest Cycle Hire (www.forestleisurecycling.co.uk)

• Visit the Coven of Witches to buy a ‘lucky witch’ (www.covenofwitches.co.uk)

Grabbing a bite

At the Cider Pantry, you can enjoy a choice of salads, sandwiches and classic dishes. They serve breakfast too. Visit them online at www.newforestcider.co.uk. Try dinner at The Burley Inn, owned by the New Forest Pub Company. They serve homemade pies and many more pub dishes, as well as roasts on a Sunday. Book a table on 01425 403448 and see www.theburleyinn.co.uk.

If you fancy picking up a few nibbles for a picnic in the New Forest, go to Burley-Licious. It’s also great for tea, coffee and cake, or a lunchtime sandwich. Call them on 01425 402436.

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