Easter Food Trails of the New Forest

Having a baby in tow makes bank holidays a little less far flung than they used to be, so this Easter we stayed local by escaping to the New Forest. 

Having not spent much time in the area, C was keen to meet the locals and wasted no time getting acquainted with the wild donkeys and horses. 

We booked into a destination hotel in the tiny village of Sway. The village was average, but was a great base to explore, and they served up some Master Chef worthy dishes. Fortunately, as we hadn’t really thought through the baby sleeping arrangements, we had a spacious bathroom so we could relax properly in the evenings. 

On our first evening, we got lost in the forest with a pushchair, fell in a stream and finally found some rambling paths. A not so successful intro to the area. 

Searching online we found a list of family friendly walks, dubbed as food trails. So over the weekend we ticked as many boxes as we could, starting with the Beaulieu trail.  A little behind schedule, we skipped the quaint tea-rooms, and medieval castle, and started on the path. 

The route takes you along an estuary river and through the woods towards the Master Builders Arms. We opted for the ergo carrier, but could’ve taken the pushchair as the path splits into a more adventurous track and a bike/stroller friendly path. 

It was a lovely walk and we enjoyed some drinks in the beer garden, but unfortunately the food was pretty mediocre. We made up for it with a massive ice cream. 

Fortunately we made up for a poor lunch with a great dinner at the Fox & Hounds, in Lyndhurst. In hindsight this would have been an even better base with The Oak Inn on the outskirts of town serving the best meal of the trip. 

Our next food trail was a circular route starting in Burley. There’s a load of witchcraft tat for sale (no idea why), but the other shops are the real draw. We spent a small fortune on locally made fudge, tried a variety of ciders and sampled some delectable ice cream.

Before our sugar high we set off on our walk (about 2m/45 mins) that saw us march through woods, traverse moorland passes and mavitgate past wilds horses. The scrub was in full bloom everywhere the eye could see; a beautiful contrast to a fine summer’s day sky. 

Eventually we reached our destination – The White Buck. This gastropub was the perfect choice with a large garden, allowing C to roll around on a picnic blanket, as well as serving up an excellent Easter roast. Book ahead. 

Well fuelled, we dropped the car back at the hotel and hoped a local train to Lymington. The ride was beautifully scenic as well as allowing the freedom to enjoy a few evening beers and the weather. 

We wandered the lanes of this quaint harbour town, before snagging a table, at The Ship Inn, watching the water and enjoying the sun’s final rays. 

Overall, we really enjoyed our trip – a truly English bank holiday getaway – but we’d likely stay somewhere else if we do it again. Lyndhurst would’ve been a better base to offer variety in the evenings, but I think we’d choose a true destination hotel, like The Pig, next time. 

Until then…


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