If you love to explore the great outdoors here is my guide to the perfect New Forest weekend break.
The New Forest National Park is a fabulous place to visit for a long weekend any time of the year, but the month of November is particularly special as it nears the end of autumn. The leaves of the trees that fill the ancient woodland begin to change colour from vibrant greens into beautiful browns, burning oranges and rich reds, creating a spectacular backdrop whether you choose to explore the area by foot or mountain bike.
You might also witness the ancient practice of pannage, where domestic pigs are released into the woods to forage for acorns, beech mast and chestnuts. Not only does this result in Britain’s own Ibérico-style ham, it also protects the New Forest’s free-roaming ponies and cattle, as acorns would be poisonous to them if they ate them in large quantities. If you have missed this year’s pannage season not to worry there are plenty of other things that you can see and do during your stay in the New Forest.
Nestled deep in the New Forest and within 40 acres of beautiful landscaped grounds, your arrival at Rhinefield House it just the start of a very special and unique experience. Once you have settled in, why not enjoy a few pre-dinner drinks in our Lounge Bar with views over our ornamental ponds and fountains? I recommend you try Lymington Gin with a Fever-Tree Tonic or our seasonal cocktail the Turning Leaf. Dinner at our 2AA Rosette restaurant The Armada will be extremely memorable with our head chef creating a menu that changes with the seasons using produce from local fields, woodland and farms and the nearby Lymington quay for fresh fish. Alternatively, for less formal dining we offer guests the chance to relax in our contemporary Grill Room restaurant.
With the choice of a hot breakfast cooked to order in addition to a cold delicious buffet, you will be perfectly set up for a leisurely walk in the New Forest. With a choice of four walks that you can take from Rhinefield House – ranging from three to seven miles – it is a great way to explore this vast area of stunning heathland and forest, which is bursting with local wildlife.
If you are feeling energetic enough why not hire a bicycle – with 24 hours notice we can organise bike hire and get them delivered to the hotel, or there are plenty of bike hire shops we can recommend – and explore the endless trails and tarmacked roads, stopping at villages and local attractions such as the New Forest Wildlife Park. With all that exercise under your belt, you won't feel too guilty about indulging in a traditional afternoon tea with us, or perhaps one might prefer a treatment at our health suite where you can also take a dip in the splash pool and relax in the sauna and steam rooms.
Talking of indulgence, perhaps for your second night with us, you would prefer the dazzling setting of our Alhambra room, which is perfect for a special occasion. Inspired by the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain, and created by Mabel Walker-Munro as a Christmas gift for her husband, onyx from Persia, Venetian glass, bronze and copper (worked by skilled Moorish coppersmiths) all adorn the walls and ceiling.
After a leisurely breakfast, why not head to the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu – home to over 250 vehicles from F1 cars to land speed record breakers. A ticket will also get you entry into the Palace House, once the gatehouse of the medieval Beaulieu Abbey, and now the Montagu family family residence 1538, and its charming grounds and gardens. After a spot of lunch in any one of Beaulieu’s delightful tearooms, make sure you visit the magnificently preserved 18th century shipbuilding village of Bucklers Hard, where warships for Nelson’s Navy were built and three of which took part in the Battle of Trafalgar.
Lined with quite literally hundreds of walking and biking paths it is so easy to explore the wonders of this fairy-tale-like forest and Rhinefield House has everything you need for a perfect long weekend break.
For our walking maps and routes please speak to reception who will be happy to help.