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A review of the Balmer Lawn Hotel & Spa, New Forest

By Lisa Daniels

The New Forest’s Balmer Lawn Hotel & Spa is surrounded by open forest where the famous ponies graze alongside the hotel's fences.

Just a 10-minute walk from Brockenhurst train station it is a charming country hotel perfect for a mini-break.

Lisa Daniels went for an explore to learn more...

Balmer Lawn Hotel & Spa (9494761)
Balmer Lawn Hotel & Spa (9494761)

In three acres of grounds, the four-star hotel offers just about everything you’ll need for a comfortable and enjoyable stay. It’s family-friendly and your four-legged friends are welcome too.

For families, there are inter-connecting rooms, a children’s welcome pack and DVD players and PlayStations on request. In school holidays Beresfords, the hotel restaurant, opens early for family meals and offers a children’s menu. There’s also a children’s room, again with DVD players, PlayStations and board games.

The dog-friendly rooms have a water bowl and daily treats, with an outside wash down area and towel.

There’s a pile of wellies and maps of local walks in reception for guests’ use and bike hire can be arranged. (If you bring your own bikes, there’s a wash down area and secure lock up)

Just across from reception is the lounge, with sofas, comfy chairs and a log-burning stove. It’s the perfect place to plan your day ahead, chill before dinner or tuck into lunch or a delicious afternoon tea.

Drinks from the bar include Smokin’ Deer bitter, from Brockenhurst Brewery in the hotel grounds. There’s a large terrace, that wraps around the hotel, for warmer months.

The Balmer Lawn Hotel & Spa has both an indoor and an outdoor pool (c)KenRockwell.com
The Balmer Lawn Hotel & Spa has both an indoor and an outdoor pool (c)KenRockwell.com

Balmer Lawn has both indoor and outdoor pools, a squash court, gym and sauna.

But if that all sounds a little too energetic, the hotel’s Saltus Spa offers a range of massages, facials and body treatments, with single and double treatment rooms.

The hotel’s AA two rosette Beresfords restaurant rightly takes pride in its delicious lunch and dinner menus, featuring locally sourced food and many items made in-house including bread, butter, ice creams and burgers.

As well as the a-la-carte menu, there’s a seven-course tasting menu.

The evening menu at the time of my visit had starters from £7, main meals from £16 and desserts from £8.

The four-poster bedroom (c)KenRockwell.com
The four-poster bedroom (c)KenRockwell.com

Many of the 54 individually designed rooms offer views of the surrounding forest. Bedroom types consist of standard, superior, four poster, family suites and dog-friendly bedrooms.

The hotel currently has a special three-nights-for-the-price-of-two from £149pp (B&B, two sharing a room). The offer also includes 20% off pre booked spa treatments, plus use of the leisure facilities. For an additional £25 per person per night, dinner can be added (to a value of £30 pp). The offer excludes children and family rooms and is subject to availability.

The hotel has special offers throughout the year. For more information and bookings visit www.balmerlawnhotel.com or call 01590 623 116.

Lisa was a guest of the Balmer Lawn Hotel & Spa in Brockenhurst, New Forest

Things to do and see

Lyndhurst: Just a few minutes’ drive from the hotel, Lyndhurst is the home of the New Forest Museum and Visitor Centre so is an ideal place to start any holiday in the area.

New Forest National Park: One of the country’s newest national parks, designated in 2005. Its 218sq miles include 86sq miles of woodland, 141 miles of footpaths and 26 miles of coastland.

The New Forest is famous for its wildlife, particularly its ponies and cattle. Around 3,000 ponies wander freely across the woodland, heathland and roads so take care when driving around as they won’t move out of your way until they’re good and ready!

Lymington: An ancient seaport, it still has a thriving local marine industry. You can take a ferry to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight from here - it takes about half an hour. There are also boat tours and sea fishing trips.

Fordingbridge (9494820)
Fordingbridge (9494820)

Fordingbridge: Famous for its 130ft-long bridge, with seven arches, which was recorded as being in existence in 1286AD. It is one of three ancient stone bridges crossing the River Avon. The original arches are still visible, being smaller in span than the 19th century additions. The town has lots of traditional shops and places to eat.

Bucklers Hard: Two hundred years ago, some of Britain’s most famous naval vessels were built here, including the HMS Agamemnon for Lord Nelson’s fleet. A maritime museum tells the story of Buckler’s Hard from when it was a port importing sugar cane from the West Indies, on through its shipbuilding history and up to present day www.bucklershard.co.uk

Beaulieu National Motor Museum: Chitty Bang Bang, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, we love you… guess what you can see at Beaulieu this year? The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 50 Years exhibition in the motor museum marks the golden anniversary of the popular movie and includes an original screen car driven by Truly Scrumptious and the original Child Catcher carriage, which is on show for the first time. A visit to Beaulieu includes admission to the motor museum, World of Top Gear, On Screen Cars, Secret Army exhibition, the Montagu family home Palace House, its gardens, and Beaulieu Abbey www.beaulieu.co.uk

Marwell Zoo: The 140-acre wildlife park, owned by a conservation charity, is home to hundreds of animals from tigers and snow leopards to giraffes, hippos and penguins. And don’t miss a visit to the stunning Tropical House. Built over two levels with a large aquarium, waterfall and lush planting, the contemporary building offers close encounters with diverse wildlife including birds and butterflies www.marwell.org.uk

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