Review: The Pig Hotel, The New Forest
Before you even get to the Pig you have to drive through the New Forest where there are countless wild ponies grazing around the swampy maroon coloured lands. This was my first time visiting this part of England and I loved it! It has such a wonderful magical atmosphere with the horses and tall fern trees and you can’t help but drive in first gear to fully appreciate it. When you finally approach the drive of the old country house in Brockenhurst you are instantly transported to a world of peace and tranquility away from the city. I went during the run-up to Christmas and you could already see the glowing festive lights through the sitting room windows including a rather bushy, heavily decorated tree. From the outside the house reminded me of something that the Bennet’s from Pride and Prejudice would inhabit and the grounds are surrounded by fields with a few cows dotted about. I had heard that this was a nice hotel but I just felt that there was something extra special about it.
As soon as we arrived we headed to our rooms located in the ‘Pig Shed’ where the old stables used to be. We had a comfy lux room which had an enormous free-standing bath and a pretty 4-poster bed with windows that overlooked the pig field. The rooms where cosy with lots of cream bedding and wooden floors. There was also an old-fashioned radio playing classic FM when we arrived and to top it off there were homemade flapjacks by the telly. After settling in we went for a quick lunch in their main restaurant which is a site to be seen! It was a sunny day so the light was flooding into the conservatory dinning room that had a colourful mix-matched tiled floor and was filled with plants. Just from this room you already knew that the restaurant was going to offer something good. To begin we were offered some incredible just baked bread with local butter and a herb infused olive oil that had aromas of rosemary and thyme. The menu reminds you about how passionate they are about promoting local seasonal produce and foraged food with even a map showing where everything comes from. I particularly enjoyed the ‘Mostly picked this morning’ section and ordered the mushrooms on toast with poached egg (pictured above). I was eating up every part of this food experience and it was a welcome surprise as it can be difficult to find a good quality, locally grown food restaurant in the UK and this was up there.
For the remainder of the day we went for a walk in the New Forest to explore and take some photos of the iconic wild ponies in the stunning surroundings. You can borrow wellies or bikes for this and there are many different routes which means that you can find plenty to do over a weekend. After our walks it was back to relax in one of the comfy sitting rooms by the fire with a coffee and pick from their cake and cookie selection. This was all very hygge let me tell you! Later we walked round the gardens to meet the chickens who laid my lunchtime eggs and the two pet pigs who have been around since it’s opening five years ago. After completing some last minute work it was back to the main house for an aperitif in the perfectly designed bar room for a prosecco and some ‘piggy bits’ of crackling and pork scratchings. The dinning room was buzzing on this Thursday night and it clearly is a favourite locals hangout as well as for hotel clients. I felt it was rude not to go for the slow cooked pig for mains considering where we were and again it was delicious!
The next day the breakfast selection is vast and you can either choose from the buffet of granola, eggs, toast, poached fruit or a menu of full English, their in-house smoked salmon, local cured bacon with any style of eggs. I have been so tied up with talking about the food but it is also worth mentioning that the staff were amazing and helpful with any request. Not to mention the head chef Dan who kindly showed us round the vegetable garden and inside his kitchen (see video). I honestly wish there were more places like The Pig in England where they care about the produce to this degree. I know we are getting better and more restaurants and hotels are emerging but its hotels like this that almost rival places in Italy where everything comes from the land and is prepared simply. This is definitely worth a visit!
Beaulieu Rd, Brockenhurst SO42 7QL