Words: Hannah Freeman
Just a couple of days in the New Forest provides the perfect antidote to the stress of the city – a huge national park boasting acres of green, picture postcard villages and limitless cream teas… what more could you ask for?
Well, if its a manor house full of boutique rooms, a tranquil spa and Mediterranean- inspired dining, look no further than Burley Manor. It’s the cosy country retreat you’ve been searching for.
Set within the picturesque hamlet of Burley, surrounded by undulating park land as far as the eye can see, the boutique retreat even boasts its own private deer herd who roam around the grounds of this former royal abode from dusk ’til dawn .
For the adventurous, you can hire bicycles from the local rental shop a mere stones throw away from the hotel. Within five minutes of peddling, you’ll find yourself deep in the heart of the forest surrounded by trees and wild ponies. Alternatively, if you prefer something more leisurely, there’s the option of lounging around the outdoor pool – particularly refreshing on a hot summer’s day.
The baronial manor boasts elegant décor alongside all the contemporary amenities you’d expect from a boutique abode. Classically styled bedrooms –think crisp white sheets, king size beds, roll top baths alongside flat screen TV, coffee making, homemade cookies, and luxury Temple Spa products.
The cosy bar area provides a snug setting where you can enjoy a lazy evening read, a romantic date night or an aperitif with friends before dinner. Gin cocktails were the seasonal speciality of the enthusiastic bar team during our visit. They kindly spent a good half hour talking us through the local and international craft spirits, offering personal recommendations along the way, we only wish we’d had the time to try every one!
I think this was one of the best 55 minutes of relaxation of my life, thanks to the lovely Adriana at the on-site luxury spa, who gently soothed away all my muscle aches with a fantastic Swedish style massage using aromatic lavender oil. I nearly fell asleep twice it was so good! Another bonus is that the spa’s products are also stocked in your own personal bathroom so you can continue to indulge long after your treatment…
Seasonal, local ingredients & Mediterranean flavours inspire the weekly tapas-style menu at Burley Manor. Dining is pretty informal in the main restaurant however, if you’re after something a little more special, there’s the option to book an exclusive ‘Butler’s Pantry ’ – this wonderful private dining experience at the chef’s table allows you and your companions a view straight into the heart of the kitchen.
The best bit
Proximately to the national park was a huge part of the appeal, however it was the beautiful rooms, decor and stunning grounds that really made our stay super special, watching the deer frolic in the fields every evening was an utter joy.
The need to know
Address: 1 Ringwood Rd, Burley, Ringwood BH24 4BS
Rates: Stays at Burley Manor start from £159 per room per night on a B&B basis