Why go? If you want to escape London for the weekend, there’s no better place than the original country retreat: The Pig at Brockenhurst (rooms from £155). The original of the franchise (there are now six, with three more opening soon), it’s easy to see why it was an instant hit since opening in 2009. It’s just the right side of rustic, with a touch of chic. The main house is a homely wisteria-covered abode, housing just 26 rooms. Outside, a charming courtyard and lush gardens, complete with a swing where you can admire the forest.
Stay in: Whilst the individually-decorated cosy rooms of the main house are worth the detour, if you really fancy a treat – or simply want to be away from it all – then the newly opened Bert’s Box (from £360 per night), a short stroll from the main building, is where it’s at. Designed with London architecture firms Bert & May and Box 9, it’s the perfect compromise between modern and rustic. Think an 800 square foot box with floor to ceiling windows overlooking fields where, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot deer grazing.
It’s deceptively big too, with a separate lounge, TV room, bathroom with walk-through rain shower, and master bedroom. The kitchen comes equipped with all amenities should you wish to stay in and cook, and on arrival you’ll find fresh eggs (from the estate’s hens of course) and bread.
The vibe: Whether you’re staying one night or one week (lucky you), you’ll dust off any stress in no time. Simply walk around the grounds, enjoy a spa treatment or sit outside your box at sunset in one of the giant wooden chairs, sip a glass of bubbly and enjoy nature at its best.
What to eat: The food is one of The Pig’s main draws, and a lot of locals come here to eat without staying over. Food is cooked with garden produce and locally sourced ingredients where possible. Try the Piggy bits (including crackling and ham) for snacks, followed by more pork served with seasonal greens, and perhaps lemon basil posset for pudding.
For breakfast, try not to go overboard with the extensive buffet. They have everything from homemade granola and fruit preserves to freshly baked bread, freshly laid eggs and pastries. Or you can order off the menu, but trust me, you won’t need to.