My friends and I arrived into New Milton Train Station. Two of us as desperate for the toilet as someone who’s been holding out for the station toilets over the train’s for the last hour, can be. We’d polished off a huge sausage roll, a tub of M&S Rocky Roads and a bottle of Buck’s Fizz, between the three of us. Well, two of us, Katie doesn’t drink, or feel the need to gorge on chocolate at 11am having already had breakfast.
Was probably mostly me to be fair.
Anyway, we’d managed to catch the train from Waterloo and Clapham Junction between us and we’d arrived on the edge of the New Forest, £49 return ticket lighter and in just under two hours.
With the train station toilets out of order we dashed to the Costa Coffee we’d found nearby on Google Maps. Unlike London they didn’t even look when we barged in, bags flying everywhere and without purchasing a thing, just to use the toilet. Didn’t even blink an eye.
A Weekend in the New Forest
Enjoy the Great British countryside
And we were off. We’d come to the New Forest to check out the newly renovated Hoburne Bashley Holiday Park for the weekend, and to get away from the Big Smoke.
For some reason – probably related to the fact it was noon and we were already 1000 calories down – we decided to walk to Hoburne Bashley from the station. Google Maps told us it was only 1.6 miles.
For an area so well-renowned for walking, it was quite the shock to have the pavement run out half way there. The only option was to walk along the road. The super busy Sway Road. It only took a few minutes for a passing motorist to wind down her window and shout at us for being so stupid, and to walk on the other side.
We stood there, looking at each other, all leather jackets and fancy sunglasses, stumbling with our rolling luggage up the country lanes. And we carried on. Well we were nearly at the huge, long drive, leading up to the Holiday Park and cars were swinging round the corners on the other side. One last push and we’d be there.
Top tip: Don’t even bother with the struggle, get a taxi.
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Stay in a Platinum Plus Caravan
We checked in to our Platinum Plus Caravan, meant for six, but at that point we were three, Fiona, Katie and me, with Michelle coming to join us later. The sign outside named it as ‘Blenheim’, so of course we had to add the ‘Palace’ to refer to it from then on.
(Handy reference if you don’t know what Blenheim Palace is)
Ok, quick rundown of what you can expect…
– a double room with TV, ensuite toilet and sink
– two twin rooms
– a shower room with toilet and sink
– big kitchen-cum-diner-cum-lounge with all the amenities you’ll need
– terrace with table and chairs
– a fire
– huge TV and DVD Player
The Hoburne Bashley caravans are more ‘mobile home’ than caravan. Beds were comfy and we all slept soundly, and with four of us in the six-bedder there was enough space too.
Katie totally unpacked, making her room seem very homely. The rest of us just went for the more relaxed approach with mess wherever there was space. But there were enough wardrobes and cupboards, depending on the approach you’d like to go for.
The New Forest is well known as one of the best places in the UK to go on a walking holiday. There are too many miles of trails and road to count, and so many pubs to visit on the way round you’ll never get to them all. If you stay at the Hoburne Bashley Holiday Park you’re right on the edge of all the fun, and if you have a car or bikes it’s easy to get involved.
There were rental bikes available but we were never quite organised enough to get them sorted, so we walked. We walked for miles. Twelve in fact on that first day.
If you go out the back of the Holiday Park you’re right in the New Forest and can wander between the pretty villages and farms.
We walked to Sway, had some cheesy beans on toast at the Sway Deli, and then back through Tiptoe and past all the farm animals. Had to get the photo above, obviously.
By the time we got back to our caravan, 12 miles later, we were pooped. We cranked the fire up, had a cup of tea and vegged out in front of some food programme on TV to get up a hunger for dinner time.
Eat at The Plough Inn for dinner
The Plough Inn is just a few minutes’ drive from Hoburne Bashley, and about a 15-minute walk. Don’t walk it though. When I rang to book our table she told us it was really dangerous, kind of stupid, and to get a taxi.
The Plough Inn is a really cute pub. Definitely the kind you want to relax in after a day’s walking in the New Forest – all tartan seats, and roof beams and olde pub style. I went for the curry, which I wasn’t too impressed by to be honest, but who orders a curry in a pub anyway?
The girls had scampi, sausage and mash and lasagne between them, all of which looked yum.
We ordered the taxi at the end of our meal and it was going to be 30 minutes, so the bar lady DROVE US HOME. Amazing. We snuggled in to watch Devil Wears Prada and I promptly fell asleep on the sofa about 20 minutes later. All tuckered out.
And The Pig for lunch
From what I can gather Brockenhurst is the epicentre of the New Forest. It’s here where one of the best restaurants in the area is, The Pig.
The building was stunning. A grand house with a fancy restaurant – you need to book – or you can just eat flatbreads on the terrace or by the fire without a reservation. Which was exactly the option we went for.
I present to you, the chilli and chorizo flatbread. My days it was delicious. Katie had the same, while Fiona and Michelle went for the meatballs, which apparently scored a 4.5 out of 5. Easier on the salt next time.
I’d love to come back here for a dinner and to stay over. And to try all the delicious looking alcohol behind the bar. Next time.
From here we walked to Brockenhurst, a long way round, which covered about 7 miles in the New Forest. Check out this stunning double rainbow we saw as we were trying to work out which way to go…
That night we’d booked to go to the Fallen Tree Restaurant, but unfortunately the chef had to cancel his shift because he was ill. So the restaurant phoned and SAID THEY’D FIND US SOMEWHERE ELSE – don’t you think that’s amazing?
They ended up booking us into The Huntsman. As soon as we arrived we knew we’d be ok, all our gastronomic needs would be taken care of. The pub / restaurant was cosy, modern and the kind of place you could imagine spending a few hours in.
Try the Huntsman Experience
– bad photo, soz, camera ran out
We started with a baked camembert between us. Incredible. Absolutely incredible.
Then I went for the pulled pork burger, which unfortunately was a little heavy when I think of my favourite burger, at Honest. Still good though, I’m just fancying myself as a bit of a restaurant reviewer here. I mean, I still somehow managed to eat every last tiny morsel.
And for dessert we had some sort of deconstructed cheesecake between us, unfortunately not as good looking as the Pavlova which we decided against, so I’d go for that if I was you. Pavlova is actually my most favourite dessert in the world, if you’d ever wondered.
Stay at Hoburne Bashley Holiday Park
On the Saturday we woke up to absolute torrential rain pounding on our mobile home rooftop. You could see it bouncing off the caravan opposite.
So we decided it was the perfect opportunity to check out the Holiday Park facilities. We went to check out the swimming pool, which the day before had had one person in, today, a rainy Saturday was teeming with children. Making noise, running around, squealing, y’know, being kids. Seeing as we’d come all this way (about 30 steps across the Holiday Park!) we went for it.
There was a jacuzzi, a sauna, a steam room, a big pool and plenty of changing room space too.
We also had a play on the machines inside the arcade over there – Fiona won at least 20p. There was also an outdoor pool and a restaurant and bar too.
Back at our caravan we cooked up the eggs and bacon we’d bought, alongside the croissants we’d bought from the Nisa shop on site. Best thing about walking is that you can eat more, guilt free.
Use taxis to get around
A weekend in the New Forest would be easier with a car, but it’s not totally necessary. And at least with public transport everyone can make the most of the beers at the pub. Here’s how much we paid for taxis over the weekend…
– Hoburne Bashley to The Plough Inn = £4
– Hoburne Bashley to The Pig = £18
– The Huntsman to Hoburne Bashley = £16
– Hoburne Bashley to New Milton Train Station = £7
I mean, between 4 it’s not that much is it?
I feel the need to recommend Galleon Taxis, on 01425 611111, we used them every time over the weekend and every driver was delightfully chatty. One did warn us about the dead ponies they often find round there though. He said it was usually the tourists, as they don’t expect the ponies (who have public right of way in the New Forest) to be there and so accidents happen. If you are taking your car, be careful of the little fellas.
Enjoy a weekend in the New Forest
Spending the weekend in the New Forest at Hoburne Bashley Holiday Park was great. It was easy to get to on the train (just get that taxi to the park) and was so relaxing when we were there. Unfortunately my friends had to leave on the Sunday morning, so we didn’t get to do the planned bike riding and even more eating that day.
The Hoburne Bashley Holiday Park is a great option if you’re looking for a good value place to stay for a group. Prices start at around £357 for a Platinum Plus caravan. They regularly post offers on their website too.
There are lots of fancy hotels about, but if you stay here you have the freedom of having a lounge area and kitchen, and it’s well set up for kids and families too.
– I was invited to stay at Hoburne Bashley Holiday Park to try it out. All views above. Let me know if you have any questions!