Wednesday, 5 March 2014

My guide to eating out in Lyndhurst

My simple guide to eating out in Lyndhurst
I am not going to put these in order of preference, it's just as I think of them and I may miss a few out this time round but I can always do a part 2.  
Also just so that you know - all of the pubs and restaurants mentioned are children friendly as we have 2 of our own.

The Waterloo Arms, Pikes Hill, Lyndhurst (pub)
This 17th century thatched pub is tucked away just off the A337 on the edge of the village.  It's still within walking distance at about a 10 minute stroll.  It is full of character with open log fires in the winter and the best pub garden in the village in the summer.  The menu is a little more original than most pubs and everything that I have tried so far has been delicious.  The atmosphere is very friendly and quite often they have things going on like musicians, quiz, garden parties & BBQ's.  The only criticism I have of this pub is that it's slightly more expensive than the others in the village but they have for the last few years done a 10% discount card on food for all our guests.

The Fox & Hounds (pub)‎
This is another traditional village pub with log fires and beams.  It recently changed ownership to the Fuller's Brewery and since then we have not been in to eat, however it was always consistently good food, very reliable. The pubs prominent location in the High Street means that it is always popular with tourists and our guests feedback so far has all been good.  It has a small rear patio and a semi separate indoor area for families.

La Pergola (restaurant)‎
This is at the very bottom end of the High Street just after the fire station.  A fantastic authentic family run Italian restaurant which is usually extremely busy, I would certainly recommend booking between Easter - October to avoid disappointment.  You can sit in or out as it has a pretty patio garden and also an outdoor play area to entertain the children.  The food and service here is fantastic - the best ravioli I've ever had! Being a restaurant it is little more expensive but definitely worth it, ideal for special occasions.

Imperial China (restaurant)
This is opposite the traffic lights at the top of the High Street.  A fantastic Chinese restaurant which again is usually extremely busy and I would recommend booking between Easter - October.  All indoor seating in a very elegant setting and the food is amazing - the best prawn toast I've ever had! The service is extremely efficient and friendly, another ideal place for a special occasion. Being a restaurant it is little more expensive but definitely worth it.
They do also offer a take away menu if you are unable to eat in.

Siam Thai Lounge (restaurant)‎
This is next door to the Fox & Hounds in the High Street.  Really nice food although the menu is a little hard to understand but the staff are very attentive and nothing is too much trouble.  All indoor seating over 2 floors .

Prezzo (restaurant)‎
Placed in between the Fox & Hounds and the Imperial China.  A lovely old converted building with lots of old features.  They are part of a chain but even so the food is lovely and affordable.  All indoor seating and it's not that big so it may be wise to book in advance.   There is also a take away option if you are unable to eat in.

The Mailmans Arms (pub)‎
Situated at the bottom of the High Street next to the Ferrari garage.  During the summer this pub is ideally situated for sitting outside at the front and watching the world go by while dreaming of owning a Ferrari that's parked right next to you.  It's probably the best decorated pub in the village with masses of beautiful flowers from early summer and then Christmas lights in December.  The area out the front is always the centre of the Christmas Fun Day and also the Christmas lights switch on ceremony.  There is also an enclosed rear garden that is ideal for the kids as they can't get out and it has a lovely lawn for them to play on.  The food ranges from very simple things like bangers & mash that are very reasonably priced to more expensive and slightly more sophisticated food, all of which is very nice.
They also do a lovely carvery on Sundays, the only one actually in the village and children under 10 eat free with each full paying adult.
These do participate in the "Brand New Forest" card scheme.

Passage to India (restaurant)‎
Situated just on the A337 from the High Street at the traffic lights.  It's an unusual shaped restaurant so it doesn't seat quite as many as you would think from the outside and it's looked the same inside & out ever since we moved here in 2002.  The food is very nice although I have to be honest and mention that more than once I have specifically asked them to leave out the coriander and it's still been all over my meal - therefore it's been sent back to the kitchen.  Just a little personal niggle really.

The Curry Leaf (restaurant)‎
We have only eaten here once for Fred's birthday and I have to say I was really impressed.  The staff were all great, the food was delicious - with no coriander!  The price was very reasonable and the atmosphere and decoration was fresh, modern and very relaxed.

My guide to eating out in places further a field

High Corner Inn, Linwood
We ate here last night for my early birthday meal a little bit by accident really (as the Red Shoot Inn wasn't doing food) but I was really glad that we did.  Just as we pulled up in the car we were met by a funny New Forest pony trying to get through the old fashioned turnstile as if he'd just been in for a drink, the bar tender then proceeded to come out and let the pony out of the main gate, and he wandered of - just a little insight into the quirkiness of most of the pubs out in the Forest.  It's a very welcoming pub with a massive inglenook style log fire to great you and very friendly staff.  Even the other customers in there were extremely friendly and with it being a dog friendly pub there were 3 dogs there and our children loved them.  One lady there was on her way to "Crufts" with her Whippet, fingers crossed for them.  The food was delicious and plenty of it, the special Stilton crusted sirloin steak looked amazing and apparently tasted it too.  The setting of this pub really is in the middle of the forest, a real hidden gem, and there are some lovely walks around there too.
These do participate in the "Brand New Forest" card scheme

The Haywain, Bartley‎
This pub does a very nice Carvery every day of the week and  during the week it is such good value for money, it costs £3.75 (I think) per adult  Mon - Sat and then Sun it's more like £7.00 per adult.  You get a generous amount of meat and there is usually 3 different meats to choose from or have all 3, then you can help yourself to as much veg as you can get on your plate.  It does get extremely busy so at peak times you will have to queue and wait but other than that it's unbeatable really.  The prices of the drinks here are also probably the cheapest in the area too and they do offer other meals as well as the carvery.

Other places where we have eaten and would recommend but it's been a while

White Buck Inn, Burley
This is a very impressive former country mansion that has substantial grounds including a great semi hidden play trail for the kids.  The garden seems to catch the sun just about all day long but if you prefer you can sit in and enjoy the very elegant decoration.  I always think that you feel like you have been somewhere special and out of the ordinary when you go here.  We have been here very recently for a drink, but we haven't eaten for a while, although when we did the food was really nice.
These do participate in the "Brand New Forest" card scheme

The Oak Inn, Bank‎
A lovely pub but quite small so it gets busy very quickly.  A lovely outdoor sheltered area and a garden too - very popular with cyclists.
These do participate in the "Brand New Forest" card scheme

The Swan, Lyndhurst
On the edge of Lyndhurst on the A35.  It has a nice garden with an outdoor play area but it is on the road side.  Very nicely decorated inside and the food was lovely the last time we ate there.  We used to go quite frequently until we moved house.  
These do participate in the "Brand New Forest" card scheme

The New Forest Inn, Emery Down‎
Very nice traditional pub with a lovely garden.  This pub has previously been host to the fantastic talent competition - The Forest's Got Talent, in conjunction with the Trusty Servant at Minstead & Wave 105 radio station.  We have had lovely food here but it was a while ago.

The New Forest Hotel, Ashurst‎
This pubs caters for most of the campers at Ashurst campsite so it really can get busy although it is a very large pub with an even bigger garden.  There is a nice play area that is fenced in to keep the kids safe and a huge lawn area to play on, although it does go all the way to the main road.  We have had some very nice food here and it's very nicely decorated inside with a very relaxed feel about it. 
These do participate in the "Brand New Forest" card scheme

Sir Walter Tyrell, Brook
A great outdoor play area here for children - probably one of the largest I've seen at a pub.  The food was very nice but only ever sat outside.  It is a bit in the middle of no where but very near to the famous Rufus Stone.

The Drift Inn, Beaulieu Road Station.‎
Another good outside play area and very large garden.  It is a bit exposed though and situated right next to the railway line, but they are not that frequent to make it a nuisance.  Some great walks around here and the food from memory was good.  We used to cycle to here have a few drinks and maybe something to eat and then cycle back to Lyndhurst. 

Crown Stirrup, Lyndhurst‎
This pub has changed hands since we ate here but it did do good food.  What I really like about this place is the garden.  It has an unusual fire pit in the middle which is lit regularly through the summer and you can just sit round the fire enjoying your drinks.  There is a play corner for the kids and also an outside bowling/skittle alley.  The other nice thing is that the garden backs straight onto the open forest and cycle routes at the back of Lyndhurst leading to Brockenhurst, so it's a great watering hole for walkers & cyclists.

These are places that we have tried & tested and enjoyed.  There will be more as we are continually trying to visit new places all the time and even re-visit old places to make sure that they are maintaning the same standards.  

If you are visiting the New Forest, especially Lyndhurst you never know this blog may just help you to decide where to eat :) 


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