Superb tasting menu in the New Forest

Stanwell House, a boutique hotel, bar and restaurant in the High Street in Lymington sits in an enviable position in the New Forest with both coast and country right on its doorstep, an ideal spot for a short break to this spectacular corner of the British Isles. A classic yachty town, with a marina and historic cobbled streets, it has more than its fair share … Continue reading Superb tasting menu in the New Forest

100 years of glory at Exbury

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the spectacular 200-acre Exbury Gardens near Beaulieu in the New Forest. World famous for its Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and rare trees and shrubs, Exbury is celebrating its big birthday with some impressive new projects and a series of special events. A new ‘secret centenary garden’ and ‘stream’ of spring bulbs opened to the public in … Continue reading 100 years of glory at Exbury

Dorset cafe worth hunting out

Hidden away down a leafy lane in West Dorset is Down House Farm, a quirky garden cafe with the most delicious of home-cooked food. Mostly it’s walkers on the coastal path between Eype and Seatown, who stumble on the delights of Down House Farm, from signposts directing them on a short walk inland. Honestly if you drive down the lane you can’t help but question … Continue reading Dorset cafe worth hunting out

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Great seaside walks with spots to stop

For great seaside walks, whatever the weather, few places in Hampshire can beat Stokes Bay. Its stone beaches look out over the Solent, across to the Isle of Wight and free parking right on the water’s edge makes for a perfect picnic on the beach or a lovely spot to read a book from the warmth of your car. At one end is Browndown, these … Continue reading Great seaside walks with spots to stop

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A lazy Sunday afternoon at The Bell Inn

It’s always a bit of a lottery, going out for a Sunday roast. It should be such a treat, but I’ve picked half-heartedly at too many lacklustre vegetables, hard roasties, and over-cooked beef. And it’s always a bitter pill when you have to pay for something you know you could have done so much better at home. So to find a pub that serves a … Continue reading A lazy Sunday afternoon at The Bell Inn

Hidden away, the Salt Cafe

Portchester, on the outskirts of Portsmouth is famed for its English Heritage castle, but it is also home to a little-known café, hidden away at the Wicor Marina Yacht Haven. It’s definitely one to hunt out if you’re a fan of sourdough toast, good coffee and amazing cakes – all served up with a coastal view. There’s an outdoor balcony where dog-walkers with their mutts, … Continue reading Hidden away, the Salt Cafe

Boutique stay at Spitbank Fort

The Solent, renowned for its warships, cruise liners and yachts, is also home to a stunning, if a little eccentric boutique hotel which gives ‘getting away from it all’ a new, and distinctly nautical perspective. Spitbank Fort is a mile off shore between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. Built in the 1860’s with the threat of a French invasion, she played a role in … Continue reading Private: Eccentric boutique stay at Spitbank Fort

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Family bike ride on the Hayling Billy Trail

Every family should cycle together. It’s a liberating and bonding experience to ditch all the distractions, pack a rucksack with drinks and snacks, stick the bikes on the back of the car and drive to a scenic spot for an afternoon trundle. As a self-confessed MAMIL (Middle Aged Man in Lycra), my solo two-wheeled expeditions take me 40, 50 miles and more on the road, … Continue reading Family bike ride on the Hayling Billy Trail

For those who love a good garden centre

We love a good garden centre – whether you’re a budding Capability Brown or just have one or two herb pots, there’s something very peaceful about drifting through the plants, sniffing roses, hunting out the healthiest specimens, and asking advice on whether or not that lovely hydrangea would be pink or blue in your soil. And if you can stop for a good cup of … Continue reading For those who love a good garden centre

A memorable day out in East Hampshire

The chalk landscape of the South Downs has inspired many a writer and poet – and for good reason. Who can fail to be inspired by the gentle rolling hills with their own distinctive tones of greens and yellows, and when that is matched by a bright blue sky, it’s hard to imagine anywhere more picturesque! The Downs has its famous destinations for scenery such … Continue reading A memorable day out in East Hampshire