“Tucked away on the edge of the New Forest, this funky, fun-filled house for 6-12 is a perfect summer getaway for (extended) families”
The main house has 4 bedrooms: 2 for adults (1 double and 1 double/twin) and 2 for kids (1 triple bunkroom and 1 attic single). The separate cabin has a further double bed (four-poster) and a small adjoining bunk room for up to 2 kids. Star pupils will have worked out that this means a maximum of 6 adults and 6 children - but give yourself a bonus point if you spotted that our recommended maximum occupancy is 10 people in total, given the size of the living spaces. See also family friendly accommodation for suggestions on how to allocate the rooms.
Moving from maths to art (of which there is plenty), expect bright, funky interiors with quirky decorative touches, such as woollen clouds floating in the dining room eaves, a recycled harbourmaster's sign in the shower room, the odd playful chandelier or gold-framed mirror. Walls are clean and bright, floors are wooden or neutrally carpeted, and big windows - especially in the upstairs master bedroom - let light flood in (though some condensation obscured our woodland views). Beds are super comfy, with fluffy down duvets, soft sheets and stacks of pillows.
When it comes to play time, the snug sitting room has L-shaped sofas for 6, plus 2 armchairs and a giant beanbag if you need it. These are just the ticket for cosying up in front of the woodburner or the flatscreen TV-DVD, depending on your mood.
The superbly appointed kitchen is an object lesson in home economics. You'll find a lovely Belling range cooker (with 5 electric rings, oven and separate grill), a large retro fridge-freezer, a shiny purple kettle, a slender dishwasher, microwave, toaster, juicer and all the cutlery and crockery that is called for. There's plenty of surface space, too, and staples like oil, salt, pepper, tea and coffee are provided. We particularly liked the mismatching vintage plates and light-hearted mugs, which gave the feel of a happy family home.
Shopping in the pint-sized town of Lymington is a pleasure, especially if you coincide with the Saturday street market. We bought fresh sea bass and prawns from the fishmonger, yummy baby carrots and beans from the greengrocer, succulent beef from the local butcher, and a deliciously soft Tunworth courtesy of Hampshire Cheeses. And what a delight not to have any checkout queues. If you need supplies on a Sunday - or any other day, come to that - we can recommend Beaulieu Organic Farm Shop, 1 mile west of Beaulieu on the B3055 towards Brockenhurst: superb local meats, veg, fruit and breads.
But if the thought of all that shopping and cooking is already putting you off, just book a table at the East End Arms next to the house. It's a superb but unpretentious gastropub with an excellent and reassuringly short menu of home-cooked classics. Think slow-roast pork belly, salmon and tarragon fishcakes with homemade chutney, or venison steak with spinach and parsnip puree - all washed down with guest ales from just £2 a pint. You can even get breakfast here if mornings aren't your thing.
This is a great house rental for families of pretty much all ages and sizes, who enjoy the outdoors - cycling, hiking, horse-riding, beachcombing, sailing - and just being together in a lovely environment.
The owners, who have 3 children ranging from toddler to teen, have left loads of games, toys, children's DVDs, books, lego, baby equipment and so on for their guests, so you don't need to bring it all from home. The garden, with its diminutive gypsy caravan, twigloos and shady lawns, is perfect for lazy summer play-days. They are also converting the stables into a playroom, with ride-on toys, skipping ropes, old tennis rackets, balls - and we are trying to persuade them to squeeze in a ping pong table too!
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
The house, including the separate cabin, sleeps up to 6 adults and 6 children (maximum). We think it works best for either an extended / multi-generational family (using the cabin for noisy teens or adventurous grandparents), or for 2-3 families travelling together. In this case, one family could use the upstairs bedrooms (master double with ensuite bathroom, and attic single with space for a cot), while another takes the downstairs rooms (double/twin and bunkroom for 2-3 kids, sharing a shower room). A third family could, at a pinch, use the cabin, which has a four poster and adjacent bunkroom for 2 kids; but the main dining and sitting areas are not designed for more than 8-10, so you would need to have 2 sittings. Of course, you can also come as just 1 family, using the upstairs bedroom for parents, downstairs room/s for kids, and ignoring the cabin.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking