The Pig in Brockenhurst

Brockenhurst, Hampshire, United Kingdom Book from Book from £155 per night

The most wonderful, laid-back country hotel, with beautiful interiors, fabulous food and an easy vibe
Crunching up the winding drive of this old shooting lodge, you could be forgiven for thinking you'd wandered into a Jane Austen novel. The sweeping grounds, handsome white building and majestic oaks evoke period drama, but inside lies a cosy, contemporary retreat - and a genuinely warm welcome. This is the little sister of luxurious Lime Wood up the road, but The Pig has its own USP: here, food rules supreme. A walled kitchen garden takes centre stage in the grounds and its bounty dictates the restaurant's menu. What's on offer changes daily, sometimes hourly, according to what the gardener deems to be in perfect condition, and one section of the menu reads 'literally picked this morning'. Almost everything else is sourced within a 25-mile radius, and mushrooms, berries and wild salads are foraged from the forest.

But as you’d expect from hotelier Robin Hutson (the founder of Hotel du Vin), the intense culinary focus in no way detracts from the comfort and effortless style of the hotel itself. We loved the cosy formal-but-informal lounges with crackling open fires, and the gorgeous shabby-chic bedrooms, in a range of sizes to suit all budgets. Best of all, the conservatory dining room is an Instagrammer's paradise, with a colourful mosaic floor, mismatched vintage crockery and potted herbs. Combine it all with idyllic views and the heady smell from the restaurant's smoke house, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a perfect wind-down weekend.

Highs

  • Delicious, super-fresh food; think wood-smoked trout with fennel potatoes and garden mint mousse with chocolate ice-cream
  • Gorgeous bedrooms with monsoon rain showers, top-quality linens, even roll-top baths. We stayed in Bert's Box, which was perfection
  • Refreshingly affordable
  • The New Forest National Park, with its wild ponies and stunning heathlands: borrow Hunter wellies and go walking or hire bikes to explore
  • Staff are helpful and friendly; the atmosphere is one of pure relaxation and in no way stuffy

Lows

  • Super popular; you'll need to book 2-3 months in advance for weekends (including restaurant reservations)
  • Breakfast, though delicious, isn't included in the rates and bumps the bill up
  • We've heard a few gripes about service, but we found it amazing!
  • The rooms in the main house aren't huge but hanging out in the beautiful communal areas is half the fun

Best time to go

The Pig is a delight all year round but the gardens flourish in the spring and the golden colours of autumn give the grounds a magical feel.

Our top tips

Quaint Brockenhurst is home to a few delis and antique shops, and Lymington has a Saturday farmers' market.

Great for...

Foodie
Family
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 26
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Tennis Court
  • Pool Table
  • Bicycles Available
  • Billiards
Room: Forest Hut

Rooms

Most of The Pig's rooms are in the main house: Snug, Comfy and Comfy Luxe. In all, the focus is on comfort and quality - cosy linens, snuggly robes, four-poster beds. The palette is neutral creams and whites, with bare wooden floors and colourful splashes made by botanical print blinds, throws and retro Roberts radios.

Expect plenty of storage space, and books on wild flowers and forest foraging. For in-room foraging, 'larder-style' minibars have Dorset Piddle lager, Orchard Pig cider and a great selection of organic wines, plus New Forest biscotti. There's a Nespresso machine for coffee lovers. Bathrooms are elegant with slate-grey tiles, powerful monsoon rain showers, and roll-top tubs in the bigger rooms. All have delicious herbal toiletries by Bramley.

The remaining rooms are more spacious, set in the original outhouses. There are 3 Hideaway Suites, all uniquely decorated and 2 Family Rooms, Old Spot and Pig Sty, each with a double bedroom, a twin bedroom and bathroom with tub and shower. More recent still are the Pig House and Pig Lodge, ideal for families with 2 bedrooms, a cool kitchen, living and dining area, and a private garden apiece. And finally there's the Forest Cabin, a super-private couples' hideaway.

But we were lucky enough to stay in the best suite of all: Bert's Box. Absolutely enormous, this standalone 'box' was built from reclaimed timber, and uniquely decorated in a chic, industrial style. Think blackened-wood walls, bold geometric tiling, copper 'wheel' taps. It is split into a kitchen/diner/lounge, TV snug, double bedroom and shower bathroom, all overlooking the fields. We we could happily have checked in for a fortnight; especially because you can self cater a few meals. Gorgeous.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Cots Available
  • DVD player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Iron (on request)
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Meals are served in the glass-walled conservatory, our favourite room. The eclectic interior has a slight hint of Great Expectations, with colourful Belgian floor tiles, potted plants, old wooden chairs, twisting vines and curio antiques. The idea is that nothing matches; Robin and his wife Judy trawled second-hand shops to find vintage glasses, mismatched cutlery and odd-sized plates, creating a feel which is homegrown and organic, much like the food.

Overseen by chef James Golding (formerly of The Ivy and Soho House NY), the menu is dictated by the kitchen garden and its bounty, and hence changes daily and in accordance with the micro-seasons. For other ingredients the kitchen stays true to its locality; most produce is sourced from within a 25-mile radius, and meat and fish are smoked on site.

Dinner will be the highlight of your stay: the warm ambiance is the perfect setting for a slow-paced evening meal. We kick-started with Hambledon sparkling wine (English, crisp yet full-bodied), and some yummy 'Piggy bits' (homemade Brock scotch eggs straight from the oven, oyster mushroom vol-au-vents). Starters were a super-fresh garden salad with nutty homemade bread and Lyme Bay scallops with jerusalem artichoke purée, both as delicious as they sounded. For mains we tucked into a perfectly cooked New Forest wood pigeon with crushed parsnips and blackberry sauce, and a fall-apart-perfect plaice with rainbow chard (and a side of thrice-cooked chips, because who can resist those?). And just when we thought there was no room for more, we somehow managed a chocolate pudding and a creamy lemon Verbena mousse with white strawberries. As you'd hope, the wine list was impressive and the staff were super friendly.

Breakfasts are similarly expansive. A vast spread of 'healthy' or 'indulgent' granola, home-stewed fruit, creamy yoghurt, real honeycomb, and jams from the 'Hot Jam Lady', along with Dorset apple juice. For those who still have space from the night before, the cooked options are superb. We erred on the side of gluttony and opted for smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, and excellent home-smoked bacon, accompanied by freshly baked breads and creamy butter.

For lunches and lighter snacks there's a seasonal outdoor courtyard area with a wood-fired oven for flat breads and pizzas.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee maker
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • The stunning New Forest is on your doorstep. Borrow a pair of Hunter wellies and ask for a map of the best walking trails. Reception can also organise mountain bike hire and horse riding within the forest, plus archery and sailing
  • We loved our tour of the incredible kitchen gardens, with the head gardener. The beds are constantly evolving; we admired all manner of brassica, some splendid turnips, various edible flowers and - totally unique - the mushroom house. We ate vol-au-vents made from its otherwordly shapes later on that evening!
  • Head out with the hotel's forager (additional cost). His guided walks include mushrooming in the forest, hedgerow harvesting to find wild salads in summer or fruits, nuts and berries in autumn, and a trip to the coast to gather seaweed and shellfish
  • Relax at the hotel. Settle in for a read in one of the cosy lounges (the Drawing Room gets the morning sun), sit out on the lawn, and indulge in a massage or beauty treatment in the peaceful Potting Shed (my 90-minute combo-massage was possibly the best I've ever had). If you're feeling energetic, you can play tennis on the private courts
  • Spa lovers can also book a visit to sister hotel Lime Wood, 10 miles away. Their Herb House spa is out of this world, with a hydrotherapy room, outdoor hot tub, rooftop herb garden, even an organic cafe serving raw food salads and the best smoothies
  • Visit historical hotspots such as Beaulieu Abbey, Hurst Castle and Buckler's Hard on the Beaulieu River. Or brush up on your maritime history at Portsmouth's historical dockyard
  • Spend a relaxed afternoon wandering around the beautiful Furzey Gardens

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Archery
  • Foraging
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Pool table
  • Private guided tours
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Tennis

Kids

Families are welcome at The Pig, and cots and extra beds are available; there's flexible accommodation including bunk beds in the Family Room. The Pig is well set up for families with animals on site and kids will love the New Forest and all it has to offer. The closest village for any essentials is Brockenhurst, which is only a mile away, and there are also larger towns nearby within a 15-20 minutes drive.

Best for:

Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The two Family Rooms (called Old Spot and Pig Sty) have 2 bedrooms each (a double and a bunk room) and a shared bathroom with a shower and tub; The Pig Sty has a lounge, too. Both of these can also take an extra bed or cot if necessary. The Pig House and the Pig Lodge are also good options, each with 2 bedrooms (including a twin), a kitchen and a garden. You could also book a Comfy Luxe Room but note that not all of the Comfy Luxe Rooms are able to accommodate an extra bed or cot. All Family and Comfy Luxe Rooms have bathtubs. There are 2 inter-connecting rooms in the main house - a double, Comfy Double Room, and a twin Snug Room - which would be better for families with older children.

Babysitting:

Available on request. The Pig works with an outside agency which supplies English-speaking babysitters. Prices on request.

Baby equipment:

  • 2 baby cots available on request
  • 2 extra beds available
  • High chair
  • Baby bedding

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

Children's menu (Piglets Menu) available, and breakfast is charged at a reduced rate of £5 per child.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Pool table in the Green Room
  • Children's DVDs
  • Selection of board games and books available in the Library; most games suitable from ages 5 and up
  • Pigs, chickens, horses, bees and quails on site
  • Swing, greenhouses and vegetable patches in gardens
  • Ponds with coy carp

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Marwell Zoo
  • Peppa Pig World
  • Paultons Park
  • Alice in Wonderland Theme Park
  • Owl and Otter Sanctuary
  • Local playgrounds within 5-30 minutes
  • Walks
  • Bike riding
  • Horse riding
  • Moors Valley
  • Long Down Dairy Farm
  • Various other farms and petting zoos

Families Should Know:

Most rooms are not on the Ground Floor so if you're bringing your buggy note that you may have to fold it up to get it into the room. There are a lot of stairs and steps around the hotel, most of which do not have a handle bar or at least not at the height for small children to hold onto.

Distances:

  • Airport: 30-40 minutes
  • Hospital: 20-30 minutes
  • Nearest shop: 5 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Location

The Pig is set in the heart of The New Forest, 1 mile from Brockenhurst in Hampshire, southern England. It's 1.5 hours' drive from London.

By Air:
Southampton and Bournemouth are close (30km and 32km respectively). Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving these airports.

From the Airport
We'd recommend hiring a car (see below).

By Car
It's a 90-minute drive from London and 2 hours from Bristol. If you want to hire a car, see our car rental recommendations. There's free parking at the hotel.

By Train
Ashurst station is a 10-minute taxi ride away. Trains take 1 hour 40 minutes from London. See National Rail for links throughout the UK.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to the UK and getting around

Airports:

  • Southampton 30.0 km SOU
  • Bournemouth 32.0 km BOH

Other:

  • Beach 30.0 km
  • Shops 1.0 km
  • Restaurant 1.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

Fabulous. Cannot find fault with anything! Would go back in a heart beat and give it rave reviews to anyone who asks.

10/10,

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