“Affordable country hotel with beautiful shabby-chic interiors and fabulous freshly grown grub”
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 lounges with crackling open fires, the shabby-chic bedrooms and the mismatched vintage crockery in the conservatory dining room. Combine this with idyllic views, walks in the forest and the heady smell from the restaurant's smoke house, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a perfect wind-down weekend.
- Delicious, super-fresh menus, created by chef James Golding (formerly of The Ivy) and his gardening/foraging team - think wood-smoked trout with fennel potatoes and garden mint mousse with chocolate ice-cream
- The bedrooms are attractive and comfy with cosy bed linens, monsoon rain showers and lovely views. Some have rolltop baths, too
- Perfect for a romantic getaway in the country
- The New Forest National Park, with its wild ponies and stunning heathlands: borrow Hunter wellies and go walking or hire bikes to explore; kids will love romping around here
- Staff are helpful and friendly; the atmosphere is one of pure relaxation
- Breakfast, though delicious, isn't included in the rates and bumps the bill up. Dinners are pricey, too
- Some may find the constant music annoying, detracting from the peaceful countryside ambiance
- We've heard a few gripes about service
- The rooms in the main house aren't huge but hanging out in the beautiful communal areas is half the fun
- A popular weekend choice, so you'll need to book well in advance (including restaurant reservations)
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Restaurant and bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
- Tennis Court
- Pool Table
- Bicycles Available
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, large and inviting beds. The palette is neutral creams and whites, with colourful splashes made by botanical print blinds and retro Roberts radios.
We stayed in a Comfy Luxe room with a four-poster bed, bare wood floors and a fantastic view of the grounds. There was plenty of storage space and a writing desk stacked with 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 and old-fashioned sherbet dippers or cola cubes. There's a Nespresso machine for coffee lovers.
Bathrooms are tasteful with slate-grey tiles, powerful monsoon rain showers, and rolltop baths in some of the bigger rooms. All have delicious herbal toiletries by Gilchrist & Soames and heaps of fluffy towels.
The remaining rooms are more spacious and have been added since our visit, by converting the original outhouses. There are 3 Hideaway Suites, which are all unique, with names like Tamworth, Hen House and The Dog House. There are also 2 Family Rooms, Old Spot and Pig Sty, which each have a double bedroom, a twin bedroom and bathroom with tub and shower. More recent still are the Pig House and Pig Lodge (both good for families with 2 bedrooms and a kitchenette), and finally the Forest Cabin (a super-private couples hideaway).
Since our visit, Bert's Box has been added within the grounds; we're yet to personally view this space.
- Central heating
- Coffee maker
- Cots Available
- Dvd player
- Extra beds
- Iron (on request)
- Safe box
- Satellite tv
Meals are taken 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 Hutson 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 that he champions.
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 a cocktail and some 'Piggy bits' (homemade scotch eggs straight from the oven) and saddle-back scratchings with apple sauce. Starters were wood-smoked salmon with nutty homemade bread and a superb New Forest wood pigeon salad. For mains we tucked into a huge T-bone steak (38 day matured) and tasty Lime Bay Diver scallops with a pea jus and smoked bacon bits. And just when we thought there was no room for more, we somehow managed to polish off a creamy lemon Verbena mousse with white strawberries. As you'd hope, the wine list was impressive and the staff were knowledgeable and friendly.
Breakfasts at The Pig are similarly expansive (though expensive). A hearty spread of granola, fruit, yoghurt, honeycomb and homemade jams greets you, and the juices are all deliciously fresh. 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 the 'Full Pig-out' and smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, both of which were accompanied by freshly baked breads and creamy butter.
Weather permitting, for lunches and lighter snacks you can head to the outdoor courtyard, where there's a wood-fired oven for flat breads and pizzas.
- Children meals
- Coffee maker
- Organic produce
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- 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
- Take a tour of the kitchen garden, then head out with Garry Eveleigh, the hotel's forager (at 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
- 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
- Get in touch with your inner primate at Monkey World (1 hour away) or tackle a tree-top zipline at Go Ape
- Relax at The Pig. Settle in for a read in one of the lounges, stroll in the grounds, indulge in a massage or other relaxing treatment in the peacefully located Potting Shed, play tennis on the private courts, or head to the atmospheric Green Room for a game of billiards
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Mountain biking
- Museums / galleries
- Plantlife / flora
- Pool table
- Private guided tours
- Shopping / markets
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.
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 kitchenette and a quiet setting. 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 two interconnecting rooms in the main house - a double, Comfy Double Room, and a twin, Snug Room - which would be better for families with older children.
Available on request. The Pig works with an outside agency which supplies English-speaking babysitters. Prices on request.
- 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 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
- 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.
- Airport: 30-40 minutes
- Hospital: 20-30 minutes
- Nearest shop: 5 minutes