Back in March, BW and I fancied a short getaway. Having already flown two flights (plus two returns) with a baby, we thought to spare ourselves the hours of torture up in the air and have a staycation in the UK instead. We needed somewhere close by, familiar, and of course, child friendly, but having racked our brains for over a week and getting nowhere, we settled on an old favourite – New Forest.
I really shouldn’t say “settled” as New Forest is fantastic. It is the perfect place to escape the everyday hustle and bustle of the city life, and is ideal if you are looking to just unwind and not leave the hotel. If you don’t fancy leaving the country, this is where you need to go!
As New Forest is just a short two hour drive from Central London, we made sure to leave at Aadam’s nap time and enjoyed a peaceful drive down the M25. The gradual change from the city skyline to the green hills of the countryside were nothing short of amazing and of course, made a refreshing change to the London skyline we are used to.
Tip: Be sure to travel with lots of baby snacks to keep baby happy!
WHERE TO STAY
Chewton Glen is a luxury golf and spa hotel found in New Milton, right on the edge of New Forest. Just look at the hotel, do you blame us for wanting to stay here?
Here are the other communal areas and pool too.
We actually visited Chewton Glen almost four years ago, however we were unable to book a room so last minute. This year, we decided to visit Chewton Glen once again with the little guy in tow. Luckily, we decided not to book a room the night before but a whole three days in advance!
We chose the Estate room to stay in as there was ample space for a crib and lots of crawling space for Aadam to have a field day. Here is the wonderful room…
There really needs to be a website which sells you pillows and beddings, categorised by hotels. Please give me your shares when this is created!
The room was even equipped with baby toiletries and a small welcome gift for baba too.
One of our biggest worries was that the hotel would not be baby-friendly, but we were pleasantly surprised at just how accommodating Chewton Glen was when it came to families.
They also had an array of children activities throughout the day, like kid cookery classes, pony treks through New Forest, and a well-equipped children’s club, so parents can relax in the spa. Happy children = happy parents!
There is no babysitting service for little babies just yet, but I didn’t mind having the squirt around!
Although our room was fantastic, if you really want to escape everyone, the treehouses there are absolutely fabulous and great for any occasion; be it a romantic getaway or even just good ol’ family time – the kids will love it!
Each pod come equipped with a hot tub, fireplace, and a fresh breakfast hamper delivered every morning.
WHAT TO DO
In desperate need of some me-time, BW booked me in for a lovely massage at the Chewton Glen spa. The spa is known to be as one of the best and most luxurious in the UK and the hydrotherapy pool was amazing for soothing any aches and pains.
Whilst I enjoyed my massage, I do think that the relaxation room could be updated or perhaps more private and quiet.
Wanting to have a little adventure, BW and I decided to do the hotel trail to the coast. Armed with a pushchair and a cast, we trudged along through the forests, ran across the dangerous roads, and hiked up hill to finally arrive at the magnificent coast.
Unfortunately, we got hit with typical England weather, where the forecast said it would be sunny but it was grey and misty instead! Nevertheless, we sat down and watched the surfers navigate their way around the crashing waves.
The Solent Way Walk is also worth the journey and will take you straight to Hurst castle.
If you fancy a round or two, or even 18, there are several golf hotel and clubs dotted around the county.
The New Forest National Park is humongous and also bicycle-friendly, so pack a picnic and head on out!
→ HORSE RIDING
If you don’t fancy breaking a sweat on the cycle, why not take a tranquil stroll through the greenery via horseback?
WHAT TO EAT
Breakfast at Chewton Glen was worth waking up for – not that we could lie in with a 7 month old anyways – and was popular amongst the locals too.
The buffet was filled to the brim with exotic fruits, fresh juices, and delicious baked goods, but the a la carte is really what you want, with the likes of smashed avocado on toast, kedgeree, and vegetarian full english breakfast – yum.
Having sufficiently filled ourselves up with breakfast, we skipped lunch and went straight for dinner. We did venture once out of the hotel to try a popular seafood restaurant called Pebble Beach, a fine-dining restaurant in New Milton.
Anywhere that does a rich cheese souffle – count me in!
Having hiked to the coast earlier in the day, our legs simply could not take us any further than the hotel and we decided to dine at the restaurant on the second night.
The last time we were at Chewton Glen, the hotel had organised halal beef and lamb for us 48 hours in advance. This time, things were a little different, and we had been offered halal lamb and chicken. I went straight for the rack of lamb with mint sauce whilst BW had the spatchcock poussin.
A small mistake had been made in the kitchen as I had received the lamb cutlets instead, but I was more than satisfied with these fat little juicy cutlets that had been cooked to a perfect medium. A sauce on the side would have really added a needed oomph to the otherwise simple flavoured dish.
The spatchcock poussin was akin to a small roast chicken and arrived with a portion of triple cooked chips.
Tired, we retired to our room, put Aadam to sleep and finally got the party started. Just kidding, we ordered some freshly made ice cream (the salted caramel was mindblowingly good!) from room service, changed into our PJs, and blissfully fell asleep in the huge fluffy pillows. Every hour of sleep counts, guys!
The next morning, we sadly packed our things and moped all the way through breakfast, checkout, and even on the car journey back to London. We had had such a fantastic and good family quality time in New Forest that leaving to return to our extremely busy lives was proving to be too much for me! However, given how hospitable Chewton Glen had been, I cannot wait to return when Aadam is a little older so that we can make the most of the hotel!
For the hotel’s website, click here.