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Pocket Guide: Brockenhurst

Brockenhurst hotels

Brockenhurst is the largest village in the New Forest, and is considered by many, with some justification, to be among the most beautiful places in southern England. The New Forest was created in 1079 by William the Conqueror and is dotted with historic villages, of which Brockenhurst is one of the best-known. This magnificent National Park is treasured by walkers, cyclists and families alike, who come to explore its ancient woodland, bluebell meadows and hidden coastline.

The village is well connected, with a railway station offering trains to London Waterloo, Manchester and Birmingham. The port city of Southampton is just 13 miles away, while it’s a 45-minute drive to the attractive seaside resort of Bournemouth. Many visitors bringing children to Brockenhurst will combine their stay at nearby Paultons Park where there is a host of family-friendly rides and other attractions, but in truth there is more than enough to see and do around Brockenhurst to keep anyone entertained for days on end.

History really comes alive in this part of the country. Brockenhurst is surrounded by Bronze Age burial mounds that can be seen here and there while out exploring the New Forest’s vast trail network. The grave of Arthur Conan Doyle, the writer who created Sherlock Holmes, one of English literature's most enduring characters, is to be found in Minstead, only 15 minutes from Brockenhurst. Meanwhile, a popular Brockenhurst hotel is Balmer Lawn Hotel, which has hosted royalty as well as Eisenhower and Montgomery during World War II while they planned the D-Day landings.

Where to stay in Brockenhurst

There is no shortage of great hotels in Brockenhurst to stay in, whether you’re looking for a family-friendly hotel, a luxury spa hotel or a hotel in Brockenhurst with car parking. You might also choose to reside in one of the many picturesque villages that lie close to Brockenhurst, including Lyndhurst, Beaulieu and Buckler’s Hard. In the churchyard at nearby Lymington you can see the grave of Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”.

Wherever you end up staying however, you can be sure you’ll be within easy reach of the New Forest’s many idyllic beauty spots, traditional welcoming pubs and, of course, the famous ponies that wander freely across most of the landscape.

What not to miss in Brockenhurst

If you fancy getting some exercise in the fresh air, there are few better places to start with than the New Forest. Around Brockenhurst there are more trails suitable for walking, cycling and horse riding than can be mentioned. You are never far from a beautiful view, or the perfect place for a picnic. Whitefield Moor is one such, where you will often encounter ponies and Highland cattle, all of which will be perfectly happy without sharing your sandwiches.

Hotels in Burley, which is 15 minutes from Brockenhurst, are also popular with visitors. Sybil Leek, a “white witch”, lived here during the 1950s until she was chased away by local residents unhappy with her reputation. Her portrait can be seen hanging in a gift shop and there are many witchcraft and occult-related items for sale in the village. If you’re not shopping for eye of newt and toe of frog, you can always get a fresh ice cream instead.

In Beaulieu, the National Motor Museum holds a vast collection of classic cars and other vehicles dating as far back at the late 19th century. This is regarded as one of the best days out in southern England, with a range of attractions to suit every member of the family. There is a nature reserve close to Beaulieu as well, which is good for canoeing trips.

Another renowned excursion close to any hotel in Brockenhurst is the Buckler’s Hard Maritime Museum. This 18th century village played a significant role in Britain’s shipbuilding heritage and was where many of the warships for Nelson’s fleet were built, including some which fought at the Battle of Trafalgar. The area has a number of historic attractions, including displays concerning village life in the 18th and 19th centuries, and artefacts from the voyage of Sir Francis Chichester, who was the first person to circumnavigate the globe by boat.

The New Forest Water Gardens in Lymington, 15 minutes by car from most Brockenhurst hotels, is a stunning setting. Wander past waterfalls, ponds full of koi carp, dragonflies and ducks, and browse a shop selling everything you might need to create your own water features at home.

There are numerous events held in the New Forest throughout the year, and the best hotels Brockenhurst has to offer are the perfect way to experience them.

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