Chewton Glen Hotel
Activities, Activities & Days Out

Chewton Glen Hotel

I have to make a special mention for the Chewton Glen here.

Situated outside New Milton, also on the edge of The New Forest stands the iconic Chewton Glen Hotel. Voted one of the top 5 hotels in the world many times, this is the place if you want true country luxury.

The Chewton Glen hosts Michelin starred chefs, Tom Kerridge being one of them. There’s an amazing cookery class run from their kitchens and a spa that is one of the most amazing I’ve ever been to. This is 5-star luxury, if you’re celebrating a birthday or anniversary it may just be the place to book.

You can go for a cocktail on the lawn, afternoon tea (delicious…!) or book in the restaurant or the kitchen for lunch or dinner.

I have travelled to many places in the world in my former job with BA, and been lucky enough to visit some very special hotels but there’s something about The Chewton Glen that sets it apart in my view.

www.chewtonglen.com

Recommended by

Dionne Bell

Westbourne
Activities, Activities & Days Out

Westbourne

Westbourne is the nearest shopping area to the flat, for groceries, wine & other essentials!

There’s a M&S food only store here. There’s a small Tesco express store that’s open late, and a couple of other food stores.

Westbourne has an array of restaurants and coffee shops. Starbucks, Costa and Cafe Rouge represent the larger chains, whilst Renoufs, The Coffee Club, Circo Lounge & The Duck represent smaller independents.

Some of these serve breakfast as well as lunch & dinner. All are either independent companies or part of a smaller group.

Coffee Saloon next to M&S serve the best coffee for miles

Renoufs is a cheese & wine bar. It’s definitely one of our favourites in Westbourne. It gets busy, so book ahead.

My favourite Indian restaurant is in Westbourne is the Taj Mahal. An older style Indian restaurant, as opposed to Dilli Haat, which is more modern Indian food.

There new places coming to Westbourne all the time.

Take a wander through the arcade, look through the little stores. In the tough times these small retailers have had, they will be pleased to see you, and I’m sure you will find some little treasures there to take home.

Recommended by

Dionne Bell

Gunwharf Quays
Activities, Activities & Days Out

Shopping in Portsmouth

Portsmouth is home to Gunwharf Quays. Situated on the docks, close to the historic dockyards and the Spinnaker Tower.

Gunwharf is an outlet centre, a few of the main stores Ralph Lauren, Nike, North Face, Superdry, Timberland.

Lots of food outlets here, some along the waterfront.

Its cold here, even in summer it seems! Spinnaker Tower is accessed from Gunwharf Quays. It’s worth looking on the website prior to a visit, as there’s often discount vouchers and suchlike online.

www.gunwharf-quays.com

Recommended by

Dionne Bell

West Quay Shopping
Activities, Activities & Days Out

Shopping in Southampton

Better shopping is to be found in Southampton at West Quay, a big shopping mall anchored by John Lewis.

Lots of the main high street retailers are present here. The nearest Apple shop is here too.

A food mall on the top floors has lots of high street food outlets too, although I prefer the cafe in John Lewis.

On a clear day if any of the cruise ships are docked you can see them from the window seats in the John Lewis cafe.

www.west-quay.co.uk

Recommended by

Dionne Bell

Castlepoint
Activities, Activities & Days Out

Shopping in Bournemouth and Poole

Shopping in Bournemouth town centre isn’t the greatest!

There are a few large department stores in town, and a reasonable selection of smaller stores.

Poole town centre is split into an old & new town. The old town is very lovely and set around the quay. There’s lots of restaurants and cafes there. The shopping there is limited. There are larger stores in the newer part of town.

Theres a shopping centre about 20 minutes by car thats a little better, Castlepoint. Traffic can be heavy in & out of the centre at the end of the day. Its quite a nice shopping centre though, with a big M&S in the centre, and large Next, Asda, Topshop, Monsoon & Boots stores amongst some of the retail outlets.

www.castlepointshopping.com

 

Recommended by

Dionne Bell

 

Lyndhurst
Activities, Activities & Days Out

Lyndhurst

Lyndhurst is another New Forest small town. Really just a high street, its lined with some cute gift shops & a very expensive Ferrari specialist dealer.

The New Forest ponies are accessible from the forest at the end of town, there a small hill that you can walk up that gives you a nice view of the edge of the forest.

www.thenewforest.co.uk/explore/towns-and-villages/lyndhurst

Close to Lyndhurst is Limewood. A truly stunning 5-star hotel & restraint, with a beautiful spa. It’s a very modern country hotel, and if you’re feeling like a special treat see if you can book yourself in for dinner.

Angela Hartnett (a Gordon Ramsey protégée) is in charge of the dining at Limewood and there’s often Michelin starred chefs making guest appearances in pop up restaurants. It is 5 star, so expect 5-star prices!

www.limewoodhotel.co.uk/

 

 

Recommended by

Dionne Bell

Wightlink
Activities & Days Out, Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire

Lymington & Ferry to Isle of Wight

Lymington is a market town on the edge of the New Forest, famous for its yachting.

There’s a Saturday street market, some independent retailers, along with a few small high street stores. Lots of pubs & restaurants line the main high street.

As you go out of Lymington you reach the Wightlink ferry terminal to take the car ferry over to the Isle of Wight. Advance booking for this service will get you better prices.

There’s a lot to do on the Isle of Wight, you can pick a few planes to visit and easily do a day trip from Bournemouth. www.lymington.com

www.wightlink.co.uk

www.visitisleofwight.co.uk

 

Recommended by

Dionne Bell

Burley Village
Activities, Activities & Days Out

Burley

Burley is a small village set in the middle of the New Forest. Its a good place to start when planning some time in the forest.

There are plenty of pubs in the area, tea rooms & some very cute little shops.

New Forest ponies wander through the village, be warned, they may look sweet but they are wild horses and should be treated with caution.

I cant recommend any of the pubs as being more special than the others here, they are all connected to big chains, however, they are all ok I think.

www.burleynewforest.co.uk/

 

Recommended by

Dionne Bell

Activities & Days Out, Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire

Milton Abbas and Milton Abbey

About 45 minutes from Bournemouth, by taking the A35, you can find Milton Abbas.

It is a street that looks as if its come straight from a 1970’s chocolate box. Thatched cottages line this street that looks as if time has stood still.

There’s a lovely pub at one end of the street, The Hambro Arms serving lots of traditional pub lunches.

www.hambroarms.com

A short drive from the main street is the Milton Abbey school. Set in hugely impressive gardens, designed by Capability Brown, the school also houses an abbey, open to visitors at weekends & school holidays.

The abbey dates back to 934 AD, and has been renovated through the centuries by different parties. I often take visitors here, it’s peaceful & quite beautiful.

www.miltonabbey.org

 

Recommended by

Dionne Bell

Beach
Activities & Days Out, Beaches & Coastline, Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire

Osmington Mills

This is a small hamlet, close to Weymouth.

Its the furthest of the beaches I’m suggesting to you, but it’s another that I find quite special.

Its another of the Jurassic coast beaches, its shingle and its again accessed from cliffs. Its not as much of a hike down to the beach as Durdle door, but it gets onto my list because of two things.

  • The first is the fossils. I’ve found fossils on this beach since I was a small child, so its always been somewhere I’ve enjoyed walking along.
  • The second is the pub!! We came here when I was a small child, and my brother and I would roll down the hill into the beer garden, I love watching my son do the same thing with all the other children. It seems kids have been rolling down that hill for decades!

The Smugglers Inn is a very old Pub, situated at the end of the road down to the beach. you can park up, enjoy a lovely long walk along the cliffs, head down to the beach searching for fossils or rockpool fishing and then get back to the pub for a great lunch.

They have some local information on the website too. It gets really busy in the summer because its such a great location, so book if you can. The car journey on a normal day should take you just under an hour.

www.smugglersinnosmingtonmills.co.uk

 

Recommended by

Dionne Bell

 

Beaulieu
Activities & Days Out, Days Out in Dorset, Hampshire & Wiltshire

Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Lord Montagu’s family estate holds a varied & interesting collection of motor vehicles and exhibitions of all sorts.

The house is open to the public. There is an abbey here too.

Its listed as a top day out nationally, there are often offers for entrance fee discounts.

Events are held during school holidays.

Beaulieu village is a lovely place to visit too.

The Montagu Arms is a particularly nice hotel for dinner or lunch.

www.beaulieu.co.uk

 

Recommended by

Dionne Bell