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Talking all things Staycations with Garry Baldwin, Managing Director

April, 2020

Can a staycation be just as good as an overseas holiday?

“I was fortunate enough in my previous role with a leading hotel and restaurant guide to travel the length and breadth of the country, discovering just how much our great Islands have to offer. Travelling to other parts of the UK can be part of the fun, taking you through beautiful countryside, historic cities and for some across the water. I don’t think we always appreciate what’s on our doorstep but being a tourist in our own country can be great.

While overseas holidays halfway across the world hold their appeal, a holiday doesn’t have to mean getting on a plane. There’s lots of beautiful locations in the UK where you can get in your car or jump on a train and enjoy some much-needed time away from everyday life. There are many benefits to a staycation; they are much easier to plan, you can take your favourite furry friend with you, you’ll return home feeling rested and refreshed without the jet lag and they can save you money because you minimise travel expenses. The benefits of spending time in nature are so widely reported too!

There’s also something pleasing about getting out and supporting local and regional businesses. Booking directly with an independent hotel, stopping in the local pub or spending a day at a local attraction, all puts money back into the local economy. For too long now, we’ve inadvertently helped big global corporations continue to increase their dominance and wealth. Now more than ever, we have an opportunity to focus on supporting our country, its businesses and the local economy.”

What is it that makes the New Forest one of the top staycation spots?

“The marked change in seasons and wildlife makes the New Forest a really unique location, as a national park with some great market towns and the most beautiful villages, every season really does offer something different. We have been consistently named as one of the best national parks to visit in the UK, I may be biased but not only is it the beautiful landscape, but the free roaming ponies and donkeys have something to do with it.

Family time during school breaks is when the forest comes alive, with great pubs offering family friendly dining and making the very best of days out at our numerous fun activity centres and world-famous attractions. Walking during the autumn is great too, as the leaves start to turn, pigs fill the forest for Pannage season and some of the best sun rises and sun sets can be seen over the heathlands.”

What can we expect from an autumn staycation in the New Forest?

“It’s a great time of the year! Expect to see fir cones covering the forest floor, deer skipping through the woodlands on cold, frosty mornings and the pace of life begins to slow as nature gives us one last display of autumnal colour. The forest in the snow really is quite magical too if we’re lucky enough to see some this winter.”

How about those travelling with the little ones?

Forest Lodge and Bartley Lodge are perfect for families. The little ones will love splashing around in the pool or burning off some steam exploring the surrounding forest. Children’s menus are available, and our restaurants open at earlier times for when they need an early night. If you’re feeling peckish at lunch time the play area at The Drift, our pub and restaurant is great for the adventurous, and our friendly teams are more than happy to make sure you and your little ones are at ease, Alternatively a stay at our Beulieu Inn (next door) gives access straight onto the forest and surrounding heathland, great for wildlife spotting and endless walks”.

Is the New Forest a place for romantic break?

“Absolutely, just look at Burley Manor. What better place to watch the afternoon go by, overlooking the majestic red deer with one of our recommended G&T’s (give ‘Wyrd’ Gin a try, made right here in the Forest) Enjoy breakfast in bed, a peaceful cup of coffee in the lounge, or treat yourself to something a little more luxurious with a Temple Spa deep tissue massage in one of our wellbeing rooms.

Dinner is the main event at the Manor, start with some tapas in the bar with your favourite tipple followed by a sharing dish for two. If you don’t have room for one of our chef’s desserts, we’ve noticed that most people take the option to share one – After all, it’s half the calories!”

As a nation of dog lovers, where is the best place to take our furry friends?

“Head to Beaulieu Inn and The Drift where doggy blankets are available at the door, and complimentary biscuits at the bar! From the hotel, views are straight out onto the meandering heathland, a great spot to walk man’s best friend. When you return from your walk, warm up in front of one of the pub fires and try one of our new craft beers from Camden Brewery”.

For some ultimate forest walks and a friendly village to stop by, why not stay at Moorhill House, nestled in the leafy corner of Burley, there’s a true home-from-home feel with plenty of dog treats and great walks within the Forest. And our team are experts in where to go and what to see around the village of Burley and beyond.”

Garry Baldwin, Managing Director at New Forest Hotels

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