Located within the New Forest National Park right in the middle of the action, you will find The Blacksmith's House. It's a very short walk from the train station at Brockenhurst where the blue and red routes for the New Forest, hop on hop off, open top buses convene, and right in the centre of the bustling little village. Blacksmith’s used to be Tracy's home before she moved on and it still feels like a family home. Bought up in a northern pub Tracy expects people to come and go, "like visiting Auntie Susan's where you know where the key is and let yourself in and make yourself a cup of tea if she's out".
The first thing to say is that this B&B is largely unattended – you are given the code for the front door and are expected to get on with it. I loved the sense of trust, and freedom that openess gave me. But it is not to everyone’s taste. There are only five rooms in the quaint B&B, each named after one of the brass knockers found in an old box of Tracy's aunt. They are reminiscent of pub names, some found in the Forest. All rooms have an en suite bathroom and all but one has a double bed. Three of the rooms have an additional single bed to allow for flexibility. There is a fridge under the stairs for visitors to use, a shared dining area with a huge table, and French doors opening on to the small garden area.
Each room comes with home made shortbread biscuits waiting for you as well as tea and coffee facilities. The shared dining room has a piano as well as a large array of tea items set out daily before 5pm and an amazing breakfast buffet in the morning between 8-9 (or cheerfully prepared earlier if you require it). Tracy is nothing if not generous - home made bara bryth and soda bread awaited my arrival. There are beer glasses and wine glasses in every room and fresh milk in the fridge. The breakfast is locally sourced and all home cooked on Tracy’s Aga and served with lots of interesting chat and information. There are many pubs and restaurants a short stroll from the B&B, the menus for most are available in your room.
Just step outside the front door of The Blacksmith's House in to the New Forest and you are minutes away from amazing walks and well signed cycle routes. The New Forest Tour offers an open top, hop on hop off service which runs on three different, interconnecting routes, two of which (red and blue) leave from Brockenhurst station and take you right through the New Forest National Park on a single ticket. You can take your bike on board gratis, to enable you to start pedalling in a different spot every day of your visit. Within the forest itself you will find ancient and varied landscapes, the blue route takes you along the coast where you can access stunning, family friendly beaches and hunt for fossils. There are free roaming ponies in Brockenhurst which should thrill the kiddies. If you are searching for entertainment that’s a little more formal: Exbury has beautiful gardens and a steam train; Beaulieu has a motor museum or you could jump on the ferry at Keyhaven and visit Hurst Castle. There are cycle rental shops very nearby, one which offers electric vehicles called "Twizys" which take two if cycling is too much. Local maps, piled on the dresser in Tracy’s dining room, are sold through an honesty box. Tracy is a delight to chat to and very knowledgeable about the Forest and surrounding area and I defy you not to find her enthusiasm infectious.
The two rooms: Mary Queen of Scots and the Ducking Stool both have bras beds for a romantic get away - but Mary Queen of Scots also has a roll top bath... wine glasses are provided, but you will need to bring the bottle to make the indulgence here complete. There’s always an option to rent the whole house and base yourself here with your extended family; and if you choose the Red Lion room, there are no stairs to negotiate at all - so anyone with impaired movement should be just fine - even to use the shower room which is set up as a wet room to obviate the need for any sort of climbing at all. Ask Tracy about her amazing Fish Wives – where she teaches women not only to catch a trout, but how to fry it up in a pan as well! Highly recommended.
Seriously a perfect spot if you have no car - you can arrive by railway and get around on the bus effortlessly. The New forest is just begging for you to hire a bike or a Twizy and explore this beautiful area. A few people don't like letting themselves in, but I absolutely loved the feeling of trust and ability to explore Tracy’s place on my own.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A comfortable warm house with modern conveniences and traditional touches.There is always something to eat - home made shortbread biscuits scone's in the dining room on arrival. Complimentary afternoon tea of scones with butter and jam, Bara Brith and biscuits available every afternoon. Breakfast is Full English Cereals Fruits Yogurts Toast and Preserves Fruit JuicesTea and Coffee etc. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Blacksmith's House Brockenhurst, New Forest National Park Hampshire