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Mackerel, presented artfully, at The Elderflower Restaurant in Lymington, just outside the New Forest
The Elderflower [Official Photo]

Where to Eat in the New Forest

The National Park that spans Hampshire and southeast Wiltshire — and its surrounds — is a fecund home to some thrilling restaurants

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Mackerel, presented artfully, at The Elderflower Restaurant in Lymington, just outside the New Forest
| The Elderflower [Official Photo]

Wild Thelwellian ponies, roaming swine, ancient woodland ... at times, it’s easy to imagine the New Forest in a Medieval time warp. Founded by William the Conqueror, its shady oak and beech canopies spread out in a sea of green, the only interruption an occasional thatched cottage. Its leafy floor hosts an abundance of mushrooms, while its streams fizz with trout. To top it off, those porkers “pannage” on acorns, an almost obsolete practice, akin to producing Jabugo’s pata negra (jamon iberico.) Here’s where from the local larder.

How to get there: London Waterloo to Brockenhurst is one hour, 32 minutes by train. It’s approximately 85 miles and just over two hours by car.

thenewforest.co.uk

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Greyhound on the Test

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31 High St
Stockbridge SO20 6EY, UK

Just yonder from the forest is the village of Stockbridge. Its rudely pretty high street is awash with food gaffs, but the most cherished is Greyhound on the Test. Stockbridge wild mushrooms on toast with garlic and sage, Broughton buffalo carpaccio, and the watercress (no doubt from nearby watercress-mecca, Alresford) with Old Winchester cheese and almond salad, are just a few winners from Chris Heather’s modern British repertoire.

Shrimp pilaf at the Greyhound on the Test near the New Forest
Shrimp pilaf at the Greyhound on the Test
David Griffen/for Greyhound on the Test

2. The Black Rat Restaurant

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88 Chesil St
Winchester SO23 0HX, UK

Just outside the forest is Winchester, the ancient capital of England. There you’ll find the Black Rat. Don’t be turned off by the rodent theme. Jon Marsden Jones spins the stove with the kind of vim and vigour one might hope from someone in charge of a Michelin-starred kitchen. He’s well loved for his decadent fix of duck-fat brioche with game terrine, liver, and red currant. And his range is evident in delicate wild salmon, which might be paired with seaweed and local greens, pureed and blanched, or a more fortifying spiced beef short rib, with burrata, harissa, tomatoes, and chimichurri.

3. The Royal Oak

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Fritham
Lyndhurst SO43 7HJ, UK

This freehouse in Fritham, dating to the 1600s, has a diminutive menu — ploughman’s and pork pies are staples. Handsome wedges of cheeses from the excellent Lyburn Farm a few miles away, local ham, and punchy pickles are the formula here for a trusty lunch. Appropriately, it’s all delivered through a low-slung bar in the thatched cottage.

4. Lime Wood

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Beaulieu Rd
Lyndhurst SO43 7FZ, UK

With its celeb-speckled spa, haute interior, and the surrounding fecund forest nestling in at every opportunity, Lime Wood Hotel is a sybaritic affair. In keeping, its restaurant is “led” by chef-legend Angela Hartnett, and Luke Holder. Small plates hop off the pass all day. Cue vitello tonnato and the ubiquitous-menu-favourite smoked cod’s roe. A la carte is all polenta agnolotti with truffle, artichoke and dried tomato, and Hampshire saddleback pork.

Polenta agnolotti, truffle, artichoke, and dried tomato at Lime Wood in the New Forest
Polenta agnolotti, truffle, artichoke, and dried tomato at Lime Wood
Lime Wood [Official Photo]

5. The Pig

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Beaulieu Rd
Brockenhurst SO42 7QL, UK

Established in 2011 by hotel hotshot Robin Hutson, The Pig in Brockenhurst, was an immediate hit for its menu, the ingredients for which were all sourced from within 25 miles of the restaurant. Today, the forest’s produce remains a focal point for chef James Golding, who plucks leaves from the garden and smokes local hog and trout whenever he can. The restaurant’s menu is split under headers like “piggy bits,” “forest bits,” “mostly picked this morning.” Hampshire wood pigeon, cauliflower cheese with Isle of wight blue, and zero mile mushroom risotto are all comforting stars of the show.

The Pig
The Pig [Official Photo]

6. The Terrace Restaurant

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Palace Ln, Beaulieu
Brockenhurst SO42 7ZL, UK

At The Terrace in Beaulieu, folks rave about chef Matthew Tomkinson’s signature: Sweet voluptuous Scottish scallops come with a creamy cauliflower puree and nudges of coriander and cumin. For those prone to menu-envy, best get the tasting menu, which includes stunning desserts like chilled New Forest strawberry consommé with lemon verbena sorbet and almond tuile.

Chef Matthew Tomkinson’s chilled New Forest strawberry consommé with lemon verbena sorbet and almond tuile
The Terrace Restaurant [Official Photo]

7. The Elderflower Restaurant

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4A Quay St
Lymington SO41 3AS, UK

When former Chewton Glen chef Andrew Du Bourg set up his solo venture in 2013, it made waves among denizens. His CV includes stints at Michelin-starred The Goring and Club Gascon in London, so classic cooking is the mainstay. Currently, most popular is the theatrical dessert called ‘Close, But No Cigar’, a heady chocolate-coffee-whisky combo. Though, keep a snout out for more rustic options like home-cured ham, cured sea trout, and suckling pig.

The Elderflower Restaurant in Lymington
The Elderflower Restaurant [Official Photo]

8. The Dining Room at Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa

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Christchurch Rd
New Milton BH25 6QS, UK

A visit to Chewton Glen in New Milton elicits mixed responses. It’s posh, in a word. Nevertheless, its dowdy-luxe vibe attracts a crowd of all generations. There’s a new cookery school, The Kitchen, where Tom Kitchin and other famous names from around the British Isles make cameos. The Dining Room is run by Luke Matthews, a champion of seafood and a dab hand with local vegetables. It’s also worth checking out the spa and treehouses.

Asparagus at Chewton Glen
The Dining Room at Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa [Official Photo]

9. The Larder House

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4 Southbourne Grove
Bournemouth BH6 3QZ, UK

Yes, this is 10 miles beyond the forest on an unlikely suburban road. But, here, owner James Fowler turns out some noble food and cocktails worthy of the extra miles. A master of many, he cooks from a wood-fired oven, while making charcuterie, serving day-fresh seafood, and shaking some serious cocktails (this is a chef who won Diageo’s 2014 World Class U.K. Bartender of the year). The txuleton steak, charred mackerel fillet, and rock oysters are popular choices.

Ham hock and cheesy pea galette at the Larder House near the New Forest
Ham hock and cheesy pea galette at the Larder House
The Larder House/Instagram

10. Verveine Fishmarket Restaurant

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98 High St, Milford on Sea
Lymington SO41 0QE, UK

The fishmongers at Milford on Sea’s Verveine dates back 50 years. Cannily, they morphed the back area into a restaurant where, thanks to chef and patron David Wykes’ thoughtful menu, it’s heaving. Turbot char siu, scallop porridge and sea bass are three specials. Worth noting, there’s a cookbook out soon.

Smoked eel, chicken skin, pickled onions, and brown sauce at Verveine in the New Forest
Smoked eel, chicken skin, pickled onions, and brown sauce at Verveine
The Electric Eye/Facebook

1. The Greyhound on the Test

31 High St, Stockbridge SO20 6EY, UK
Shrimp pilaf at the Greyhound on the Test near the New Forest
Shrimp pilaf at the Greyhound on the Test
David Griffen/for Greyhound on the Test

Just yonder from the forest is the village of Stockbridge. Its rudely pretty high street is awash with food gaffs, but the most cherished is Greyhound on the Test. Stockbridge wild mushrooms on toast with garlic and sage, Broughton buffalo carpaccio, and the watercress (no doubt from nearby watercress-mecca, Alresford) with Old Winchester cheese and almond salad, are just a few winners from Chris Heather’s modern British repertoire.

31 High St
Stockbridge SO20 6EY, UK

2. The Black Rat Restaurant

88 Chesil St, Winchester SO23 0HX, UK

Just outside the forest is Winchester, the ancient capital of England. There you’ll find the Black Rat. Don’t be turned off by the rodent theme. Jon Marsden Jones spins the stove with the kind of vim and vigour one might hope from someone in charge of a Michelin-starred kitchen. He’s well loved for his decadent fix of duck-fat brioche with game terrine, liver, and red currant. And his range is evident in delicate wild salmon, which might be paired with seaweed and local greens, pureed and blanched, or a more fortifying spiced beef short rib, with burrata, harissa, tomatoes, and chimichurri.

88 Chesil St
Winchester SO23 0HX, UK

3. The Royal Oak

Fritham, Lyndhurst SO43 7HJ, UK

This freehouse in Fritham, dating to the 1600s, has a diminutive menu — ploughman’s and pork pies are staples. Handsome wedges of cheeses from the excellent Lyburn Farm a few miles away, local ham, and punchy pickles are the formula here for a trusty lunch. Appropriately, it’s all delivered through a low-slung bar in the thatched cottage.

Fritham
Lyndhurst SO43 7HJ, UK

4. Lime Wood

Beaulieu Rd, Lyndhurst SO43 7FZ, UK
Polenta agnolotti, truffle, artichoke, and dried tomato at Lime Wood in the New Forest
Polenta agnolotti, truffle, artichoke, and dried tomato at Lime Wood
Lime Wood [Official Photo]

With its celeb-speckled spa, haute interior, and the surrounding fecund forest nestling in at every opportunity, Lime Wood Hotel is a sybaritic affair. In keeping, its restaurant is “led” by chef-legend Angela Hartnett, and Luke Holder. Small plates hop off the pass all day. Cue vitello tonnato and the ubiquitous-menu-favourite smoked cod’s roe. A la carte is all polenta agnolotti with truffle, artichoke and dried tomato, and Hampshire saddleback pork.

Beaulieu Rd
Lyndhurst SO43 7FZ, UK

5. The Pig

Beaulieu Rd, Brockenhurst SO42 7QL, UK
The Pig
The Pig [Official Photo]

Established in 2011 by hotel hotshot Robin Hutson, The Pig in Brockenhurst, was an immediate hit for its menu, the ingredients for which were all sourced from within 25 miles of the restaurant. Today, the forest’s produce remains a focal point for chef James Golding, who plucks leaves from the garden and smokes local hog and trout whenever he can. The restaurant’s menu is split under headers like “piggy bits,” “forest bits,” “mostly picked this morning.” Hampshire wood pigeon, cauliflower cheese with Isle of wight blue, and zero mile mushroom risotto are all comforting stars of the show.

Beaulieu Rd
Brockenhurst SO42 7QL, UK

6. The Terrace Restaurant

Palace Ln, Beaulieu, Brockenhurst SO42 7ZL, UK
Chef Matthew Tomkinson’s chilled New Forest strawberry consommé with lemon verbena sorbet and almond tuile
The Terrace Restaurant [Official Photo]

At The Terrace in Beaulieu, folks rave about chef Matthew Tomkinson’s signature: Sweet voluptuous Scottish scallops come with a creamy cauliflower puree and nudges of coriander and cumin. For those prone to menu-envy, best get the tasting menu, which includes stunning desserts like chilled New Forest strawberry consommé with lemon verbena sorbet and almond tuile.

Palace Ln, Beaulieu
Brockenhurst SO42 7ZL, UK

7. The Elderflower Restaurant

4A Quay St, Lymington SO41 3AS, UK
The Elderflower Restaurant in Lymington
The Elderflower Restaurant [Official Photo]

When former Chewton Glen chef Andrew Du Bourg set up his solo venture in 2013, it made waves among denizens. His CV includes stints at Michelin-starred The Goring and Club Gascon in London, so classic cooking is the mainstay. Currently, most popular is the theatrical dessert called ‘Close, But No Cigar’, a heady chocolate-coffee-whisky combo. Though, keep a snout out for more rustic options like home-cured ham, cured sea trout, and suckling pig.

4A Quay St
Lymington SO41 3AS, UK

8. The Dining Room at Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa

Christchurch Rd, New Milton BH25 6QS, UK
Asparagus at Chewton Glen
The Dining Room at Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa [Official Photo]

A visit to Chewton Glen in New Milton elicits mixed responses. It’s posh, in a word. Nevertheless, its dowdy-luxe vibe attracts a crowd of all generations. There’s a new cookery school, The Kitchen, where Tom Kitchin and other famous names from around the British Isles make cameos. The Dining Room is run by Luke Matthews, a champion of seafood and a dab hand with local vegetables. It’s also worth checking out the spa and treehouses.

Christchurch Rd
New Milton BH25 6QS, UK

9. The Larder House

4 Southbourne Grove, Bournemouth BH6 3QZ, UK
Ham hock and cheesy pea galette at the Larder House near the New Forest
Ham hock and cheesy pea galette at the Larder House
The Larder House/Instagram

Yes, this is 10 miles beyond the forest on an unlikely suburban road. But, here, owner James Fowler turns out some noble food and cocktails worthy of the extra miles. A master of many, he cooks from a wood-fired oven, while making charcuterie, serving day-fresh seafood, and shaking some serious cocktails (this is a chef who won Diageo’s 2014 World Class U.K. Bartender of the year). The txuleton steak, charred mackerel fillet, and rock oysters are popular choices.

4 Southbourne Grove
Bournemouth BH6 3QZ, UK

10. Verveine Fishmarket Restaurant

98 High St, Milford on Sea, Lymington SO41 0QE, UK
Smoked eel, chicken skin, pickled onions, and brown sauce at Verveine in the New Forest
Smoked eel, chicken skin, pickled onions, and brown sauce at Verveine
The Electric Eye/Facebook

The fishmongers at Milford on Sea’s Verveine dates back 50 years. Cannily, they morphed the back area into a restaurant where, thanks to chef and patron David Wykes’ thoughtful menu, it’s heaving. Turbot char siu, scallop porridge and sea bass are three specials. Worth noting, there’s a cookbook out soon.

98 High St, Milford on Sea
Lymington SO41 0QE, UK

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