Need a little escape for some wholesome downtime, fresh air and delicious food? Emily discovers Burley Manor in the heart of the New Forest.
Wild horses greeted us as we turned off the main road and across the New Forest towards Burley Manor. Grazing by the roadside against a backdrop of heather and endless sky (although their presence cannot be guaranteed), they certainly helped set the tone for a pretty spectacular stay at Burley Manor.
Under 2 hours from London (ideal for any ‘term time’ mini break), we got to Burley Manor on a Friday evening. With a greeting from the glorious Marilyn in the majestic entrance hall and an impressive log fire burning, this really was the warmest of welcomes – even the four legged friend was involved (yet another luxury hotel happy to take on your dogs).
The main building is spectacular and steeped in history yet it’s been brilliantly refurbished to offer interiors to die for, endless lounges and cosy snugs plus a dining room where the focus is on a Mediterranean based menu. We stayed in Room 42 which was in the stable part of the manor – endlessly spacious we enjoyed a vast double bed, a living area, a bathroom made for long lazy soaks, and a decked balcony overlooking a field of deer. Yep, it’s idyllic.
If you’re a fan of weddings, like our founder Nat – you’ll need to check out their wedding offerings as it’s the ideal location, space and the staff are all a dream.
Branded (humbly) as a “Restaurant with Rooms”, Burley Manor doesn’t disappoint on the food menus. You absolutely must have dinner here – I even got tempted to host some huge imaginary event in the private dining room complete with chef’s table and wood fired oven. We ordered from the Tapas menu to start – a great way to try as many dishes and flavours as possible – then we each enjoyed our own mains (everything is locally sourced). The list of provenance on the back of the menu shows the dedication the chef and his team have to finding the best food around. The desserts are well worth saving a little space for if you possibly can. Lots of the wines are by the bottle, or a carafe (a perfect option for my husband who has missed sharing a bottle of wine in my pregnancy!)
Deep sleeps are blissful here – it’s dark and totally peaceful outside, you’re only likely to be disturbed by the occasional owl! The rooms are as cosy as can be and it’s lucky the breakfasts are exceptional if only to tempt you out of your room again.
I was also treated to the most heavenly facial in the treatment rooms here. Make the most of your stay and book yourself in for some real pampering – the therapists are brilliant and the “My Kinda Skin” treatment was perfect for me as I never quite know what my skin needs. On my return (because I will be going back!) I’ve vowed to try one of the Mediterranean Massages – all of which sound amazing.
Just to ensure you are fully revived before your return to normal life, make sure you explore the grounds. As well as manicured gardens and an outdoor pool (used in summer only) there are acres of grounds to walk around and the deer provide an excellent photo opportunity – especially on misty winter walks.
Burley Manor is clearly a happy place to be, to work and to stay. The staff are as helpful as can be, the guests are so laid back they are grinning like cheshire cats, and it’s just generally a wonderful spot to discover. Treat yourself to a stay – or at least pop in for lunch or dinner in these cold winter months.
For more information and to book visit the Burley Manor website here: burleymanor.com
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Images © Burley Manor