Lime Wood, a boutique country house hotel in the New Forest, has a setting so divine it could inspire a new national anthem. With beautiful surroundsing, a spa and top notch, relaxed cuisine, it’s the ideal spot for a rural recharge
Words: Trish Lesslie
I’m a London girl through and through, but even I – city rat that I am – occasionally have a hankering for England’s green and pleasant land. Having recently hankered, I booked myself in to Lime Wood, a boutique country house hotel in the New Forest, which has a setting so divine it could inspire a new national anthem.
Just a few minutes from the pretty village of Lyndhurst, the Regency house – dating back to the 13th century – was largely rebuilt in 2008 following the original neo-classical structure, a task undertaken so sympathetically that period character still shines through.
With a setting as stunning as this, interiors have a lot to live up to and they don’t disappoint. With contemporary flourishes from the late, great David Collins, who designed the elegantly understated interiors (as well as the Blue Bar at The Berkeley Hotel, among so many other landmark venues in the capital), there are 32 bedrooms in total, 16 in the main house, with the remainder divided between various buildings dotted around the grounds including forest cottages full of rustic charm.
Whichever you choose, it’s worth the trip for the restaurant alone, HH&Co. Angela Hartnett and Lime Wood’s Luke Holder have created an Italian-inspired menu with top-quality ingredients sourced locally (the hotel even smokes its own salmon and meats on the grounds). The dining is certainly fine, but refreshingly informal.
HH&Co also provide similarly tasty breakfasts, lunches and snacks throughout the day and there is lighter fare, with a focus on raw foods available in the delightful spa (check out the delicious healthy cocktails made with Jax Coco coconut water).
It’s worth the trip for the restaurant alone, HH&Co. Angela Hartnett and Lime Wood’s Luke Holder have created an Italian-inspired menu with top-quality ingredients sourced locally
A haven of tranquillity within a tranquil haven, the Herb Garden Spa is pleasingly luxurious. It’s big enough never to feel crowded and designed so you often have an entire section more or less to yourself. The changing rooms have a home-from-home vibe, with divinely-scented Bamford toiletries (as found in the bedrooms) and no shortage of fluffy robes and towels.
There are three heated pools (training, hydro and outdoor hot tub), a gym and a delightful, meadow-like rooftop herb garden with views across the Hampshire countryside, There’s a spacious steam room and a huge sauna with a picture window overlooking the forest, too.
Shooting, sailing and horse riding are all available nearby and with the Forest – and the wild horses that roam in it – all around, you’re in the perfect location for a forage or ramble. All less than two hours by train from London. I know where I’ll be heading back to next time I need a rural fix…