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Review of The Blacksmith's House, Brockenhurst, New Forest

Posted by at 02:21 on Thursday 03 October 2013

Lucy Symons dodges some hairy traffic, meets a self-proclaimed Fish Wife and lets herself in to an unusual B&B in the stunning New Forest National Park.

>> For contact details and availability, see our full listing for The Blacksmith's House

>> The Blacksmith's House is featured in our Greentraveller Guide to The New Forest

The Blacksmith's House, Brockenhurst, photo: Lucy SymonsThe Blacksmith's House, Brockenhurst, photo: Lucy Symons

The Setting
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 Blacksmith's House, bedroom, photo: Lucy SymonsThe Blacksmith's House, bedroom, photo: Lucy SymonsThe Rooms
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 openness 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 itself.  All rooms but one have an en-suite bathroom and double beds.  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. 

Fabulous breakfast offerings, photo: Lucy SymonsFabulous breakfast offerings, photo: Lucy SymonsThe Food
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.

The Activities
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.  Blue route New Forest Tour, photo: Lucy SymonsBlue route New Forest Tour, photo: Lucy SymonsWithin 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. Hairy Traffic on the streets of the New Forest, photo: Lucy SymonsHairy Traffic on the streets of the New Forest, photo: Lucy SymonsThere 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.

A Twizy in the bushes in Brockenhurst, photo: Lucy SymonsA Twizy in the bushes in Brockenhurst, photo: Lucy SymonsThe Green
All loos are fitted with a cistern lever that is switched off when not in use.  Milk is provided in bottles to share with guests.  If you arrive by foot or bike, train or bus there's a free cream tea on your arrival and you can make yourselves sandwiches for lunch from the breakfast buffet.

How to get there by public transport
Trains from London to Brockenhurst take about an hour and twenty minutes and run surprisingly frequently.  Bournemouth and Southampton stations are ten minutes away.  The local line to Lymington runs every half an hour and takes you to the ferry for the Isle of Wight.

Top Tip
The two rooms: Mary Queen of Scots and the Ducking Stool both have brass 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. View of the Isle of Wight, photo: Lucy SymonsView of the Isle of Wight, photo: Lucy Symons

>> For contact details and availability, see our full listing for The Blacksmith's House

The Blacksmith's House is featured in our Greentraveller Guide to The New Forest

Posted by Lucy Symons


Blogs posts categorised as 'Reviews' have been written with the support of one or more of the following: accommodation owner, activity provider, operator, equipment supplier, tourist board, protected landscape authority or other destination-focussed authority. The reviewer retains full editorial control of the work, which has been written in the reviewer's own words based on their experience of the accommodation, activity, equipment or destination.

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