Deep in the heart of the New Forest National Park sits Lime Wood – a luxury country house hotel that combines old school country house charm with decidedly contemporary comfort.
Perched ceremoniously at the end of a long, sweeping driveway, the handsome, honey-stone Georgian house is surrounded by acres of unspoilt forest gardens and beautiful manicured grounds, complete with copper swings hanging from century old oak trees.
Formerly a 13th-century hunting lodge, today Lime Wood is one of the UK’s chicest boutique country house hotels with landscaped gardens, a super spa, 29 beautifully designed rooms and suites, and a world famous restaurant, HH&Co.
When you arrive at the hotel, you are greeted by roaring fires and plump couches, and an eclectic mix of antique and bespoke furniture and hand-picked artwork and objects d’art.
The hotel has taken great care not to lose the building’s original charm, and has instead evolved over the years to develop a unique character, combining luxury, glamour and English heritage with eccentric twists to create a laid-back but luxurious atmosphere.
The spa has a state-of-the-art gym and offers a range of exercise, pilates and yoga classes, and their healthy focused Raw & Cured café serves up salads, freshly cured meat and fish from the hotel’s Smoke House as well as fresh juices and smoothies.
Feeling super relaxed and refreshed, we got changed for dinner and headed to the HH&Co restaurant. The “HH” are celebrity chef Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder who work together to create locally sourced seasonal English dishes with a focus on sharing and provenance.
HH&Co is a laid back, stylish and comfortable upscale restaurant – full of character, yet unpretentious, with bare wooden tables, homespun crockery and informal dishes and prices that are nicely grounded.
Start with a delicious sharing platter of smoked salmon (smoked in their own on-site smoke house), meats, pickles and dips. The main courses are generous and hearty and celebrate locally sourced produce and game. Wash it down with an excellent bottle of Pinot Noir and you could quite happily stay there all night!
HH&Co also have a cookery school, ‘Backstage’, which teaches small groups of up to 10 students how to master various skills, be it preparing game or making pasta.
For a chic, glamorous yet utterly relaxing weekend country break from London or just every day life, Lime Wood Hotel really hits the spot.