Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.
Who’s hungry? A spell away from home on holiday also doubles as an adventure for your tastebuds. The day times on self-catering holidays are generally taken care of with a delicious picnic, but when it comes to the evening meal most of us are looking for something that extra bit special. The New Forest has some excellent restaurants to try out, which may need to be booked in advance. With the New Forest’s location, seafood is readily available fresh from the ocean. Pork and beef are high on the menu too, so get ready for some gourmet treats on your holiday.
Here’s a small selection of the best places to eat in the New Forest. Bear in mind this is just the tip of the culinary iceberg! You'll find all of these wonderful restaurants within the boundaries of the New Forest National Park, close to our New Forest holiday cottages.
The Terrace restaurant is an establishment in the heart of Beaulieu which boasts 3 AA rosettes. It has a good reputation as one of the finest restaurants in the New Forest. The head chef is a Roux scholar, and that should be enough to make anybody want to sample the quality food on the modern menu. The restaurant has a kitchen garden for producing its own vegetables, fruit and herbs.
The lunch and dinner a la carte menu is legendary, or you can choose a three course meal from a list of interesting choices. Starters include wood pigeon and oxtail lasagne amongst others. The main is a mouth-watering collection of roast chicken, or lamb, turbot and vegetarian dishes. The menu is updated frequently and displayed online.
The Terrace is situated in the centre of the beautiful villages in the south east of the New Forest National Park, centred around a picturesque duck pond. The Beaulieu Estate is close by for a leisurely stroll to walk off the meal, if you are sampling The Terrace's considerable menu.
Early booking is advised - although there is a choice of restaurants at the Montagu.
Phone: 01590 624467
Specialising in seafood, The Jetty in Mudeford, on the outskirts of Christchurch, is a real treat. With views across Christchurch Harbour to Hengistbury Head, this is a fantastic spot for a bit of alfresco dining on a warm evening.
All the fish and shellfish are landed at Mudeford Quay daily, so they are fresh as can be. The Jetty has won multiple awards for its fare and deservedly so. Whether it's sipping wine on the terrace at lunchtime to enjoy some top quality sea snacks or dining from one of the popular ad-hoc menus, The Jetty is definitely a dining spot to include in your New Forest itinerary.
The menus mainly consist of seafood concoctions but there are other choices for those that don't partake. There is a delicious looking a la carte menu, a tasting menu, a vegetarian selection and the catch of the day, which could be anything from an Isle of Wight lobster to rock oysters from Poole Bay and a whole sea bream.
Make sure you book a table early to avoid disappointment.
Phone: 01202 400950
If seafood isn’t at the top of your menu, try The Pig in Brockenhurst for its meat and veggie menus. The Pig restaurant has a varied menu and a lot of the ingredients are sourced from its own kitchen garden; the eggs are from their own free-range chickens too. Whether your tastes are steaks or large roasts, gourmet burgers or pizzas, The Pig has you covered. There is also a great seafood and dessert menu.
The Pig is a big hit with families too and good reviews in the press keep the place on the New Forest gourmet map. It's well located, centrally within Brockenhurst, close to the village's railway station and bus stops. For late nights, it's easy to find a cab in Brockenhurst too - see our getting around page.
Book a table in advance if you can, especially at the weekend.
Phone: 01590 622354
Specialising in seafood, Verveine is another winner. Based in Milford-on-Sea, this restaurant even has its own fishmongers. Its menu is a good reflection of the unique mix of food sources that the New Forest provides, being coastal and deeply rural. The fishmongers is also a big plus for those who are self-catering and would prefer to do the cooking themselves. It is great to buy locally caught fish, froze, to take back home on the last day of your holidays.
Verveine doesn't publish its menus, but it does offer the option to telephone the restaurant to enquire what's on the grill that day, or to discuss allergy requirements. The Verveine does offer an expansive taster option, as well as a Catch of the Day.
The restaurant is situated close to the beach and is tastefully decorated to make the dining experience memorable and enjoyable.
Again, advanced booking is required to avoid disappointment.
Phone: 01590 642176
If you fancy a taste of Europe with a New Forest twist, Le Blaireau in Brockenhurst could be the place. Le Blaireau is the French word for badger for those who don't already know. This French restaurant, set in a great location in Brockenhurst, has a great mix of regional French cooking using New Forest produce. There's also an opportunity to sample locally landed sea food alongside more traditional French fare. The menus are presented in the same format you'd expect to see in a French establishment. There is an expansive selection of entrees to choose from, and vegetarians and pescatarians are also very well catered for. There’s every chance that you may feel like you’re in Paris when you’re really in the depths of Hampshire.
Located within Carey's Manor and SenSpa it's also got plenty of places to unwind, so why not enjoy a spa experience or a pre-dinner swim? Carey's is close to the centre of Brockenhurst and its railway station.
Phone: 01590 623551
The Haven in Lymington is an inviting seafood restaurant situated at the Yacht Haven Marina. The waterside views from the marina of the Solent are incredible and the ambience of the establishment is one of class and warm sophistication.
Family run and owned, the delicious fresh fish and shellfish choice is accompanied with a varied and unique wine menu. It has a very good reputation as one of the very best places to enjoy a relaxing evening meal along the New Forest coast, with something on the menu to cater to everyone. Make the most of its outdoor terrace in the summer months, as you watch the sun go down with friends and family.
Book in advance to avoid missing out.
Phone: 01590 679971
The Oak Inn in Lyndhurst is a welcoming New Forest pub with an enticing and varied menu created to please. Well-known locally for its fresh New Forest and Hampshire-sourced food and broad selection of real ales, The Oak is a great spot to settle into after a day of exploring the lush countryside or for a good Sunday lunch.
The Oak Inn is a Fuller’s pub and their kitchen slogan boasts: ‘every dish is our signature dish.’ By keeping the meals simple, honest and fresh with flair, they’ve successfully added a modern twist to traditional British pub food.
Phone: 02380 282350
Self-catering in the New Forest
We hope we haven’t made you too hungry whilst reading this guide! If you're also looking to cook up some meals of your own during your stay, you can make the most of the produce the New Forest has to offer with our guide to New Forest markets, farm shops and producers.