There’s a warm glow which comes when reading a newspaper article called ‘Cosiest pubs to stay in this winter’ and realising you are heading off to stay in one of those featured that very day. This happened to me recently when about to head off to The Bell Inn in the New Forest; reading The Times over my morning coffee I found that it had been singled out as the perfect place from which to enjoy bracing country walks (and to return to for post-walk drinks by its log fire).
Expectations were high therefore as I took to the road and thankfully I wasn’t disappointed – The Bell Inn is a charming place and I was fortunate enough to stay for two extremely cosy nights.
Having previously spent a considerable amount of time driving through the New Forest itself to get to various hotels I was surprised at how handy The Bell Inn is to get to – it was literally just a few minutes off the M27 so you don’t waste a moment snarled up in Lyndhurst traffic before getting stuck into some serious relaxing.
The Bell Inn has been in the Crosthwaite Eyre family for hundreds of years (since 1782 to be precise). Much of the food served in the restaurant has either been grown or raised on the family’s New Forest estate – some also comes from the family’s estate in Scotland – so the pub is very much a local enterprise and during my stay was preparing to host a dozen local suppliers in its annual Christmas fair.
To book directly with the hotel, go to: The Bell Inn website
To check prices click on: HotelsCombined – Expedia – Hotels.com
To get the latest prices and read more reviews go to The Bell Inn on TripAdvisor
While the building might be old, inside it has the look and feel of a more modern establishment, with immaculate carpets, newly-painted walls, cream wood cladding around the bar and much smarter than the uneven flooring, low ceilings and generally rickety feel that I was expecting, given its age. Continue reading The Bell Inn: a cosy New Forest coaching inn perfect for country walks