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Woodlands Lodge Hotel
A privately owned 3 star country house hotel the Woodlands Lodge is ideally situated on the edge of the New Forest. The Hotel is perfectly placed to explore the forest, which can be accessed directly from the hotel gardens, visit the city of Southampton, or the many local museums and gardens. Of course if you prefer you can just sit back and relax and unwind with us in the Hotels picturesque setting and let us spoil you.
Our aim is to provide a welcoming and informal atmosphere in which you can fully enjoy the luxury and charm of the Woodlands Lodge and the Forest. There are 16 individually appointed and styled rooms, which have a mix of contemporary and traditional decoration to provide a comfortable and relaxing stay.
There are 4 suites and 13 bedrooms. All rooms have en suite facilities and all have king sized beds (except the twin). All rooms have flat screen TV's with free view access, free Wi-fi access, writing desks, radio alarm clocks, hairdryers, tea and coffee making facilities and I- pod docking stations for all your music needs.
Dogfriendly Magazine Review
Read our comprehensive review of this listing printed in our bi-monthly magazine.
Woodlands Lodge Review By Helen Price
Entering the New Forest on a sunny afternoon on lanes surrounded by beautiful towering trees we were extremely excited to explore a place new to my husband Ben and I (and to our Jack Russell cross Tilly, of course). After being stuck in traffic on our journey down (M25 to M3 from Hertfordshire), we decide to stop at a place called Deerleap to stretch our legs. It was a lovely place to start our weekend, situated off of Deerleap lane, just opposite the New Forest wildlife park. There are couple of options for walking there, one being a loop you can follow or you can head down to the stream and back. The loop is just over 5k and made the perfect stopping point for our first walk in the area, Tilly loved it with lots of new smells to follow. There is plenty of opportunity for your dog to have time off of the lead it is just asked that the dogs are under control or on lead around the horses and cattle that are a fantastic regular sight in the New Forest.
We arrived at Woodlands Lodge hotel in the late afternoon. The reception was well laid out in line with COVID requirements. Hand sanitiser readily available and floor markings spaced to follow the social distancing rules. There was also leaflets providing information on how to stay safe during your stay at Woodlands Lodge. This didn’t detract from the wonderful welcome though. The staff were so kind and helpful supplying us with maps and information for the weekend and happy to chat to us about places to go and enjoy during our stay. Heading upstairs to our room Tilly had a very waggily tail and ran the perimeter of the room full of excitement, finishing by jumping up to have a look out of the bay window so that she could have a good nosey at the people sitting in the gardens enjoying an afternoon drink. Tillys attention was quickly diverted when she realised that I had found her welcome pack, which was a gluten free bone and a hotel branded towel and blanket, the blanket and towel were for use for the duration of your stay but were available to purchase from reception if you wanted to. The information sheet for dog visitors is kind to dog owners and didn’t contain a long scary list of rules to follow which was refreshing. On here it listed the areas of the hotel that your dog is welcome which is most places bar the main restaurant. The full dog friendly information for the hotel can be read before booking and is available on Woodlands Lodges website.
For dinner on our first night we ate at the hotel, we had heard that the food was amazing and we were not disappointed, it was delicious with the perfect portion sizes, I very much recommend during your stay that you have at least one dinner here. We loved the hotel staff they went above and beyond and gave us the choice of the lounge or conservatory to have our meal in both by the windows with lovely views over the grounds, so we opted for the lounge where they then set Tilly up her very own little dog space with a cosy bed for her to relax on while we ate. After dinner we took Tilly for an evening stroll in the gardens. The hotel ask that dogs are kept on lead in the grounds as it is shared with other guests, a poop bin is provided just inside the entrance gate. Pretty and well cared for, the grounds look on to the back of the hotel and were lovely to sit in on a warm summer’s evening in August. So we sat down with Tilly & took in the last of the days sunshine before heading to bed.
The next morning we woke up early ready for the day ahead and had a yummy breakfast in the hotel, this was slightly different due to COVID there wasn’t the option of a continental buffet style breakfast but instead a very good table service breakfast menu with choices to suit everyone.
So we thought a good place to start our morning would be the New Forest Heritage Centre which is less than ten minutes from the Hotel in Lyndhurst, the Heritage centre has pay and display parking and is perfectly situated for exploring the village whilst here. The centre is free to enter and dog friendly with water bowls placed outside for them and members of staff loved saying hello in the shop and the museum. Ben and I thought it was a brilliant starting point for newcomers as it has plenty of books, local guides, maps and information you can buy to help guide you on your time in the area along with local history books and being an equestrian I loved the selection of books on the New Forest Ponies. The museum was so interesting and walks you through the local history as you go around which we enjoyed.
On our drive into the Lyndhurst we had driven past an area called Bolton’s Bench where we had spotted lots of New Forest ponies roaming so following our visit to the heritage centre we took a short walk through the beautiful village of Lyndhurst and arrived to find my idea of heaven. Ponies and dogs as far as the eye could see. Being the summer holidays the area was busy but due to the size of the space it didn’t feel that way at all. Tilly was ready to go, I unclipped her lead and she was bouncing around having a mad five minutes zooming about and sniffing everything she could. As with all the areas we walked in whilst staying it is asked that dogs are under close control when off lead or kept on a lead if this isn’t possible. If your dog isn’t used to horses and cattle then this will be a holiday where you would often have them on the lead so do bare that in mind, fortunately for us Tilly is a yard dog so used to animals of all varieties and took little notice of them. It is asked that no one approaches any of the livestock throughout the New Forest. The area has a pretty little cricket pitch near to the car parking area and then past this are some natural sand banks and then miles of beautiful landscape and woodland to walk. There is a set track that is better for parents with children to walk as it is more established and parts gravelled. As we are child free Ben, Tilly and I went off the beaten track and created our own loop and having a sit down to take in the view. Tilly was having the time of her life with her nose to the ground and running as fast as her little terrier legs could carry her. There is plenty of open space to have a picnic if you wanted to while walking, however Ben had his eye on a cute looking lunch venue called The Greenwood Tree Café in the village. The food was incredible, so incredible in fact that I decided to order a cream tea after I had already had a ciabatta, it was so tasty and even though my eyes were bigger than my belly I was not leaving a single crumb. With restrictions it was table service and paying at the table by card to reduce movement around the café. The staff made sure they came over and offered Tilly a water bowl and said hello to her which was kind of them. We could see it was a very busy and popular café but we weren’t rushed in anyway, so we had nice relaxing lunch. The village was extremely dog friendly with many shop owners greeting Tilly which she thought was wonderful of course.
Our next adventure for the day was Bucklers Hard. Bucklers Hard is a picturesque Ship building village with a fascinating history dating back to the eighteenth century through to more recent historical times, including it being the location for the building of motor torpedoes during the Second World War and being a landing base for hundreds of landing craft for the Normandy landings. It is now a popular tourist spot. It features a hamlet of Georgian houses with a Shipwrights house set up historically so that you can get a glimpse of how the shipwright and his family would have lived. The maritime museum is so interesting and has so much information. Ben loved the history of the place and I loved the views. Sitting on the bench at the top of the hill looking over the village on a warm summers day was bliss. Dogs are not permitted in the buildings, so it is a case of having to take turns outside with your dog to both get to see everything. There is an outdoor seating area to the café and plenty of picnic space and tables on site as well for when you would like to eat. Tillys favourite part of the trip here was the River Cruise, the tickets for this are purchased separately as you board the cruise. Tilly loved the wind that the speed of the boat whipped up as we had a tour of the local area by boat, other visitors were smiling and enjoying watching her have a great time. Dogs are welcome on the cruise but must be kept on lead. Bucklers Hard is part of the Beaulieu Estate which is home of the National Motor Museum a short drive from Bucklers Hard however dogs are only allowed in the grounds here and not the buildings again, the grounds and gardens are said to be beautiful so it would be a lovely trip on a day where the weather is kind.
Our evening was spent at the Rockingham Arms which a 15-minute drive away from the hotel. When looking for local dog friendly pubs their website really caught my eye. It did not disappoint, the owner Liz created a welcoming and homely vibe and we could see there were lots of repeat customers dining there, we emailed ahead to request a table in the bar where they welcome dogs, be sure to book in advance when bringing your dog, also if you have larger breeds or more than one dog it is asked that you mention it just so you are seated with the space you need . The food was divine, and all the team were genuinely wanting to chat and make you feel at home and there was just a lovely energy here. There is also a stylish gift shop attached to the pub, this is where I picked up some dog friendly candles and treats for Tilly which she was very happy about and even had a little dance as I opened the packet so the clearly smelt fabulous to her and tasted it too as they soon vanished.
We opted for a lazy Sunday morning at the hotel with a later breakfast before checking out. Woodlands lodge provide you with a map for a walk from the hotel with a short or long route available, Tilly was raring to go so off we went to test the walk out. This walk was my favourite of the weekend, it was a quieter area and we saw endless New Forest ponies which really is what makes staying here wonderful and the most endearing and unique thing for staying in the New Forest. I will always be that little girl that gets excited when she sees ponies having ridden since I was 5 years old. I can’t believe I have never visited this horse haven before. New Forest we loved you and everything about you, we will be back soon as there are still so many more places to see and walks to explore.
THE WOODLAND LODGE HOTEL REVIEW BY HELEN PRICE APPEARS IN DOGFRIENDLY MAGAZINE ISSUE 62. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE DOGFRIENDLY MAGAZINE VISIT WWW.DOGFRIENDLY.CO.UK/MAGAZINE.
Imogene Anglaret, October 2020
Super dog friendly in an amazing location!
Jane Curtis, August 2020
Really welcoming to our dogs. The gardens lead straight into the forest.
Melanie Baldwin, March 2018
Had a lovely overnight stay at Woodlands Lodge. The dogs had treats and doggy towels left out for them and the evening meal and breakfast was pretty good. Great location and friendly helpful staff.
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