There’s nothing us big city folk like more than a weekend in ‘the countryside’ – a term usually used for anywhere outside the M25 – but a two hour drive (or 90 minute train journey from Waterloo) in to Hampshire and you’re in the middle of the New Forest, arriving at the manicured trotters of The Pig Hotel in Brockenhurst.
Having previously stayed at its nearby sister hotel, Lime Wood, and boldly declared it one of my favourite UK hotels, I knew I was in for a something special at The Pig Hotel.
With a similar feeling of effortless luxury, with more of a rustic-chic look, The Pig is a country house hotel that places food at its core, from the meticulous cultivating of ingredients to rearing the livestock to the dishes that arrive at your table.
The 26 rooms at The Pig Hotel are divided between the main mansion house and converted stables, centred around the prized walled garden where most of your food is sourced.
Our stable room was spread over two floors (the only split level room) with exposed bricks, a large, comfortable bed, and a huge bathroom with a free-standing bath and a double shower so powerful that you will long for it for weeks after you leave.
Like its name, The Pig is full of playful touches, including the ominously named ‘Dog House’ stable room. Be careful not to end up there.
Walking around the grounds at The Pig Hotel is a must – hundreds of plants, vegetables and herbs are grown for the kitchen, all of which are helpfully labelled for a spot of education.
There are plenty of gorgeous spaces to relax outdoors in various pockets of the grounds, making The Pig a lovely summer retreat, although the absence of air conditioning in the bedroom could prove challenging for some (me)!
The restaurant is located in the conservatory with a design akin to a glasshouse with ample foliage, potted plants and rustic tables and chairs. The contemporary British menu is very much seasonal and ingredient-led, with the ’25 Mile Menu’ a true representation of locally sourced.
Piggy treats dominate the menu, with the highlights being creamed polenta with Hampshire chorizo, pappardelle pasta with lamb shank and crispy pork belly with spiced honey. The Pig also has a gorgeous private dining room for group bookings and special occasions.
The main house has a number of beautifully designed rooms with comfortable chairs in sumptuous fabrics, exposed brick walls and open fire places – all vital ingredients for the ideal countryside break.
While the clichéd sight of multiple Hunter Wellington boots lining the wall always makes me wilt a little inside, my guest saw it as a lovely touch.
The Pig is a rather wonderful country house hotel that is suitable for all seasons and will leave you positively snorting with joy.
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