As a child of the seventies, I had often imagined living in a log cabin, ‘Little House on the Prarie’ style. I dreamed of skipping through meadows and sleeping tucked up with my sister in a little wooden bunk. Fast forward three decades and my dreams came true, not in Minnesota, USA but closer to home at Lime Wood Hotel in Lyndhurst, Hampshire.  Lime Wood’s newest accommodation offering, the Forest Cabin delivers authentic log bunk beds with a real log stepladder, which made scrambling into bed much more fun for my two daughters. The master bedroom thankfully was much more grown up, with a huge rustic bed and the softest linens and meringue-like pillows. The Forest Cabin family adventure allows a more self sufficient style, perfect if staying with a young family. This includes a grown up pantry that included the essential Nespresso machine, a chicken wire basket full of sweet and savoury treats, homemade preserves, cereals, teas, not to mention the fully stocked Smeg fridge with interesting wines, beers and soft drinks. We loved the daily delivery of a loaf of crusty bread, wrapped up in waxed paper and string, and the ‘Grolsch’ style milk bottles with their wire and rubber stoppers. Fending for ourselves in our cosy warm cabin was a novelty, whether it was a relaxed family breakfast or a much needed pot of warming tea after a long forest walk. Hunkered down for the weekend, we enjoyed devouring the goodies in the pantry and endless games of Monopoly and Cluedo in front of the wood-burning stove.

We have previoulsy stayed at Lime Wood, a deux, for a special anniversary and delighted in a large ‘Generous room’ overlooking the lawn in the main house. This time, with our daughters and 6 month old puppy in tow, we needed something a little more suited to our varying needs. We visited just after New Year, thinking this could be a quiet time when the hotel and staff might be a little jaded from the recent celebrations. Nonetheless, the hotel sparkled with festive decorations and we were met with an enthusiastic, young and energetic team to which nothing was too much trouble and who made us feel like the only guests. which, we weren’t, as the hotel was full to bursting.

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Although Lime Wood does not offer a kids club as such, it is such a family friendly hotel which offers designated swimming times for children in the pool at the Herb House Spa. Baby (and dog!) sitters can be arranged, and children and younger tots are very welcome either in the Courtyard for more casual dining or in the restaurant Hartnett Holder & Co. The hotel is located within 200 square miles of the New Forest National Park, so dog walks, despite the horizontal rain were the order of the day during our January stay. In milder months, there are heaps of attractions locally for families and the Lime Wood team are keen to assist you with suggestions, maps and reservations.


One night, my husband and I escaped our Forest Cabin, leaving the girls and the puppy in the capable hands of Laura, a local nursery teacher and babysitter. A golf buggy whisked us up the long drive to enjoy cocktails in the Courtyard, followed by an incredible dinner at Hartnett Holder & Co, the acclaimed yet unpretentious restaurant by Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder.  My main course was, quite possibly, one of the best pasta dishes that I have ever tasted: the Agnolotti with roasted squash, goats cheese and sprouts. One mouthful quickly confirmed that this restaurant offers something very special. The atmosphere buzzed, with hotel residents, families and locals. Dinner was rounded off with a selection of desserts, served by Ms Hartnett herself, who buzzed around the restaurant and returned enthusiastically to us to hear our comments and feedback on a new creation that included salted caramel almonds and white chocolate. Luckily for us, we had an energetic puppy and miles of beautiful forest to explore the next morning in order to work off the deliciously indulgent offerings at Lime Wood’s 5 star restaurant. 

Sophie suggests…

  • If you are looking for privacy the Forest Cabin and Forest Lodges at Lime Wood are ideal
  • You can be as casual or as smart as you like – the hotel oozes style, but is really relaxed and unstuffy
  • Borrow some wellies from the Boot Room, explore the forest then head back for toast, tea and the papers in front of the fire 
  • Luxuriate in the complimentary Bamford toiletries – organic and supplied in abundance


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