24 HOURS IN Lyn­d­hurst

Hampshire Life - - Charity -

As the New For­est’s de facto cap­i­tal, this thriv­ing vil­lage makes a

great base for a New For­est break – EMMA CAULTON vis­its

MORN­ING

For­get La­p­land for a Christ­mas break – a stay­over in the New For­est is so much eas­ier. In­stead of rein­deer there are freely roam­ing deer, don­keys, ponies and cat­tle. A good frost makes the land­scape look all win­try and sparkly, and if there’s snow, you can even en­joy some sledg­ing ac­tion on the slopes of ‘Bolton’s Bench’ at the bot­tom of Lyn­d­hurst’s High Street.

Ac­tu­ally, Lyn­d­hurst makes a great base for ex­plor­ing the New For­est. It is often re­ferred to as the New For­est’s cap­i­tal as it is home to both the New For­est District Coun­cil and the Verder­ers’ Court, based in the Queen’s House - the only sur­viv­ing ma­jor build­ing of the Charles I pe­riod in Hamp­shire. It is the Verder­ers who are tasked with con­serv­ing the New For­est’s char­ac­ter, land­scape and wildlife by ad­min­is­ter­ing the For­est’s unique agri­cul­tural com­mon­ing prac­tices. Each of th­ese ad­min­is­tra­tive centres (the Queen’s House and the Coun­cil of­fices) sit like punc­tu­a­tion points at the top and bot­tom re­spec­tively of Lyn­d­hurst’s busy High Street. In be­tween them, hid­den away on Lyn­d­hurst’s cen­tral car park (a con­ve­nient if util­i­tar­ian lo­ca­tion) is the

New For­est Her­itage Cen­tre, com­pris­ing mu­seum, gallery, ref­er­ence li­brary, gift shop and café.

If you want to find out more about the For­est, this is where to go. The great lit­tle mu­seum is free (dona­tions in­vited) and has lots of imag­i­na­tive, Fore­stre­lated dis­plays and ac­tiv­i­ties. Th­ese in­clude the sounds and at­mos­phere of Beaulieu Road pony sales yard on trad­ing day, the New For­est in World War

II, Alice’s look­ing glass (the real Alice through the Look­ing Glass lived in Lyn­d­hurst lat­terly), fun fam­ily tree, bark rub­bing, even a guess the an­i­mal poo quiz – a bit of a naughty one for the kid­dies! For those who are more se­ri­ous about un­der­stand­ing the For­est, the Cen­tre is also home to the Christo­pher Tower Ref­er­ence Li­brary. This com­pre­hen­sive col­lec­tion of ma­te­rial about the New For­est is ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic and en­com­passes guide books and top­ics such as gyp­sies, nat­u­ral his­tory and mil­i­tary his­tory. The gallery has an ever-chang­ing pro­gramme of ex­hi­bi­tions – cur­rently it is Com­mon­ers’ Voices, cel­e­brat­ing the For­est’s com­mon­ing com­mu­nity, its peo­ple, an­i­mals, knowl­edge and skills (un­til 6 Jan­uary 2019). There’s also a well-stocked gift shop for sou­venirs and Christ­mas gifts – in­clud­ing cute cud­dly an­i­mals, mugs dec­o­rated with stags and Hamp­shire-made trugs. Fi­nally stop off at the small, wel­com­ing Tip, Leaf and Bean Café with a good se­lec­tion (as the name sug­gests) of loose leaf teas and cof­fees.

LUNCH & TEA

If there’s one thing in Lyn­d­hurst that’s plen­ti­ful, it is places to eat and drink. You’re trip­ping over tea rooms, cafes, bistros, restau­rants and pubs. Rec­om­men­da­tions? It de­pends what you’re look­ing for. Tea lovers can en­joy a very good cuppa at Tea To­tal. The Green­wood Tree Café is liked for its hearty all-day break­fasts. For an old-fash­ioned tea room ex­pe­ri­ence try Lyn­d­hurst Tea House (the menu in­cludes tra­di­tional treats such as a Lyn­d­hurst ver­sion of Welsh rarebit and trea­cle tart), Peggy Mays, pret­tily styled with retro spotty table­cloths in ice cream pastels, and friendly, quirky, Mad Hat­ter’s Tea Room - themed in ho­mage to Alice Har­g­reaves, nee Lid­dell, the orig­i­nal in­spi­ra­tion for Lewis Car­roll’s Alice.

Oth­ers worth a mention are The For­age Deli & Ea­terie with an im­pres­sive choice of lo­cal good­ies in­clud­ing Pinch of

Salt Char­cu­terie, New For­est Ap­ple Juice, Ash­lett Creek Cider Vine­gar, Ly­burn Cheese and chilli jams and car­rot chut­neys from

LEFT: There’s plenty to do at the New For­est Cen­tre with mu­seum, gallery, gift shop and cafe

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