New Forest Coast Pubs and Restaurants
To us, an important element of any holiday is going out and discovering interesting places to enjoy a drink or a good meal. Fortunately, over the last few years Milford has become a bit of a ‘foodie’ destination. There are in fact no less than eight restaurants, three pubs, a fish and chip shop, a traditional beach cafe and four coffee places all within a 5-10 minute walk of Mulberry Barn and Old Walls flat.
Whilst within easy walking distance of Lime Grove is ‘The Crown’ which to our mind serves the best local pub food.
All the following views are our personal experiences, and there are many other worthy places to visit and we suggest buying the local newspaper ‘Lymington Times’ for all the nearby restaurant promotions and advertisements. We do recommend booking particularly Friday and Saturday nights as well as Sunday lunch.
Whilst you are in the area watch out for products that carry the The New Forest ‘Marque’ logo. Buying a Marque® product means you are getting authentic New Forest fare of the highest quality and you are also helping to support the traditional country ways in this unique and special landscape.
So enjoy mouthwatering cakes, traditional hearty pies, carefully-reared meat, locally-caught seafood and traditional New Forest crafts – you will find all this and more under the banner of the New Forest Marque.
Verveine Fishmarket Restaurant. This restaurant offers a contemporary dining venue in the heart of the village. The menu has a very strong fish bias and sources much of their produce from local suppliers. Small, fun and imaginatively served food – this is our preferred village eatery and highly recommended. Winner of Hampshire Magazine ‘best 2011 restaurant’. ’The owners also run a traditional fishmonger (same address) should you wish to cook your own fish dinner! Reservations 01590 642176 or www.verveine.co.uk
The Marine. Milford’s art deco restaurant has a dramatic position on the seafront with panoramic views to the Needles. Downstairs is a comfortable café and bar with a terrace whilst upstairs is a fine dining restaurant serving modern British food. The roof terrace is open in summer for drinks and light meals. Listed in the 2012 Good Food Guide. Reservations 01590 644369 or www.themarinerestaurant.co.uk
La Perle. A restaurant in the heart of the village and as the chef is French is has a French tilt to much of its menu. Good food at a more modest price. Reservations: 01590 643557.
The Raft. Opened last year this new restaurant fills a niche between pub and restaurant food. More of a chic bistro specializing in pizza’s, platters and salads mostly with a Mediterranean theme. Great also for a glass or two of wine. Reservations 01590 645300.
Zaika is the village Indian restaurant. Not too large, friendly and with a good variety of dishes it is a popular place to eat and consistently good. Reservations or take-away 01590 643084.
Thai Britannic has a menu in line with its name. Rather on the pricy side but they offer a 20% discount on take-away which makes it that much more affordable. Tasty but with the speed in which the food is delivered not too sure it is freshly cooked. Reservations or take away 01590 642226.
South Lawn Hotel A little further to walk to and appears to cater more for the mature seniors. We have not eaten there but Sunday lunch is very popular. Nice terrace for summer dining and afternoon teas served. Reservations 01590 643911
Westover Hall represents the top end of the local market. A great setting, close to the cliff edge and overlooking the Needles it has excellent food and good service which is slick if a little brisk at times. A venue for that special celebration – they have a small terrace and on summer days take advantage of their special two course lunch + glass of wine. Reservations 01590 643044.
Needles Eye Beach Café Open from 9am to 6pm this inexpensive family run café is a great place for an English breakfast, a cup of coffee or a lunch time snack and with a license you can now enjoy a drink or two when you eat. We often walk down there on a sunny evening to enjoy a New Forest ice cream and watch the sun go down.
White Horse. If we go out to a pub in Milford this is our first choice, good ambience, friendly staff and sensibly priced reasonably food - although on a hot summer’s evening it does get very warm in side. (01590 642360)
The Smugglers. Over the last two years this pub has improved enormously since it was taken over by a local business person who already runs other successful Forest pubs. However, we do find it does cater primarily for families – great if you have young children – not so good if you want a quiet drink! Good children’s play area and large outside terrace. (01590 644414)
The Red Lion. To my mind this pub lacks atmosphere and I find it strange that there are no bar stools! Having said that this pub does an excellent Sunday lunch and if you have a family (or just want to sit outside) they have the nicest beer garden in the village. (01590 642391)
Mr Pink is the village fish and chip shop. The queues outside his shop are a testimony to how popular and good his fish dinners are!
Zaika’s and Thai Britannic do take-ways as already mentioned
Milford-on-sea coffee places
Bon Appetite (opposite the Post Office) has excellent coffee, smoothies and organic juices as well as a good selection of light bites and baguettes.
Polly’s Pantry a traditional village tea room does a good selection of coffees, light meals and ice creams.
The Village Coffee shop has a selection of cakes and baguettes
Anger Lise’s Good coffee and an interesting selection of open smoresborg sandwiches
Restaurants - further a field
There are a number of excellent restaurants nearby – here is a selection:
Pebble Beach at Barton is a fine dining contemporary designed restaurant with good views over Christchurch bay, an outside terrace and a good reputation. Well worth a visit even if just for a light lunch. (01425 627777)
Gordleton Mill in Hordle has a good local reputation for excellent, consistently good food as well as a lovely setting by the side of a stream. It has a restaurant, a bar area and a large outdoor terrace which is an ideal lunch or evening drink venue on a warm summer day. (01590 683073)
The Jetty in Mudeford (Christchurch Harbour Hotel) is another newish restaurant that is managed by local celebrity chef Alex Aitkens. A restaurant and bar so you can just relax with a bottle of wine or enjoy a meal from their good but unpretentious menu whilst enjoying great views over Mudeford Quay. (01202 400950)
The Conqueror – part of Eastclose Country Hotel in Hinton, is yet another new local restaurant. The large bar area has an open log fire, low tables and comfy sofas. The dining room serves modern cuisine in a smart, relaxed and informal atmosphere. Reservations 01425 672404.
Terravina Hotel, in Woodlands is frequently rated as one of the top restaurants in the south of England (Remy Martin award in 2009). One side of the restaurant opens onto a wonderful veranda for al fresco meals when the weather is warm. The owner, Gerard Basset, was voted the World’s Best Sommelier in 2010 so even the house wine is superb! If you are a wine buff this is the restaurant for you! Reservations: 02380 293784
Chewton Glen Hotel, New Milton, the quintessential 5 star luxury English country house hotel that has won countless awards over the years is just five miles away. For sheer indulgence and relaxation try a Spa Day. Fine but expensive dining. To experience this style of living on a budget have a drink on their terrace on a fine summer’s evening.
Stanwell House in Lymington is a privately owned boutique hotel that has a good fish restaurant with an interesting menu. If you are visiting Lymington this is a more interesting spot for coffee rather than your traditional high street coffee places. (01590 677123)
Lime Wood a relatively new 5 star boutique hotel in heart of the New Forest. (Lyndhurst). Two restaurants which both focus on local organic produce – Hampshire food at its finest!, www.limewoodhotel.co.uk. Or call 02380 286998.
Herb House Spa part of Lime Wood Hotel – bookings 02380 287177
The Pig the little sister hotel to Lime Wood but with more attitude. More of a restaurant with rooms in nearby Brockenhurst. Check out the web site as they also take their cooking pretty seriously. www.thepig.co.uk or call 01590 622354.
Lymington has a good selection of inexpensive restaurants, all on the High Street:
- Lanes – reservations 01590 672777
- Prezzo – reservations 01590 677910
- Ask – reservations 01590 670419
- Brasserie Gerard – reservations 01590 688689
Pubs - further a field
The Crown (01590 642655) at Everton to our mind serves the best Pub Food around these parts and this is our first choice for pub food. Yes – you pay a bit more – but we still go back!
The Gun(01590 642391) in Keyhaven is a great place to stop for a break whilst out walking. Their Crab sandwiches are very popular.
The Ship (01590 676903) on the quay in Lymington is a delightful place for an evening drink, though we have not been so lucky with the food there.
The Chequers. (01590 673415) At Pennington/Lymington is another traditional pub that caters for the ‘yachties’ Plenty of garden area and if you are feeling energetic it is a great walk from Milford via Keyhaven and the sea wall to Lymington. (Approx 2 hour walk). The return journey length depends on the sort of lunch you had!
Fisherman’s Rest (01590 678931) in Lymington – another friendly pub that has a good food reputation
The Red Lion in Boldre (01590 673177) is a good traditional pub that serves home made dishes and locally sourced produce.
The Oak Inn (02380 282350) at Bank (just west of Lyndhurst) is a favourite of ours as close to some good forest walks. The food is excellent
The Hare and Hounds (01590 682404) in Sway has always been a popular local pub with reasonable food. My favourite is the liver and bacon stack!
East End Arms in East End (01590 626223) is owned by the bass guitarist of Dire Straits - see the many pop icon photos on the walls. Tucked away this pub food serves great food and well kept Ringwood Best. Reserve a table to avoid disappointment! (Drive past the Lymington ferry and keep going until you pass the pub on your right).