Peppa Pig World is one of those places that’s on every young family’s to-do list. Luckily, It’s situated in a lovely part of Hampshire in the New Forest, from national parks to amusement parks, pretty villages and seaside towns, there’s something for every taste. Just two hours in the car from London, not far from Southampton, Bournemouth and the Isle of Wight, there’s a great place to stay that makes a serious point of catering to children and their frazzled parents in equal measures.
New Park Manor is luxury country escape in the village of Brockenhurst, officially declared Britains most beautiful place to live. Its grounds sit directly within the National Park, which means that when it comes to attractions, they have half their job done.
Their back garden merges seamlessly in to countryside with wild deer and wild horses roaming literally within touching distance. The views are truly magnificent, waking up to a herd of deer silently moving in unison from one end of the field to another, is not something witnessed from a window in London!
Not content with the wild surroundings, Luxury family Hotels, the people behind New Park Manor and a handful of other beautifully situated family escapes, has made the most of their huge garden making it an enchanting place to while away the afternoon.
From the patio where tables and chairs spill out into the sunshine for drinks beneath umbrellas watching the children play, they have a heated outdoor pool and lots of spaces naturally separated by the shape of the garden; a place for croquet, football goals set back below. The garden is filled with activities for the young and old, nooks and crannies for playing hide and seek, age appropriate wooden climbing frames that blend into the trees and the outdoors.
All of the important common areas of the hotel look out on to the garden, notably kids club which has its own secure area with loads of outdoor imaginative play, akin to a full on nursery – it’s OFSTED registered, so really it is, two trampolines, ride on cars, a mud kitchen and so much more. The swimming pool too, as does the hot tub and relaxation area. Nothing is more relaxing than spotting animals in the countryside.
Our two day break kicked off well. Shown to our impressive Muntjac family suite in the forest wing, all rooms named after trees and deer, we unpacked and enjoyed the view. Two bedroom with a huge interconnecting bathroom, kitted out with a deep bath and walk-in shower, our own terrace complete with outdoor beanbags and uninterrupted views of the forest. With a homely, comfortable yet contemporary feel, it was perfect.
Almost immediately afterwards it was time for our massages. We had booked the children in to the crèche for the afternoon, a two hour slot of free childcare, football and trampolining, so dropped them off for some outdoor fun whilst we headed to the Elemis spa. With an indoor pool, a hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam room and sanarium, panoramic views of the forest, it’s easy to lay back, relax and forget about the children. It’s a true haven for relaxation. We both opted for thirty minute bespoke massages with aromatherapy oils and both emerged blissfully relaxed. My massage, although short, was expertly given, meaning that I switched off from the very first minute. My husband also a calmer version of his usual street out self! With an instruction to leave the oil on my body for a long as possible to work it’s magic, we reluctantly left making a mental note to return with the kids for a family swim.
Back to the room for showers we hardly had the time to see the children before dropping them off for the first of two family movies screenings in the cinema. Comfortable seating, freshly-made popcorn and a huge screen kept them busy until dinner time.
The hotel has two dining options, one adults only for those who are staying to take advantage of the spa and the gorgeous countryside setting and the other for families. It works well. We ate in peace as a family in the airy conservatory overlooking the garden. Good weather meant that the door was open for the kids to play in the garden whilst we enjoyed not having to rush. The food here is a big draw too. Locally sourced with a carefully thought out menus, foodies, young and older are catered for well.
pleasantly full, we retired to a very comfy bed, watching the daylight fade from our balcony, taking in nature. The next day, up early to watch the deer, I sat at our window taking some photographs as the sun rose. A simple yet very special pleasure.
Now there are lots of things to do both at the hotel and nearby. We headed out to Peppa Pig World for the day. A promise had been made to our three year old and it had to be kept. Less than twenty minutes away, New Park Manor is a perfect base. It’s too far to day trip from London if you want to fit a whole day in at the theme park. There’s so much to do and when the weather is good, lots more to explore, as Peppa Pig World is part of Paultons Park- a theme park that offers something for every age with over 70 attractions. From the slower ones for the younger children within Peppa Pig World, to fast paced white knuckle roller coasters, through to traditional Victorian Merry go rounds, we had a fabulous family day out. What sets Paultons apart from others is it’s setting – 140 acres of parkland. There’s plenty of space to relax and enjoy plus an amazing collection of animals and birds too. Don’t forget to the sunscreen and if you can, a picnic as there is plenty of outdoor space to relax and enjoy.
Back to the hotel after a jam-packed day we just about had the energy to sit outside on the terrace watching the children play and the sun set.
Our last morning came far too soon. Luckily we had planned well and signed the children up to breakfast club. A stroke of pure genius. A quiet little knock on the door at 8am and the children are whisked away to kids club and supervised breakfast, whilst mum and dad enjoy the biggest luxury you can imagine as a parent – a Sunday lie in. This place really has thought of everything!
Rates from £329 for An Early Summer Special. Two nights stay including breakfast and dinner and two hours per day complimentary crèche.