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The Master Builder’s House Hotel in the fantastically titled village of Buckler’s Hard is classic English country given a bold shot in the arm. Its restaurant does a good line in posh pub grub (Beaulieu Estate; from £130).

The boutique Stanwell House in Lymington offers countryside escapism and plush suites: one has a Hollywood theme and two come with their own terrace. You can also hire a yacht through the hotel (14–15 High St; suites from £220).

The major road to the area is the M27 from Southampton. Trains run hourly to the main train station in Brockenhurst from Basingstoke, Winchester, Bournemouth and London Waterloo (London Waterloo from £60), while services from Southampton connect with Lymington (from £20). Regular bus services operate from Bournemouth and Southampton (singles from £3.60). The national park is superb cycling territory: bikes can be hired in Brockenhurst, Burley and Lyndhurst (from £10 per day).

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The article ‘Mini guide to New Forest's pub walks’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet Traveller.

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