3 (all year)
Dairy Cottage is the perfect retreat for couples with a pretty king-size bedroom, modern stylish kitchen area and log burning stove for cosy nights in front of the fire. Sitting on the edge of the Dorset village of Alderholt, the cottage is on the Hampshire border and within easy reach of the New Forest National Park.
Well equipped throughout, as its name suggests, the building was formerly a dairy and today still retains much of its charm. It accommodates two guests (plus a child in a cot or on a small futon) and is a perfect base for exploring the areas many attractions including pretty villages to explore, miles of tracks and trails through the forest and lovely beaches for those seeking the coast.
Alderholt is a sizeable yet pretty village with a pub which serves food, Alderholt Mill for teas at the weekend and a Co-op (with post office) for stocking up on provisions. It is just two and a half miles from the county town of Fordingbridge which sits on the river Avon and has a good range of shops and places for a meal out. The market town of Ringwood is also a short drive away, as is Moors Valley Country Park and Forest (just fifteen minutes by car) with tracks and trails to satisfy both walkers and cyclists, a little steam railway and also Go Ape for a tree top adventure. For water lovers, the New Forest Water Park offers lakes for surfing, canoeing and kayaking.
Spend your days relaxing in the grounds of Dairy Cottage (where you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of deer) or head into the forest and explore the pretty thatched villages where the famous ponies and cattle wander freely. Hire a bike (or bring your own) and enjoy the leafy lanes and forest trails, or relax over a leisurely lunch in one of the many traditional pubs serving locally produced food. There's also no shortage of places to enjoy a cream tea!
The forest offers excellent opportunities for those who enjoy horse riding - one of the best ways to see the many quieter areas off the beaten track, and plenty of places to enjoy a picnic for two amongst nature.
For those who want to explore the wider area, Southampton, Salisbury and Bournemouth are all within easy reach by car.
Heather & Denis Castle joined Independent Cottages in June 2016
Additional information: No Smoking. Dog may be accepted by arrangement. A cot or futon can be provided for children, along with a high chair. Wi-Fi internet access. Bed linen and towels are provided and included in the price along with heating and electricity. Short breaks are available and charged from £170 in low season, £210 in mid season and £240 during high season (three night minimum breaks offered).
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