7 (all year)
The Garden Chalet is a lovely dog-friendly cottage in a beautiful village inside the South Downs National Park. Its open-plan space is ideal for couples who want to escape to the peace and tranquillity of the Hampshire countryside, while a sofa bed means it can work for small families as well. The chalet is in a peaceful location away from roads and surrounded by a private garden, yet still within walking distance of the centre of East Meon and its two friendly pubs, the Izaak Walton and Ye Olde George Inn.
East Meon is like stepping out of the 21st Century where everything is rushed and noisy, and into a more relaxed era when people had the time to greet each other and enjoy spending uninterrupted time with their family and friends. The village was part of a larger estate which belonged to Alfred the Great and William the Conqueror, and it has a Norman church and medieval hall, with bronze age burial mounds nearby which date back four thousand years. As well as its two pubs, the village has a small but well-stocked shop.
While you can get the basics in the village shop, you may prefer to get the bulk of your groceries a few miles away in Petersfield where there is a supermarket as well as a twice-weekly market held every Wednesday and Saturday. The market town also has a local museum spread over three sites a short walk from each other, as well as a choice of places to eat, drink and shop. Further amenities are available in Chichester and Winchester, both of which are within 20 miles from The Garden Chalet and an excellent choice for a day out.
One of the big draws of the Southern Downs National Park is the wealth of walking and cycling routes. The South Downs Way passes close to the village, opening up miles of the spectacular countryside between Winchester and Eastbourne. One of the easiest ways to get your bearings is by following the circular 1.5-mile route that starts and ends in the village (at your choice of pub, if you prefer!), while climbing Buster Hill will reward you with far reaching views of the National Park. Alternatively, set stride up Park Hill from behind the village church and stop at the peak or take one of several footpaths for a longer walk.
Alternate places to walk or ride include the Old Winchester Hill nature reserve three miles from the cottage, The Queen Elizabeth Country Park five miles away, or Wildhams Wood and Stoughton Down which are particularly gorgeous in spring when carpeted with fragrant bluebells. The beautiful landscape is home to a multitude of birds with birding popular at places including Waggoners Wells, Farlington Marshes and Selborne.
The Garden Chalet is part of a small, family-run farm. Although the owners are nearby to greet guests and answer any questions, the accommodation is self-contained and private with your closest neighbours being a herd of alpacas in a nearby field. The River Meon passes through the farm and guests are welcome to walk around the 11 acres.
Chris Moor joined Independent Cottages in June 2019
The Garden Chalet is a former farm building that has been transformed into a comfortable self-catering property with accommodation all on one level. The 20ft x 22ft room has a studio layout with everything except the bathroom in one spacious area.
Outside: The cottage has a private, enclosed garden with stunning views and deckchairs where guests can settle back and enjoy them, as well as off-street parking.
Additional Information: Utilities, WiFi, bath towels and sheets for the main bed are provided. Guests to supply sheets for the double sofa-bed if it is required. Well-behaved pets are welcome with prior agreement from the owner. Smoking is not permitted.
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