The Bell Inn Stay & Play Review
The Bell Inn is a former coaching inn nestled in the heart of the ancient New Forest National Park in Hampshire. Its heritage can be traced back to 1782 and today it retains a traditional and quintessentially English charm. Under new management, which also encompasses three very different golf courses, Golfshake sent Ambassador Rob Treanor to take stock of the accolades this impressive venue has gained with Golfshake members.
The Bell Inn is a traditional country inn with rooms, located on the edge of the picturesque village of Lyndhurst in the New Forest. The upmarket venue has 26 luxurious en-suite rooms, a bar and restaurant, as well as a very pretty enclosed English country garden. The golfing facilities are exhaustive, with three 18-hole golf courses complemented by superb practice facilities.
A unique feature of this venue is the access to three very different golf courses, all set within a breathtaking national park. The Forest Course is a heritage gem and is an absolute must play. The modern Manor Course complements this nicely, with both tracks located at the Highly Recommended Bramshaw Golf Club. In addition, the venue also offers an inland links challenge via the Championship Course at Paultons Golf Centre. There is a serious amount of variety here to keep even the most adventurous golfing enthusiast engaged.
The Bell Inn is also perfectly located to act as a base to explore some of the big name courses nearby. Broadstone, Ferndown and Parkstone are all only a few minutes’ drive away, meaning the Lyndhurst location makes a lot of logistical sense. A great value combination would be to experience the unique charm of the 150 year old Forest Course, before taking on one of the famous venues on the same trip.
The Toptracer range and six hole academy course at Paultons Golf Centre mean that there really is something for every level of ability. Testimony to the quality of the experience is how many accolades Bramshaw Golf Club has achieved with Golfshake. Highly Recommended for the past five consecutive years, an Outstanding venue in 2020 and 2021, it also featured on the 2022 Must Play list. The quality of the greens at all three courses are a major contributing factor to the excellent feedback the triumvirate have attained. Outstanding and exhaustive golfing facilities come as standard at this venue!
The historic coaching inn retains a tremendous amount of olde world charm. The oak beamed corridors are illuminated by pictures of the surrounding countryside and its bountiful nature. The 26 bedrooms are elegant, sophisticated and the perfect place to relax at the end of a busy day. This is a quintessentially English establishment which plays to the surrounding New Forest location and - to its credit - has retained all of its historic appeal.
The en-suite bathrooms continue the luxurious theme, stocking Duck Island toiletries which smell divine. Enormous fluffy white bathrobes finish the opulent sensory experience… the weight of these towels is genuinely impressive, as is the large rain shower!
For animal lovers, the variety of roaming wildlife in the area is something to behold. Ponies, donkeys and cows are just a few of the creatures observed not ten yards from the bedroom window during our trip. Dog friendly rooms are also available for those wanting to bring their four legged friends.
The Bell Inn’s cosy bar has plenty of comfortable seating thoughtfully arranged in the nooks and crannies where the original bar stood, offering a feeling of intimacy. A large fireplace results in a welcoming cosy feel, complemented by hearty offerings such as the weekly Sunday Roast at the restaurant next door.
Warm summer vibes emanate from the pretty English Country garden to the rear. This private, enclosed space has an abundance of seating and for those with a competitive spirit; a petanque court lies in wait at the bottom of the garden.
A great onsite bar like that at the Bell Inn can really make or break a golf trip. After a hard day on the fairways, often the natural flow of activity involves a quick shower and change before reconvening with the rest of the group for a revitalising drink. Having the bar on site makes a big difference as does a great food offering.
And the Bell Inn certainly delivers on food. The restaurant is offset from the bar area, though shares the oak beams and wood cladding, creating a homely and welcoming space. Typical menu choices include a delicious burger, sirloin or ribeye steak and freshly caught hake. The restaurant takes pride in sourcing local produce direct from suppliers based nearby in the New Forest.
An elegant private dining space completes the offering, which can be reserved for larger groups or special occasions. Afternoon tea is a regular fixture, as are regular themed events such as half price late afternoon cocktails or Pimms and petanque events.
The breadth of nearby entertainment is outrageous; with seaside trips, quaint market towns and major cities and sporting venues just a few minutes away. The New Forest offers all manner of outdoor activities and the tour bus stops literally a few yards from the front door of the Bell Inn. This makes the venue a perfect base from which to explore the local area and all it has to offer.
This is a fantastic venue in an even better location. The variety of different golfing options is virtually unparalleled, offering something for everyone and sufficient variety to accommodate an extended stay. With a new spa also being planned at the venue, there really is an abundance of riches to choose from.
The historic features of the coaching inn with its charming wooden beams are a real highlight. The venue is brought to life by an excellent front of house team who deliver truly five star service. With great food, spectacular wildlife and luxurious rooms, it is a compelling destination for a golf break in one of the most beautiful and historic areas of the country.
For more information on The Bell Inn, please visit https://www.bellinn-newforest.co.uk/.
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