This Christmas, because my Nana passed away in September we were all dreading the festive season this year. We felt being at home, with every memory being so raw this year that it would be too much. We didn’t really want to go away too far due to our work commitments, so I suggested the New Forest would make a lovely Christmas escape. We live in a rather wonderful location that lends itself to both being near to the stunning Dorset coastline but also very near to the beautiful New Forest in Hampshire.
We started to look at all the festive packages on offer and each looked as lovely and as tempting as the other. In the end we decided on Rhinefield House which is a stunning country house hotel set in forty acres of peaceful and secluded gardens in the heart of the New Forest. And here’s how you celebrate Christmas in The New Forest….
We arrived to Rhinefield in the late afternoon on Christmas Eve. I always forget how beautiful driving through the New Forest is. The landscape, with shades of burnt oranges, green and purples is just too pretty for words. And not to mention the adorable sighting of the infamous New Forest ponies nestled against the road just minding their own business! Our journey then took us off the main road onto the long enchanting driveway, gently shaded by Canadian Redwood, Copper Beech trees and lined with Rhododendrons which makes for the grandest entrance.
And then you glimpse the beauty of Rhinefield House, the magnificent, country mansion surrounded by acres of stunning grounds. Rhinefield has a really interesting mixture of Tudor and Gothic architecture with fine examples of woodcarving, masonry and plasterwork. It is often referred to as the ‘Jewel in the Forest’ for this very reason and is apparently the only 4 red star hotel in the Forest. In 1885 the only daughter of the Walker family became engaged to a Lieutenant Munro, and was given as an engagement present £250,000 with which to build a family home at Rhinefield.
Once we had parked and gawped some more at our beautiful surroundings we were shown to our hotel rooms, where we treated to Port, Chocolate and basically every treat you can imagine! There was also the cutest toy owl I have ever seen (every room has one I believe) that has a ‘Do Not Disturb’ ribbon on. I’ve never seen anything as cute or quirky as this! I fell ridiculously in love with said owl, Olivia to be precise…more on her later ;).
That evening all the guests gathered in their cosy bar for canapés and Christmas carols around the fire. It truly doesn’t get more festive than that! We then all went to the award-winning 2 rosette Armada Restaurant and sat down for a 7 course meal which was truly delicious. And I must say the hotel was so super wonderful in relation to allergies as I’m allergic to Dairy and honestly they couldn’t have been any more helpful.
The next morning we all went down for a delicious breakfast and then retreated back to our rooms to open our presents. I am so thrilled my presents went down so well and I was treated myself to such lovely things. I think one particular favourite is Tilly Walnes ‘Love At Stitch’ book as I’m such a huge fan of the Sewing Bee.
Unfortunately later that day I started to feel terribly nauseous. I feel nauseous truly nearly all the time, but it’s not obviously something that I think makes for the most exciting blog content….! Nine times out of ten, I accept it as part of my general health and move on, but to be ill on Christmas Day just isn’t the one and can make you feel very low. My family were incredible as usual and I made sure I ate what I could for the lunch as everything had been tailored made so perfectly for me and everything was truly perfect. Later that day I decided to be sensible and rest for a bit whilst my family explored the surroundings. In the evening the hotel prepared a perfect buffet which was just the best thing for someone like myself with a teeny appetite! The food is so good at Rhinefield honestly I can’t begin to explain! I ventured out after the buffet to snap a photo of the beautiful night sky and after a LUSH bath retreated to bed.
Boxing Day was our last day in the hotel but sadly I woke up in agonising stomach pains so I couldn’t move, but my Mum came back with a present for me which gave me tears of joy: An Owl from the gift shop! Honestly, I am such a big kid!! This definitely put a smile on my face and after some determination I tried to recover what I could of the day by heading to the very lovely spa for a facial and manicure. It definitely made me feel so much more relaxed and for someone that adores beauty I scarcely visit spas.
And that’s how you spend Christmas in the New Forest. Although it was annoying to be ill at Christmas I still had a magical experience. So, I want to know all about your Christmas? I’d love to know everything about your time, if you celebrate! Also, has anyone else been to Rhinefield House or love the New Forest as much as I do?