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At a glance

  • You'll love

    Exacting service

    Gorgeous interiors

    Sumptuous spa

  • Kids will love

    Cake in the Courtyard

    Romping in the grounds

    Foraging adventures

  • Don’t expect

    A crèche/kids club

    A beach nearby

    Raucous racing around


You’d be forgiven for expecting Lime Wood hotel and spa in the New Forest to be a touch grand: but despite an imposing Regency exterior and interiors by David Collins Studio, this is an informal if luxurious home-from-home. Unobtrusively child-friendly (there’s no kids club or crèche here), families come here to hang out together enjoying great food, green grounds and good times.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Lime Wood with us:

A bottle of champagne


Every property featured in the Smith & Family collection – including Lime Wood – has been selected and approved by parents.


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Lime Wood – Hampshire – United Kingdom

Need To Know


32, including 14 suites – five larger suites are suitable for families – and two Forest Cottages, which are stylish, secluded and perfect for larger groups.


12 noon. Earliest check in, 3pm.


Double rooms from £330.00, including tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates don’t include breakfast: a full English is £18.50 (£9.25 for kids); the superlative buffet, £13.50 (£6.75 for kids). Children Cots for under-4s (£10 a stay or extra beds (£30 a stay) for under-18s can be added to some rooms.


All of the common areas are buggy friendly, but perhaps avoid the carpeted drawing room.

At the hotel

Spa with indoor pool; restaurants; bar; library of books and DVDs; pool, snooker and billiards; mountain bikes and wellies to borrow; walking and running trails; valet parking, helipad; free WiFi throughout.

In your room

Flatscreen TV, minibar, bottled water, organic Bamford toiletries, bathrobes and slippers (for children, too). DVD player, iPod docking stations, and games consoles provided on request. You'll also get champagne and fresh fruit on arrival. Sweet touches for your mini Smiths include bespoke welcome gifts to keep them occupied.

Our favourite rooms

If older children going to stay alone in the room during the evening, the Coach House is ideal, since both Pavillion and Crescent rooms are further from the main building and flanked by ponds. We love the two-bedroom split-level Forest Lodges: as well as a four-postered, forest-view bedroom with fireplace, Pavillion I has a downstairs room with bunk beds and can take a further single bed, so it's ideal for larger families; and Crescent III has an ensuite single bedroom downstairs (and space to add another single), with a balcony-boasting master bedroom upstairs. Forest Hideaway Suites in the Coach house each have a sofabed in the living room. All rooms can add a cot.


The heated indoor pool is open year-round, with dedicated swimming hours when children can splash to their hearts' content (8.30am–10am Monday–Friday; 8.30am–11am on weekends and Bank Holidays). A festival of limestone and wood, the pool opens onto a gorgeous sun terrace, so you can sit with a magazine and an herbal tea while they burn off steam. Bear in mind that the Hydropool and Forest Sauna are strictly child-free zones (and all the more blissful for it).


Book a babysitter and spend some alone time having a couples' massage in a forest-view treatment room: the Herb House Spa is spread across three floors, with assorted treatment rooms (eight single, one double with steam room and garden, and one double bathhouse with indoor pool and steam room) as well as a mud house, sauna, steam house, indoor pool, sun deck with herb garden, a café offering uncooked or preserved food only and a bar serving juices straight from the garden. Smith members (including those staying at the nearby The Pig – in the Wall) can bring their teens at the manager's discretion. There's a mini mani-pedi for 14 year olds, mini facial or back, neck and shoulder massage for 15 year olds, and a Bamford Stress massage or Pai Facial for 16 year olds; parents must be present in the room for treatments carried out on under-18s. There's a fitness studio packed with Technogym kit, and you can arrange personal training or yoga/Pilates classes.


In-room spa and beauty treatments can be arranged. There’s a loan library of board games for rainy days.

Book ahead

The spa is popular, so arrange your treatments at least two weeks in advance; in summer, it's worth sorting out any activities you're keen on a fortnight ahead, too; babysitting should be booked a week ahead – perhaps make your restaurant reservations at the same time.


Yes: in the outside rooms (the Coach House, Crescent and Pavilions), dogs stay for £30 a stay: beds and bowls are provided, as well as a Bonio wrapped up in a ribbon.

Food and drink

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Lime Wood – Hampshire – United Kingdom


The dining room saw a radical transformation courtesy of designer Martin Brudnizki, into what is now the much-lauded Hartnett Holder & Co. Its seasonal Brit food with a wink at Italian methods and flavours. Pitched as fun dining rather than fine dining, it manages to do both with aplomb. All of the cured meats are made in the hotel Smoked House, and chefs go into the grounds every day to pick ingredients for daily-changing specials. There’s also an exhaustive wine list and cellar which, if you smile nicely at the sommelier Sergio, you might be invited to see. Breakfast is served in the Scullery, playing on the style of an 18th-century country-house kitchen where kids can indulge in a buffet of fresh fruits, pastries, cereals and breads. Come afternoon, adjourn to the Courtyard for alfresco afternoon tea or opt for a leaner, but no less delectable, salad at Raw & Cured, the Herb House Spa’s so-called 'food bar'.

Family fare

Children are welcome in the Scullery, Hartnett Holder & Co and the Courtyard, with highchairs available. Little global eaters with a sophisticated palette will love sharing the Tavolo Familiare for a smorgasbord of menu highlights. For something simple, the Home Classics menu features fuss-free, hearty grub from toasted sandwiches to cheesy pasta, while the Grazing menu is a happy medium with Tuscan sausage ragout to fishcakes, child-friendly and delicious. Any of the main courses can be served in half-portions, and staff are happy to heat up milk or baby food. Cake and hot chocolate or coffee can be whipped up at the click of the finger: just ask.

Hotel Bar

Take to the Courtyard, ply the little ones with pastries and kick back with the Sunday papers during the day. Children are welcome at the Courtyard Bar at any time (there are highchairs too if they fancy a snack), and the bartender will be happy to shake up a fruity mocktail. Come dusk, cocktails such as Lime Wood Spicy (Grey Goose Vodka, Limoncello, Horseradish, Ginger Beer and Fresh Lime) mean you'd be wise to don a frock and get thee a babysitter.

Last orders

Drinks are served round the clock (for residents), while the Courtyard Bar serves drinks until 1am, and food from 12pm–11pm. The Scullery is up with the birds to serve breakfast from  7am to 11am. Hartnett Holder & Co is open for lunch from 12 noon to 2.30pm, dinner from 6pm to 11pm and the Courtyard Bar's grazing menu is served until 11pm. Raw & Cured is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 8am to 7pm.

Smith Insider

  • Top table

    Lunch is best taken with your foraging picks at the chefs' Kitchen Table in Hartnett Holder & Co; bespoke menus start from £75 a person. For an extended family gathering, the Cedar Room is the ideal backdrop for those family photos.

  • Room service

    Take your pick from Hartnett Holder and Co's à la carte menu from 12 noon unttil 11pm. After hours (until 7am) a few choice picks from the grazing maenu can be delivered to your door.  


    Why not order a picnic hamper squashed full of local and seasonal goodies, with meats and fish from the onsite Smokehouse and a bottle of something lovely to wash it down?


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Lime Wood – Hampshire – United Kingdom

Parent approved

Every property featured in the Smith & Family collection – including Lime Wood – has been selected and approved by parents.


Tried and trusted babysitters are available for a minimum of four hours (£60), book a week in advance (although they can pull rabbits out of hats sometimes). Extra hours are charged at £12.


Available on request from the same local company – all teachers, parents or child-minders themselves complete with the necessary checks. Minimum of four hours (£60); book a week in advance.


Nothing's provided, but if you bring your own kit, the hotel recommends WiFi monitors. The rooms in the rear of the main house (6/7/8) tend to work with normal monitors which guests can take to the restaurant. Guests staying in rooms 1/2/3/4 are welcome to leave their monitors at reception. The outside rooms are not within range.

What's there already?

For babies

• Highchairs • Steriliser • Bibs • Travel cot • Cot bedlinen • CBeebies • Swim nappies

For toddlers

• Highchairs • Cutlery • Cot beds • Cot bedlinen • Socket covers • Stair gates • Scooters • Tricycles • Bicycles • Bike trailers for smaller kids • Bike helmets • Crayons/pens • Outdoor toys • U-rated DVDs • Swim nappies

For older children

• Wellington boots • Bikes to borrow • Bike helmets • Board games • PG or 12-rated DVDs • Snooker/pool table • Tree swing


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Lime Wood – Hampshire – United Kingdom

Things to do

Given that the Herb House Spa is a destination in its own right, the kids are lucky to be brought along for a dip in the swimming pool. However, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy the hotel and grounds as a family. From the parkland of the manor house to the trails and pathways of the New Forest, this is green and pleasant land that is best explored on foot or on one of the hotel's mountain bikes. Toddlers can be popped into a pod towed behind and will enjoy spotting the ponies grazing around the area.

Sunny days

There are bikes and tricycles to hire with child seats or trailers to carry younger children, as well as helmets. Closer to home, explore the gardens and lawns, where you'll find a tree swing and outdoor toys. With no crèche or kids' club, a break at Lime Wood is about enjoying your time together. You could get a nanny to come in, but frankly, with the forest on your doorstep, this is a great place to reconnect with kids, outside gulping down country air, or inside, having your cake and watching them eat it.

Rainy days

The hotel's cookery school, HH & Co Backstage, has half-day classes for under-15s (10am–1pm or 2pm–5pm, £100 a child, accompanied by an adult); little ones will learn the basics of cooking, and make some take-home treats. Keep older children occupied with board games, DVDs, or a session on the pool table or just spend feet-up time snuggled together in the various comfortable corners.

And there's more…

Try Family Foraging with a guide for up to four hours (£100 a person; £50 for kids); the spoils can then be cooked at the kitchen table so the whole family can learn how to prepare food.

Local Guide

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Lime Wood – Hampshire – United Kingdom
Smith tip

Staying a few days? Venture to Mudeford at Hengistbury Head, where bright beach huts and icing-sugar dunes make this 1950s throwback a must-see. Try Beach House café, or take the boat taxi to the quay and snack on bags of salty samphire and crayfish.

Pick up tips and tricks from renowned chefs Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder at the hotel's cookery school HH & Co Backstage. Full- and half-day classes cover pasta making, desserts, cocktail shaking and snout-to-tail dining. The New Forest is a great big adventure playground, and Lime Wood is just on the fringe, meaning it’s easy to get to and from, yet feels secluded enough to really switch off. Young children will especially love watching the wild horses, donkeys and cows roaming across the road, but watch for sudden braking and drivers trying to take pictures while weaving across the white lines. With easy access to Hampshire villages, summer is buzzing with local fêtes, music and food festivals, and the forest is jammed with active adventures, from trails, hiking and biking to water sports, falconry or archery. Let Lime Wood know in advance and they'll arrange a kayak trip on the nearby Beaulieu River.

Stock up on seasonal fruit and veg at Warborne Farm, a mile and a half east of Lymington. Visit the vintage cars at the Motor Museum in Beaulieu ( then walk along the river to Buckler’s Hard (lovely at high tide). Take the ferry from Lymington to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, then hop on an open-top bus to see the Needles. 

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Lime Wood
Beaulieu Road, Lyndhurst, Hampshire SO43 7FZ, United Kingdom
Hotel setting

New Forest fringes

Getting There

Set in neatly manicured grounds on the outskirts of the New Forest, near to Lyndhurst, Lime Wood is easily accessible from London and close to Southampton.


Southampton airport is the nearest, a mere 15 miles away, or 25 minutes' drive. Bournemouth airport is 25 miles (40 minutes' drive) away.


The nearest station is Brockenhurst, a 10-minute drive (six miles) away with trains connecting you to Winchester, Southampton, Basingstoke and London – South West Trains ( can whisk you here from London Waterloo in about 90 minutes.


The hotel is conveniently located just 20 minutes from Southampton and has free valet parking for guests, as well as an additional car park for spa- and restaurant-goers. A car's not essential if you're weekending here, but for longer stays you'll want one to get out and explore.


There's also a helipad (call ahead if you're planning on making a big entrance): N50:51:52, W01:33:11, OS: 196 (SU) 314073.

Parent travel tip

Pack light(er): Lime Wood's Boot Room is stocked with waterproofs and Hunters in every conceivable size and colour, so your car's interiors needn't suffer from an onslaught of muddy wellies.


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Lime Wood – Hampshire – United Kingdom

Smith & Family  Parent Panel reviews

Every property featured in the Smith & Family collection – including Lime Wood – has been selected and approved by parents.

Boutique hotels come and go, and there’s a fair amount of jostling on the country house scene right now, but you can’t help but trust that Lime Wood is going to stand the test of time. Exactly why it’s so remarkable depends on whom you ask. Some might rate the impeccable service most highly, while for others the David Collins Studio interiors or the million-pound retractable courtyard roof leave the lasting impression. Epicureans will come for the menu by dream team Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder, but it’s the attention to detail and the relaxed home-from-home vibe that create dinner party conversation. If there’s an Achilles heel, it’s the two-night minimum stay at weekends – but what better excuse to extend your carefree nip to the countryside…

Smith & Family

The Guestbook  Smith member reviews

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith & Family hotel, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what real-life family guests had to say about Lime Wood in the Guestbook below.


Stayed on

We loved

The peace and quiet in beautiful surroundings both inside and outside the hotel. The eaves room was spacious and there was everything there you could wish for. Staff were attentive yet discrete.

Rating: 8/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

A beautifully designed and finished hotel with lovely rooms, friendly, helpful staff and an excellent restaurant. Very difficult to fault it. We all agreed we would (and will) go back in a heartbeat! The best hotel we have stayed in in England for some time.

Don’t expect

An old building with all its problems. There may be a core of an old property but everything that matters is half a dozen or so years old although the feel is of a classical property of Georgian origin.

Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

The spa! Great massage from Sophie. The pools were fabulous too and so it didn't matter that it was pouring with rain all day!

Don’t expect

We couldn't get the coffee machine to work in our room but that's not the end of the world and we could have asked for help so it seems a bit trivial to mention it.

Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

The beuatiful hotel grounds, and the friendliness of the staff. The spa was fantastic too. We had our 1 year old baby. she loved the pool, although limited hours only.

Don’t expect

Lively nightlife. The bar was pretty quiet after dinner.

Rating: 9/10 stars