I love eating out and going out and going on holiday in the UK. We usually do bed and breakfast which means eating out every night. Annoyingly, despite N being a good eater, I daren’t spend money on more adventurous cuisines in case he won’t eat them. He gripes about the indian and chinese foods at school, and his version of chicken fajitas excludes guacamole and sour cream so when we were away for a few days in the New Forest in February, I had to avoid eating out in restaurants with those cuisines.
I was a little worried that out of season there wouldn’t be a lot of choice in a small town like Lyndhurst, but we had enough places to choose from. So eating out with children in the New Forest was a success for us.
If you’re in the area, here’s the places we ate out in on our holiday. All family friendly, and open before 6pm for food. So often we’ve had to hang around until then but for once it was nice to have restaurants open all day,
The Greenwood Tree Cafe
On our arrival day we got our bearings in Lyndhurst before checking in to the hotel and grabbed some lunch in the town. Lyndhurst has plenty of cafes and tea rooms. The Greenwood Tree Cafe looked fairly modern and ‘young’ so we decided to try it.
The Greenwood Tree Cafe is a friendly laidback cafe, a cafe brought into the 21st centrury, with contemporary decor, comfy seating amongst the tables. It reminded me of ‘coffee shop’ style rather than a tea room (although they do still do cake),
We just chose a sandwich and panini. They catered for my request to swap the sundried tomatoes for normal ones without twitching, and were quick to get the table mopped up when N managed to knock over half of my smoothie. A delicious strawberry, apple and pineapple energiser – shame because it was delicious.
The cafe caters well for children, offering colouring pens and paper on arrival, plus having a small selection of books for them to remain entertained. It’s also a larger cafe than I expected, so plenty of room. The hot food options looked interesting and the cakes looked really delicious. Drool.
We debated returning for tea, but they’re a daytime cafe only which is a shame. I’d definitely return for lunch if we were in the area. It’s perfect for a relaxing lunch, coffee with friends or simply to enjoy a book The service was friendly and prompt.
Nowadays in every town there’s pretty much always an italian chain restaurant. In Lyndhurst it’s Prezzo. We debated driving to the outskirts of town to the italian restaurant Pergola, but on Valentine’s day I anticipated we would struggle to get a table.
Prezzo does what it sets out to do. Our foreign waitress was fine, although she didn’t seem the most natural. We had no issues with our food. My bruschetta was delicious – I loved he mix of coloured tomatoes. And my spaghetti carbonara was good, with just the right amount of bacon and crispy proscuitto.
N had the children menu as normal. Prezzo have 2 kids menus. A tots one and one for age 5-11. N usually has no problems eating all of the portions in other restaurants, but here his pizza was huge. I can’t have been much off the size of an adults standard pizza. He struggled to get through 2 slices, I had 1 and we took the rest back to the hotel.
He did manage to eat some of his ice cream. Luckily I’d not ordered pudding so I just finished his off. There were younger children at the next table, and I’d presumed they’d ordered from the tots menu, but even their pasta dishes looked masssive (and largely untouched). I like the idea of the different menu sizes, but maybe they need to state the size of dishes which would indicate to people better so children can work out how hungry they are. Although I think even our 8 year old cousin would probably struggle to eat a pizza that size.
We used a kids eat for £1 meal offer. Having offers always makes me more happy to eat there. Because who doesn’t like an offer.
Prezzo is nicely located at the top end of the high street, perfect for people and car watching. N was enthralled watching the 2 traffic lights and wondering why they could be red and green at the same time (due to the filter lights). He was also entertained by the kids colouring and activity menu. Prezzo is an easy family option and nice to rely on if children aren’t keen on more exotic cuisines.
The Fox and Hounds
You can’t miss The Fox and Hounds in Lyndhurst. It’s another old building, a large pub restaurant, serving food in both the restaurant and the bar.
The pub is quite dark (damn trying to read menus in most restaurants nowadays), but it’s a welcoming place to eat and we were made to feel welcome, given choices about where we wanted to sit. There’s some lovely nooks to sit in but we chose to have table service in the restaurant.
The menu isn’t too fussy. There was a good choice on the children’s menu. In the end N wanted sausage and mash, and I chose the same from the specials menu. The children’s menu was a deal – 2 courses for £7ish. N couldn’t finish his meal (I blame too much snacking through the day) and again I had to help him with his ice cream (2 scoops, he only needed 1). I’m missing out on some amazing sounding desserts this holiday, but at least there’s less waste.
With soft drinks, our bill came to under £20 which is good for an evening meal. If we’d not found another place to eat the next night, I’m sure we’d have eaten there a second night. The food was good, good portion sizes, and the waiting staff were reasonably attentive. Although I think we may have been a bit forgotten about with us not sitting in the bar area where there were more people.
Whenever we’re on holidays near the coast, we have to have fish and chips one night. It’s N’s favourite. Luckily for us, Berties was only just down the high street from our hotel in Lyndhurst.
Berties Fish and Chips is both takeaway and restaurant. The restaurant is better than wipe clean tabletop caff, but don’t expect a posh fish restaurant although there’s some nice photography on the walls. It’s been around for years previously in Lymington, having moved to Lyndhurst a few years ago. Although a small restaurant, it felt spatious enough not to have everyone sitting on top of each other.
Disappointingly the kids menu didn’t have mini fish on it which is what N usually have. The nearest options were either fish cake or fish bites (goujons? Fingers?). N therefore chose a fishcake with chips and additional baked beans. His meal came with a drink too.
I’m not a fish fan, but there were also pies, chicken dishes, veggies options and more. I chose the chicken burger which was delicious (more like a breadcrumbed breast fillet). The chips were also good, I think nicer than the takeaway we have at home which are always a bit squashed and rarely plump and solid.
N’s was a large portion of chips for him. He left some of the chips and fish cake – he’d usually eat much more fish than was on his plate, so I think it might have just been too much potato!
We didn’t have desserts – these were only local ice cream tubs or novelty ice creams for children. Shame because I wanted a nice pudding for my last evening on holiday.
The food was good, and our bill for 2 mains, 1 side and 2 drinks came to £16. Not bad, but it was a lot more expensive than the chippy back home – I’m not sure what the comparison was with the takeaway menu. Berties do have various meal deals which would help keep the price down.
The service was a bit vague. The waiter seemed to be in a dreamworld, and I had to check whether he’d remembered the beans order. These were then brought out by the chef. I also had no cutlery. But for a quick fish and chip treat, Berties is a good option.
Have you eaten out in the New Forest? Where would you recommend?
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