With the summer nearly over, Jerry and I sneaked in a weekend off before back to school and back to work chaos began and slipped away for a night on the Beaulieu River without the girls. The summer holidays have been glorious and after a couple of weeks in France, we really didn’t want it to end, much less come back to reality. So when a rare chance to snatch some last minute peace and quiet just the two of us came our way, overnight bags were packed and waiting by the door before you could say G and T time! Our hosts for the evening? The rather wonderfully quirky and nautical The Master Builders in Bucker’s Hard. For anyone looking for somewhere in the New Forest to spend the weekend, we can heartily recommend it.
Set back from the river’s edge, The Master Builders has bags of nautique chic (think Rule Britannia) with rooms which start from £99 per room per night including a New Forest breakfast. From Posh Classics in the Henry Adams Wing……..
to Chic and Luxury rooms in the main house (we stayed in one of the Quirky Luxury rooms), The Master Builders is the perfect place for a weekend getaway in the New Forest. Dogs are very welcome too and your hound can order to his heart’s content with the Dog Room Service menu, ensuring that his stay is as comfortable as yours. The spaniels would have had a field day, dear Reader!
Whether you intend to sip a riverside pint or large G&T, the new Yachtsman’s Bar & Garden is open daily from 11am and even offers the option of a take away menu from 5pm – a fantastic option if you are moored nearby. Yachties take note. Wonderfully relaxed, Jerry and I watched as fabulously gargantuan portions of classic pub grub with a few little Italian twists and plenty of local delights were served up. The Ringwood ale battered haddock and chips and South Coast Seafood Sharing platter looked real winners – Jerry had to repeatedly tell me to stop staring as the table next to us tucked in.
Seated in the Riverview Restaurant, I’m glad I hadn’t sneaked a chip from our neighbouring table as Chef Tom and his kitchen brigade produced the most marvellous three courses from start to finish. The A la Carte menu is a treasure trove of lip smackingly gutsy flavours executed beautifully with a large emphasis on locally sourced produce and the best of the New Forest. I must make particular mention of the rabbit loin and black pudding as well as the lamb rump with spiced cauliflower and pomegranate which was a delight and the apple millefeuille which Jerry had for pudding was light as a feather, palate cleansingly clean and fresh tasting. We hadn’t been sure of what to expect. To say that we were surprised would be an understatement. Quite frankly, it was one of the loveliest meals we’ve had in an age and Jose, the restaurant manager could not have been more obliging, including letting me sneak into the kitchen to chat to Chef.
The table of digestifs was more than a little inviting too, dear Reader!
Waking up to the gentle sounds of the river below our window, I think you’ll agree, dear Reader that you would be hard pushed to open the curtains to a more peaceful view…..
No stay would be complete without a leisurely breakfast – we really couldn’t resist the rather spectacular New Forest breakfast which supports and champions New Forest Marque produce.
Jerry was most put out when I made him wait until his breakfast had been snapped. It was far too good not to warrant a picture, dear Reader! I did let him eat it in the end…..
From the décor to the food, the service to the location, it was a very enjoyable night away. The Master Builders is a great little New Forest weekend bolthole – perfect for long walks and even longer G & Ts, delicious food for any occasion whether it’s three courses in the Riverview Restaurant or a hearty pub lunch with a difference and the well appointed rooms with a view offer up cosiness alongside a slice of riverside get aways. A huge thank you to Claire and Clive for organising and hosting us. Jerry and I can’t wait to come back!