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Beyond Reviews Travel

Wish You Were Here? The Bell Inn, Bramshaw

Our thanks go to The Bell Inn, Bramshaw who invited us for dinner bed and breakfast in exchange for this honest review. 

I started this blog a little over a year ago, with the intention of ‘finding myself’. Ok that sounds rather hippy and dramatic but let me explain…

I was hoping to find the me after the school run, the one who disappeared under a pile of nappies, school uniform and endless rounds of CBeebies about 17 years ago.

So far, so good.

Another aim, was to spend a little more time with the husband. Now that our children are pretty much fending for themselves (teenagers like to think they are but anyone who owns one will know that the emotional drain is enough to tip any sane person over the edge), I was hoping that would be easy.

In reality, and I hate to break this to any parents of younger children, family life appears to have ramped up a gear. With children staying up later than us and lifts being required at all times of the day and night, we rarely spend any time on our own. These days it’s more likely to be us going to bed at 7pm (through sheer exhaustion, before you get any other ideas into your head!).

When The Bell Inn invited us to spend 24 hours as just the two of us, it couldn’t have come at a better time – the perfect opportunity to cash in on having teenagers by leaving them to practice house and pet sitting.

Bell Inn Bramshaw

If the horses haven’t already given away its location, The Bell Inn is situated in the heart of the New Forest, in a hamlet called Bramshaw, about 7 miles from Lyndhurst. The inn has been owned by one family for over 200 years and is one of the oldest independent family-owned pubs in Hampshire.

From the moment we walked through the front door, I knew that this was going to be the perfect place for a 24 hour retreat.

Our room (one of 28) was situated on the first floor, overlooking the road. Having said that, I think we saw more horses than cars on that road and the window had thick double glazing to shield us from any noise.

Bell Inn Bramshaw

The room couldn’t have been more charming – gorgeous wooden beams, a super king size bed and the thickest curtains you’ve ever seen (I do like my sleep!). Another bonus was plenty of cupboard space. Oh and mirrors. Anyone else noticed that hotel rooms often don’t have enough mirrors? This one had them in abundance!

We were looking forward to a break from the responsibility that comes with our four-legged friends but it’s worth noting that eight of the rooms in this hotel are dog-friendly. Discovering somewhere that will take dogs (that is nice!) is a rare find.

Temperatures were dropping rapidly and the snow was threatening to fall when we arrived, so the roaring log fire in the bar was a very welcome sight. Packed full of real ales and the most extensive selection of gins I’ve ever seen, we probably could have spent all afternoon and evening reading, chatting and putting the world to rights.

Instead we decided to spend the evening, sampling the restaurant’s food. The Bell Inn is well known for its food, all created from locally sourced ingredients. It’s very popular with locals and we could totally see why – a cosy inn with excellent food is not easy to come by.

The menu had a good selection of food, from steak and chips, to fish of the day (the former his choice, the latter mine) and portion sizes were excellent. Sadly neither of us had room for dessert. I’ll blame the incredibly tempura prawns for that little faux pas!

Breakfast was served between 7.30 and 9.30am, in the cosy, tastefully decorated oak room. We were served a choice of cold or hot food (or both if we weren’t still full up from the night before). As is custom when away from home, we went for the full cooked breakfast and again, the bacon and sausages were locally sourced (and delicious to boot!).

cooked breakfast at The Bell Inn

The atmosphere was very relaxed, we didn’t feel at all rushed and it was so lovely to take our time over a leisurely breakfast.

Only an hour from home, The Bell Inn proved to be the perfect place to escape for 24 hours. The staff were friendly and extremely attentive, even offering to return an item of clothing we left in our room (anyone else have a habit of doing that?) by post.

We honestly could not fault our stay and will almost certainly be back – next time with dogs in tow!

Inside, Outside & Beyond




  • Jess Soothill

    Looks like a lovely place to stay and glad you got some time together — really is important to get away and spend some time away from home! Jess xx

  • Plutonium Sox

    Haha I must admit I did giggle that you will be back with the dogs but not mentioning the children!! It looks beautiful, I love the fact it’s dog friendly.

    • Suzanne W

      Ha ha I wouldn’t waste it on the moaning teenagers! xx

  • michelle twin mum

    Gosh it looks lovely, perfect for a night for two and that bedroom looks great. I’d certainly visit. Mich x

  • If it’s the place I’m thinking of, Dom and I stayed here as a birthday treat years ago (before kids) and it was just as gorgeous as you describe. Now I really want to go back!!! We could do with some time away, just the two of us. Beautiful pictures xx

    • Suzanne W

      Yes it’s great for a 24 hours break (or longer if you can get it!). Perfect location for the New Forest too. Food was amazing! xx

  • Sarah Christie

    It looks so lovely and your room is gorgeous I love it, you are so right the older kids get the harder it is to have a little time on your own as teens are like bats awake all night !

    • Suzanne W

      The room was perfect – so cosy but spacious too. Mine go to bed later than us now! x

  • I love the New Forest – it’s such a beautiful place to explore. The place you stayed looks gorgeous – that room! I’ve made a note of it for when the husband and I eventually get the opportunity to have a night away together in about ten years time!

  • Jo - Not A Frumpy Mum

    This look lovely Suzanne, the hotel room is gorgeous. We managed a night away a couple of weeks, just the two of us and it was so nice to take out time over a meal without having to keep the two boys entertained. xx

  • Tracey Williams

    Totally agree that sometimes you get less time with your other half when the kids are going to bed at the same time as the parents every night. We try and get nights away as much as we can (well, as much as I can butter my mum up), and this looks the perfect place to spend a chilled out time with your husband. Your room looks lovely and love the fact you saw more horses than cars x

  • Kerri-Ann

    This looks gorgeous and those horses just set the tone so beautifully. The room looks so spacious as does the breakfast area. I’m so glad you got the time away together x

  • Jenny

    What a gorgeous place to skip off to for a mini break. Love the room. Food looks amazing. Making me hungry. #wrc

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