Tom’s Lane Cottage is a picture-perfect slice of rural England, ideal for young families thanks to its wonderful, secluded location in the New Forest and acres of beautiful gardens (shared with the owners), which are perfect for running about and games of hide and seek.
The cottage's setting on the edge of a gently rolling valley with beautiful rural views gives it a wonderful sense of tranquility. It’s not unusual to spot deer, foxes, badgers, wild ponies and cattle roaming around the gardens or surrounding heathland, giving junior guests a fantastic close-up introduction to nature and providing parents with entertainment when dining al fresco during warm evenings.
The country contemporary interiors reflect the natural beauty of its setting with a palette of spring greens, muted creams and honey colours along with traditional materials such as solid oak in the kitchen and limestone in the bathroom. Luxury touches such as flatscreen TVs, Freeview, DVD/CD player, fresh flowers and quality bathroom toiletries, add to the high quality feel.
Junior guests love making friends with the neighbouring animals- Walter the horse, Jesse the Labrador and Poppet Shetland pony . Poppet is a tiny pony nearer the size of a large dog than a horse and the perfect size for toddlers who can't fail to fall in love with her within a few days of staying at the cottage.
Grown-up guests appreciate thoughtful touches including a welcome basket with wine, chocolates and breakfast goodies to aid arrival night relaxation, plus fresh flowers and luxury toiletries. Along with the provision of a long list of useful baby and toddler gear (see fast facts) and details of experinenced babysitters.
Tom's Lane Cottage sleeps 4+ infants in 2 bedrooms (both with room for a cot), a master bedroom with 5ft bed and views over woodland, and a second bedroom with two zip & link 3ft beds (can be linked to make a 6ft bed). There's a family bathroom with shower over bath, plus a sepArate toilet. There's a second WC on the ground floor, along with a beautiful oak kitchen fitted with fridge, dishwasher, electric hob and oven plus a dining table and chairs. Sliding doors enable the kitchen-diner to be open-plan to the airy lounge, which has the same high quality oak flooring, two comfortable sofas, LCD TV and a DVD player. Outside, there's a basement utility room with washer dryer and freezer, and a large private garden with sun loungers, garden furniture and BBQ.
There are many walks and cycle trails in the immediate vicinity of the cottage and cycle hire with tag alongs or baby seat is available locally. In the village is a great pub serving quality food including good options for vegetarians and little ones, along with Furzy Gardens, which has a lovely toddler-friendly play and picnic area and a very good coffee shop. As mum to toddler, Amelie, Claudia is a great source of knowledge on family-friendly local attractions, activities and eateries and is readily on had with suggestions. Local favourites include Longdown Farm, for its friendly farmyard animals, new ball pool and BIRO wooden play equipment area.
Paultons Park has Peppa Pig World and a great selection of fairground-style rides for toddlers. Plus there’s a range of family-friendly beaches within a short drive.
The yachting haven of Lymington is close by and great for boutique shopping and eating out. The Vanilla Bean Café there is both stylish and family-friendly, even offering toys, books and ‘Babychinos’ to keep little ones happy. The Mayflower Inn is a great spot for child-free evenings with a lovely contemporary interior and dinner menu – well worth organising a babysitter for!
Guests staying in between late March and early November will receive complimentary family tickets to nearby Exbury Gardens. The Gardens are a spectacular 200 acre (100 hectare) site, world-famous for the Rothschild Collection of Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Camellias and rare trees and shrubs. It is a riot of colour in spring, an oasis of tranquility in summer followed by a splendid show as the leaves change in the autumn. Roam freely amongst the myriad of pathways or give little legs a break on the 20-minute land train trip or a chauffeur driven buggy. tour