When the opportunity to stay at Lime Wood arose, we hopped on a train to Southampton faster than you can say “Angela Harnett's pasta.” Of course, you can sample the Michelin-starred chef's cooking in London at her restaurants Murano and Café Murano, but when it comes with a slice of the New Forest National Park, one of the most inviting hotels we've ever stayed in, and an incredible spa (that uses Bamford's eco-friendly products), we know which we'd rather.
Population: 1.32 million
Area: 1,455sq m
Key city: Southampton
You might know Hampshire more for the cities of Portsmouth and Southampton than its farms, but the New Forest is a vibrant destination for food and drink venues and producers.
First, the food. Hartnett has partnered with head chef Luke Holder for this south-coast outpost to create a menu of Italian-inspired dishes that leverage the area's local produce, veg grown inside the hotel's greenhouse, and meats smoked in its smokehouse.
On our visit, we attacked a plate of locally sourced charcuterie before getting very well acquainted with lamb saddle and broad beans, and rounding things off with a strawberry and almond tart. Just a squiz at the most recent menu suggests herb-crusted rabbit with crispy pig trotter and romesco sauce; ravioli with smoked ricotta and preserved lemon and pickled samphire; and new season lamb with sweetbread ragout and peas. We could go on and on. And on.
But there's more. Oh yes. You can also book yourself into Lime Wood's cookery school to learn about everything from butchery to macarons… And that pasta.
From £330 per night; Beaulieu Road, Lyndhurst, Hampshire, SO43 7FZ. For more information, see limewoodhotel.co.uk