Last weekend Solent Events joined forces with the New Forest hoteliers group to deliver a weekend showcase for business group ‘bookers’. Our objective was to highlight all that The New Forest has to offer for a business customer, from conference spaces, quirky hotels and various ‘on and off the water’ activity options suitable for team away days, incentive trips and client entertaining.
The New Forest National Park lies in Hampshire and covers approx 150 square miles. The area was once the royal hunting ground for King Edward I and his noblemen back in 12th century AD. Many don’t realise that The New Forest has a coastline. The picturesque Lymington River and Beaulieu River both lead to The Solent Waters, perfect for sailing and water activities given their sheltered location above the Isle of Wight.
As a destination, we wanted to demonstrate how close The New Forest is to London, some guests drove from around the home counties whilst others took one of the regular South West trains. Direct from London Waterloo guests were met at Brockenhurst Station, just 90 minutes later making the trip immensely simple and relatively quick.
Our weekend guests arrived on Friday afternoon, allowing some free time before a hosted dinner and overnight stay at either Rhinefield House Hotel or Macdonald Elmers Court Hotel. By the evening, guests were already talking about the ‘quiet’ lack of noise pollution and sheer beauty of the open forest and free roaming horses, cows, donkeys and the odd deer spotted.
Saturday was up and about for breakfast and a show round of the hotel facilities. Guests then transferred to Balmer Lawn Hotel or Carey’s Manor & Sen Spa for a tour of these venues. The hotels in The New Forest are not your standard ‘corporate’ big brand hotels, they are unique buildings full of character, charm with a ‘special something’ individual to each property. As a destination one of our USP’s is the variety of quality conference and business facilities and the feeling of being far far away yet pretty close to London.
Late morning guests arrived at Royal Lymington Yacht Club for coffee and just out the oven pastries. The sunny and breezy conditions were fantastic for a short Rib Blast out of Lymington River and into The Solent. Hearing people laughing and seeing the smiles in appreciation of the boats and beautiful scenery is definitely a perk of my job! A whistle stop tour of the Western Solent took in the sights if Hurst Castle, The famous ‘Needles’, and a chat about how fantastic Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight is for a location to stop in as part of our Rib Treasure Hunt days and as a lunch sheltered spot for our corporate sailing days.
Leaving the Ribs in Lymington Yacht Haven – our home berths, we headed up to take in the views from the balcony Haven Bistro, the marina’s fantastic bar and restuarant. With views over The Solent, this is a popular venue to for a Pimms reception to round off our day events.
Back in the cars we went to our final stop Chewton Glen. Unsurprisingly the 5* award winning hotel delivered a tasty fresh lunch before we had a tour and checked out the brand new restaurant and cookery school at The Kitchen.
We are always proud to show off our destination so if you have any questions about what is possible and want to visit us, please get in touch.