Donkey outside The Bell Inn

Book a room

Types of Buildings in The New Forest

The forest we inhabit is full of ancient mystery, mostly unmarked by human intervention. Where there are buildings, though, they’re generally quite beautiful – and the same goes for our Restaurant and Inn. Beyond the delightful 18th century coaching house we call home, there’s a world of wonderful buildings.

Our History

The Bell Inn has been family owned for over 230 years, in a centuries-old love story between the family and the New Forest. We were a founding partner of the New Forest Trust, and remain involved in the ongoing conservation of the area – so that future generations can enjoy this mystical, ancient woodland. Today, we’re a much-loved local landmark, serving up delicious local food and hosting delightful, restful stays in our listed building, right in the heart of the New Forest.

Beautiful Landmarks

There’s a lot of history in the forest, reflected in the buildings that adorn the area. Some of the most noteworthy are well known – but there are plenty of hidden gems, too.

Palace House, Beaulieu

Adjacent to the National Motor Museum and the ruins of Beaulieu Abbey (themselves notable landmarks), there’s Palace House. This 13th century stately home was one of the first to open to the public, in 1952. The striking stone construction is adorned internally with fine furniture – it’s a beautiful sight to behold and a near-perfect example of the living history of the area.

Highcliffe Castle, Highcliffe-On-Sea

Arguably the most important surviving house of the Romantic and Picturesque style of architecture, Highcliffe Castle offers stunning views over the Solent – all the way to the Isle of Wight. It was built between 1831 and 1835 by Charles Stuart, British diplomat and 1st Baron Stuart de Rothesay. Visitors can book onto a guided tour, for a fascinating insight into the history of the building.

Typical New Forest Homes

If the New Forest had a particular style, then it would be “quaint, archetypal English village.” Thatched roofing is common – and so are rows of snug cottages. Age has made them wonky, but they have inescapable magnetism and charm.

Beaulieu is always named as an excellent example of the typical village charm that the New Forest has, but it’s not the only beauty spot. Burley is one of our favourite parts to stroll through, mixing open scenery, beautiful buildings and – surprisingly – a lot of witches.

Then there’s Lyndhurst, which might be crowded and busy at the best of times – but that’s only because it’s so lovely. Outside of the central high street, narrow lanes lined with cottages (some thatched, some tiled – all gorgeous) are a delight to walk through at any time of the year.

A little further down the road, you’ll find Brockenhurst – a little more mish-mash than Lyndhurst, and not quite as busy, but certainly no less beautiful. It’s not as densely packed, either, so you’re more likely to stumble upon a horse or two as you walk the town.

Brockenhurst gatehouse is a real standout, a building dating back to the 1700s. It’s on Mill Lane, not too far from the train station and – well – it has to be seen to be believed.

Our Own Corner

We couldn’t talk about beautiful buildings without mentioning our own little corner of the New Forest. Brook, in Bramshaw, is the area we’re lucky enough to call home. We’re very proud to have one of the prettiest buildings in the New Forest – a place to eat, relax and celebrate.

The Bell Inn is a listed building, overlooking fields and trees. It’s a lovely place to be – but don’t just take our word for it. Come visit us for award-winning food or a magical stay in the forest.

Book now – and discover the magic of the New Forest.