Headed to Southern England? Check out the five great hotels in South England where we stayed during our culinary tour of the region.
“We’ll sleep next week.”
That’s what we kept saying to each other during our hectic visit to South England. We were so busy exploring the densely rich part of the country that we barely had time to sleep. Luckily, when we did, we stayed in five comfortable hotels in South England where we could rest our weary bones and replenish our energy for the next adventure.
Thanks to Tourism Southeast, our culinary-themed visit to South England was both wonderful and hectic.
After picking up our rental car in London, we drove through what seemed like a million roundabouts as we traversed the southern English countryside, hitting towns like Oxfordshire, New Forest, Portsmouth, Hampshire, Brighton and Hastings.
We had just enough time to taste each town and whet our appetite for our next visit. Staying in great hotels was part of our experience.
5 Great Hotels In South England
We can fully recommend each hotel where we stayed in terms of comfort, service and breakfast. Yes, breakfast. The Brits take the morning meal seriously.
We loved waking up each morning for eggs, bacon and so much more. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with any of these hotels.
Sudbury House Hotel
Less than two hours from London, Sudbury House is a perfect spot for a weekend getaway. This well-located hotel has 49 rooms, each with all of the necessary modern conveniences like flat-screen televisions and WiFi internet.
We loved the big, comfortable bed in our room that afforded us a view of the hotel’s green grounds and the welcoming fruit and pastries. The hotel has a bar plus two on-site restaurants, casual Magnolia Brasserie and fancier Restaurant 56. Helmed by Chef Andrew Scott, both restaurants offer excellent dining options on the hotel’s property.
After choosing a table in the airy Magnolia Brasserie, we loaded our plates with a mixture of hot and cold foods served buffet style. Highlights were the plump Portobello mushrooms and the fresh juice selection. This was the first English breakfast of our trip, but certainly not the last.
Sudbury House Hotel is located at 56 London Street, Faringdon SN7 7AA, United Kingdom.
Balmer Lawn Hotel
Located in the heart of the New Forest, the classic Balmer Lawn Hotel traces its storied past to its origin as an 1800s hunting lodge and later as a field hospital during World War I. In a 2015 renovation, workers discovered secret World War II documents including plans for the D-Day Normandy invasion under the hotel’s floorboards.
Over the years, numerous famous people including kings, politicians and actors have stayed here. And now we’ve stayed here too.
During our stay, we enjoyed our contemporary room with its flat-screen tv, free Wi-Fi and big four-poster bed. However, we especially loved our balcony view of the cricket match in the grass-lined fields that adjoin Balmer’s entry.
The hotel has squash and tennis courts, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a gym, a Finnish sauna and a spa bath. For guests and other visitors, the hotel has a highly rated restaurant, Beresford’s, along with event facilities and high tea.
Balmer Lawn Hotel offers guests a full-service breakfast buffet with both hot and cold options. Though we had enjoyed a decadent dinner at nearby THE PIG the night before, we still found room for the selection of cereal, dried fruit and other English breakfast favorites before we left to further explore the New Forest.
Balmer Lawn Hotel is located at Lyndhurst Road, Brockenhurst SO42 7ZB, United Kingdom.
The White Lion Inn
We got a good feeling about The White Lion Inn as we drove through tiny, hedge-lined Soberton, and our positive impression only grew during our too-short visit. If there was a definition for a classic British B&B, this converted 17th-century horse stable would be it.
Allan Marks, a former sailor, runs his inn like a tight ship while providing classic British comfort to a friendly crowd of visitors and locals. We adored our charming room with all of its modern touches, and we wished we had more time to hang at the on-site pub and beer garden.
Marks continues his high standards in the pub where he serves locally sourced foods and ales. As an extra bonus, the inn is convenient to many fun things to do in Southampton and is just a short drive from the wonderful sparkling wine producer Hambledon Vineyard.
Build your appetite by walking along the nearby English country lanes. You will be rewarded with gorgeous meadow scenery and old road bridges over long-abandoned tracks.
As much as we enjoyed dinner at The White Lion, breakfast is the meal that knocked our socks off – the English breakfast was far from typical. Marks’ addition of roasted grape tomatoes was a fun and tasty addition that we would love to see more of. These tomatoes also appeared on our plate of salmon and eggs, proving that too much of a good thing is just enough.
The White Lion Inn is located at School Hill, Southampton, Soberton SO32 3PF, United Kingdom.
With twelve unique rooms, Blanch House offers a boutique hotel experience in walking distance of all the action in bustling Brighton, making Blanch House a perfect hotel for a weekend trip to Brighton. The dozen rooms are charming, each with its own character and modern touches including free WiFi.
We stayed in the Perrier Jouet room, a true treat for us with its huge bed, roll-top bathtub, sea view and elegant decor. The only thing missing was a bottle of Perrier Jouet. Oh, never mind, accommodating manager Luke Jeffries served us some lovely champagne in the hotel’s chic downstairs lounge.
Guests at Blanch House can enjoy a complimentary breakfast in the dining room located in the inn’s lower level. We would have been perfectly happy with the fresh pastries and juice, but we took breakfast to the next level when we both ordered full breakfasts.
Although Daryl’s English breakfast was excellent, the real winner was Mindi’s Scotch pancakes served with banana, maple syrup and crispy bacon.
Blanch House is located at 17 Atlingworth Street, Brighton BN2 1PL, United Kingdom.
The Old Rectory
Every blue moon, we stay at a hotel that is so perfect that we don’t want to leave, not even for dinner. The Old Rectory is this type of hotel.
Led by Tracey-Ann Cook and Helen Styles, the team behind The Old Rectory has thoughtfully planned every detail, creating a highly stylish inn that is also ultra-comfortable. We fell in love with our room, the Sinnock, with its big bed, high ceilings and hand-painted wallpaper.
After we sank into the bed and indulged in the freshly baked rocky road bars and fresh water waiting for us in the room, we knew that we had found a home away from home in Hastings.
Be sure to try the kippers, haddock and salmon that are smoked at Rock-a-Nore Fisheries right around the corner in Hastings Old Town.
Breakfast is not to be missed at The Old Rectory. If you were to skip breakfast, then you’d be skipping dishes made with locally sourced products like apple juice from nearby Oakwood Farm.
Plus, the hotel staff makes all their sausages, bacon, jams and bread on site.
The Old Rectory is located at Harold Rd, Hastings TN35 5ND, United Kingdom.
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About The Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on their website 2foodtrippers. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.
Original Publication Date: August 16, 2016