The Pig (in the Forest and Near Bath)
This month we have (rather embarrassingly!) been to The Pig not once but twice this December. James booked our first trip to the Pig in the New Forest as my 30th birthday treat back in July and, due to its insane popularity, the first date we could get in was the first weekend in December. The weekend fell right in the middle of the busiest time of the term for me at school and also slap bang in the middle of the winter-lurgy-season. If I'm honest, the idea trip caused a bit more stress than excitement before we got there. But that instantly dissipated on arrival - the place is just so amazingly relaxing.
We didn't book dinner for the Friday night and, instead, had a chilled supper in a local pub. We were upgraded to one of the Huts, complete with free standing iron bath, huge bathroom, four poster bed, little garden courtyard and the standard Pig Larder, full of treats. It was heaven. Breakfast at The Pig is my favourite thing of all and we stocked up with dippy eggs, the insane granola, pain au chocolat, fresh juice and never-ending tea and coffee. We then embarked on a long walk around the local area (following a map and directions shared by reception), stopping off in Brockenhurst en route for a bowl of warming soup in a local tea shop. We spent the afternoon wandering around the kitchen garden, visiting the resident animals and reading and snoozing in front of the fire in the lounge. We had a quick change before dinner and then were back plonked in front of the fire for pre-dinner drinks. Then came more delish food (everything we ate came from within 10 miles of the table), a wine list as long as your arm and relaxed deserts and coffees back in the lounge. The staff at The Pig are just incredible - no amount of training can make them as lovely as they are...they must just have an amazing skill of spotting a winner at interview. Before 9.30pm, we were snugged up in the big bed watching a film and getting ready for a wonderful night's sleep. The next morning we once again breakfasted like royalty and then I treated myself to a massage in the Potting Shed. It was one of the best I've every had and well worth the indulgence. By the time we checked out to drive back to London at noon on Sunday, it felt like we'd had a whole week off!
And then we were back four weeks later for New Year celebrations at The Pig near Bath with my Mum and Dad. As you'd expect, it was a food and drink fuelled affair with plenty of time for country walks (the staff here were just as geared up to dish out maps and lend Hunter wellies), lazy paper reading in front of the fire and even another one of those mega massages. They really go to town on the party with pre-dinner live music, a band to keep the party going during that 11pm-midnight lull and even a piper to bring in the New Year.
The Pig certainly have a formula that makes the different hotels barely discernible from each other. But that's part of the charm. The service, food and setting is consistently fab and it's clearly a winning formula as they seem to be constantly booked up. They do now publish any spare rooms on their Instagram feed though which is a great way of getting in last minute.