Hello and a warm New Forest welcome from all of us.
We are ourselves escapees to the New Forest and so we are all clearly biased about how lovely it is here. However, we have tried to be objective with our approach and advice to help our guests as much as possible, making it easier for you to plan and relax.
Here’s a glimpse into our thinking.
What we like
Breakfast on the beach, Swallows and Amazons adventures, toasting marshmallows over the fire by the shore, the lived-in look, English eccentric style, exploring, country tracks, creativity and fun, Scrabble on the jetty, story-tellers spinning tales in forest glades, scrummy picnics…
What we don’t like
Beige and boring, characterless identikit rooms, thin mattresses, shower mould, not being supplied with free condiments, having to lay your own fire, not being able to find the matches, scrabbling around trying to find information on where to go and what to do…
What we do:
Since 2012 we have helped over 2000 groups holiday in the New Forest. We’ve had the normal: family breaks, 70th birthdays, weddings… And we’ve had the unusual: pet geese, divorce parties and film shoots. There have been a few particularly special groups whose VIP was terminally ill and came to celebrate their last family get-together. Quite a humbling and amazing experience to help with.
Our houses are simply stunningly, astonishingly amazing. Just take a look at the photos. I am so proud of our selection of bolt-holes, including hidden-away old brickworks, barns, gardeners’ cottages, landmark houses and an old smugglers’ inn.
We have also worked up ‘experience ideas’ as inspiration for activities and events during your stay. These are appropriate to each house as many are ‘at home’ suggestions or located nearby. Some are lavish. Others the price of a packet of marshmallows. You don’t need to spend a fortune to enjoy the area – but you may also want to take advantage of the wealth of activities and treats in the area, including kayaking and sailing, and cosseting spas and incredible restaurants – the New Forest is a larder of foodie treats. For more original ideas ask us about Mr Bubble Man, professional storytellers, magicians and treasure hunts. We have the best contacts with amazing caterers (inside and outdoor, family supper or celebratory banquet) who can help, too.
Please read our blog – revealing more local secrets. We know which pub serves the more bizarre brews. The restaurant with the freshest fish. The perfect spot for your morning yoga and forest bathing. Everyone, whatever age, will love making memories together, creating Cheshire cat moments – when smiles linger long after the holiday has finished. That’s why we’re so thrilled to share our ideas and possibilities with you.
Here’s to your New Forest escape…
Rachel Parsons – Founder and Chief Dogsbody
Rachel is the 3rd generation in her family who has worked with guests in the tourism industry. Her grandmother did self-catering for years. Her mum still does Bed and Breakfast. After that was a stint in Australia working for an adventure tourism company hosting guests in the remote bush.
Fifteen years ago she worked for a year as a travel writer for an eclectic travel brand. It was then, she says, that many pennies dropped. The thoughtful set up, the sharing of the cool and secret things to do, the interesting, rather than predictable houses. Combining this with unexpected styling and good locations. Rachel realised that there was an opportunity in the UK market.So getting involved in all aspects of the hosting and holiday business was very normal. Founding New Forest Escapes was an easy step because she’d done all the component parts for such a long time before. Cleaner? Tick. Host? Tick. Stylist? Tick. Property manager? Tick. Drain rodding? No problem. Organise a wedding? Sure. Tell you the best local secret spots? Of course.In her early 30’s Rachel lived in London and she set up an educational marketing consultancy. The goal was to support educators and families to engage with environmental and social projects. Her clients included HRH Prince Charles Rainforests Project, Sky, and Eco-Schools.She works part time for New Forest Escapes and part time home educates her seven year old daughter. This allows her to explore the New Forest and indulge in her love affair with trees, horses and bicycles. And to also develop the company brand, creative, work on the sales-side and generally steer the tiller.
Jane Wilkinson – Managing Director of Everyday Happiness.
Jane came to us to support in website marketing, swapped to accounts, took on the business admin, then the team management. Her deep love of numbers and Microsoft Excel is perfect for the business. Jane has worked in the leisure and tourism industry for 15 years. She loves to holiday and has travelled far and wide. She moved to the New Forest area ten years ago but only really discovered it after reading Rachel’s blogs and recommendations about what to do locally.
Jane focuses on the marketing and business management side, and her ability with Excel spreadsheets legendary. (Every business needs a Jane – particularly the arty, boho, creative ones like ours.)
Jan Caldwell – Property Manager
Superwoman Jan is based in Lymington. She has worked with us for 5 years. Her main role is as a Property Manager. She is superb at juggling jobs and buzzes around looking after her houses and guests. Jan is a major tennis fan and when not helping us, you’ll find her on a court.
Dinah Farrell – Property Manager
Dinah works with us as a Property Manager. She ‘mothers’ 4 houses near Lymington. Formerly an NHS practice manager, she has a fine attention to detail. We’re very glad to have her on the team to support our owners and guests. Dinah is a massive dog fan and has 2 hairy little dachshund friends who are a big part of her life.
Sarah Wilson – Our New Bookings Guru
Sarah grew up in the New Forest and rode ponies here for her childhood fun. She couldn’t keep away as an adult and has returned to be a local again. Sarah works for us part time in the office, focusing on enquiries, bookings and office admin. She has a 4 year old boy and lives in Lymington. When not working she commonly found testing out new walks and coffee shops – ask her about the where to eat and the best coffee locations!
Kate Porteous – Juggler of Social Media, Knower of What’s On
Kate grew up in Pembrokeshire where most weekends were spent boating on the coast. After a brief spell working in Paris and Germany, she migrated to London where she had a blast working in marketing and sampling posh restaurants.
She missed the sea and when she saw a job opportunity on the Isle of Wight with Liz Earle Skincare – she escaped the city. Taking up residence in Lymington, she met her sailing fanatic husband and spent the next 10 years marketing pots and pans and then luxury yachts. Having managed the social media for both Le Creuset and Oyster Yachts as part of her roles there, she became somewhat of a social media geek and still can’t get enough of it to this day.
She loves nothing more than getting out on the Solent and/or going for a good stomp through the forest with her sons who are 8 and 5. Where’s best to picnic with kids? Where can you get the best views to see the Fastnet or Round the Island Race? Where is best to see the bluebells in May? Which New Forest pubs have the best kids play areas (and the tastiest food and wine)? Fine dining in the New Forest? Ask Kate. Or follow us on Facebook and Instagram 😉