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Back to Eat

Muddy eats: The Filly Inn, Brockenhurst

To the New Forest! Cosy rooms, hearty dishes and stunning walks right on the doorstep - pull up a chair and join us at the £1m refurbed Filly Inn...

THE LOWDOWN

The Filly Inn Brockenhurst New Forest

Reopened in 2021 after a comprehensive £1m makeover, The Filly Inn is on the Lymington Road, a few minutes’ on from Brockenhurst and close to Lymington. It’s in good company here too – New Forest big hitters THE PIG, Balmer Lawn, New Park Manor and Careys Manor are all close by.

Despite the upmarket interior design additions, the traditional crowd of hikers and dog walkers are still welcome (muddy boots and all) – and they still come in their droves. But, since the refurb, word has spread and The Filly Inn has begun drawing in a well-heeled following from further down the road in Lymington and beyond.

All-up, it seems to us like this latest incarnation of The Filly Inn has destination pub written all over it. So of course, Muddy promptly booked ourselves in for an overnighter to road test the theory…

THE VIBE

Dining room The Filly Inn New Forest

Stepping into the bar and dining areas, you instantly see the investment has been well spent. This 16th Century Inn has definitely been restored to it’s former glory – and then some.

The Filly Inn tables chairs dining room

Inside, wood panelling, simple tables and traditional Inn-style features are paired with stylish, contemporary, furnishings like floral upholstered chairs and statement wallpaper. And the cosy dining room is proving popular – even on a January weeknight – with a busy service of friends, couples and a family all out for dinner here.

Pub outdoor seating The Filly Inn New Forest Hampshire

Outside, there’s a suntrap garden for grabbing a much-needed vitamin-D boost and outdoor heaters, twinkly fairylights and fire pits to gather around when the sun sets.

SCOFF AND QUAFF

The Filly Inn chalk board table noughts and crosses tic tac toe

And so, to dinner – and it’s a real winter warmer. A mix of British classics and modern bistro dishes to choose from, there’s plenty of small plates for nibbling on with drinks, too.

As we peruse the choices, I start things off with a refreshing Botanist Gin. Making her decision in a snap 30 seconds (sausage and chips, from a child-pleasing selection of kids choices), the Mudlet is delighted to scribble away on our chalkboard table – and give Mr. Muddy a pretty good run for his money at noughts and crosses…

French onion soup The Filly Inn

French onion soup is an absolute favourite of mine – and before this, I can’t remember the last time I had a bowl. With a rich, umami flavour, it was everything I hoped for and then some, a cheese dough twist making a tasty accompaniment. Mr. Muddy was just as pleased with his Southern-fried chicken, which was super crisp.

The Filly Inn lamb shank

For my main, I picked a nicely cooked pan-fried trout with prawns, albeit a touch heavy on the garlic oil, with seriously good crispy, skin-on new potatoes. I teamed it with a glass of utterly delicious Sancerre from the huge wine list (oenophiles take note). Meanwhile, Mr. Muddy presided smugly over a huge lamb shank, which literally fell off the bone, and a glass of Argentinian Malbec, looking rather pleased with himself.

Sticky toffee pudding The Filly Inn Brockenhurst New Forest

Is there anything more perfect on a winter’s eve than a hearty, sticky toffee pud? I think not. Unable to do justice to two desserts, we tucked in to this gorgeous example with two spoons, while the Mudlet gleefully attacked a mountain of Jude’s strawberry, chocolate and vanilla ice creams with a flake from her kids’ menu.

STAY

The Filly Inn bedroom New Forest

Upstairs in our adjoining rooms (one of seven ensuite here), the contemporary cosy vibe continues. Neither are huge but they are well configured, with a desk space, spacious bathrooms and well-placed TVs. There’s also a fridge containing a small bottle of fresh milk (always a big tick), proper coffee and a choice of posh teas.

The Filly Inn bathroom

Beside the bed, we all had a pillow spritz of the super-relaxing Lavender, Yarrow and Chamomile Sleep Spray to help scent our way to the land of nod. Despite the fairly close proximity to the road, the thoughtfully placed earplugs weren’t needed to muffle traffic noise as we simply couldn’t hear it. But pretty handy if you’re partner starts to snore…

BREAKFAST

Eggs florentine breakfast The Filly Inn

Breakfast is mostly cooked to order, with tea or proper coffee and a good choice of porridge, eggs, pancakes with bacon or fruit (a hit with the Mudlet), veggie or meat-filled traditional breakfasts and eggs with muffins. Having never quite got the hang of poaching eggs myself I always order them out. So I’m delighted to start the day with a beautifully cooked eggs Florentine.

OUT AND ABOUT

Make the most of the location and head out into the Forest for a walk – there are trails that start right here and some gorgeous scenery (above) – even if it’s just a short potter. Recommended for the dedicated walkers are the 5-mile Brockenhurst Village Walk and 6.8-mile Buckland Rings Trail.

Attractions-wise, the National Motor Museum and Furzey Gardens are both around 15 minutes’ drive away. Paulton’s Park (Peppa Pig World), and the beautiful Exbury Gardens are 20 minutes’ drive. Head down the road to Lymington for drinks by the water and a meander around designer boutiques like Stanwells and scandi-inspired interiors shops like BluBambu and Willow Lifestyle.

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: Getting away from it all in the New Forest, comfortable rooms with all the necessary creature comforts, good food and a fantastic choice of drinks. Couples, families and pooches can all expect a friendly welcome.

Not for: Portion-sizes are plentiful and there’s a very good choice of well executed dishes – and top-rated Sunday lunches – but the food here is definitely still more ‘Inn’ than Michelin-gastro.

£££: Starters £6-9, main courses £12-25, dessert £7-7.5. Wine from £5.60 a glass and £19.5 a bottle.

The Filly Inn, Lymington Road, Brockenhurst, SO42 7UF

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