A Weekend at The Pig
I personally guarantee that if you spend a weekend at The Pig, it will be one of your favourite weekend jaunts, ever. So much so, that within the first hour of setting foot on the creaky wooden floors, complimentary champagne in hand, you will be scheming as to how we could make this escape a more regular occurrence.
Squirrelled away in New Forest, an hour and a half from the city, The Pig is everything you always dreamed of in a countryside hideaway. A short scurry from Brockenhurst train station, we peered over our suitcases in the taxi as we bumbled up the driveway on Friday evening, spotting three deer on the way in. You will want to jump out of the car as soon as you see it - the grand, imposing manor house, bathed in sunlight looking like an absolute doll’s house which you’re thrilled you can fit into.
Be-decked by two handsome hounds standing guard, the heavy wooden front door leads way to the creaky wooden, chandelier-lined hallway which will make you feel like you have just set foot in Hogwarts, country-style. Antiquated croquet sets, shiny and red, Hunters wellies in every size, and antler-framed sash mirrors will have you questioning any loyalty you have felt to scandi-minimalism. You will first marvel over The Drawing Room, to your right, deep crimson velvet parlour couches facing roaring fires, hot toddies and petit fours fuelling the post-dinner chit chat. Next door, The Library - with its tapestry throw pillows - is opposite the crown jewel of this smashing establishment: The Dining Room. Shabby chic meets zany herbalist, with the entire scrumptious menu locally sourced. One can even choose to accompany the sous-chef on a foraging mission during the day.
The Pig is posh, but not intimidatingly so. Unexpected twists sensibilities are scattered throughout, bringing it back to earth. You dinner companions will include potted herbs and mismatched furniture, and breakfast will greet you with granny’s chipped egg cups. Our lazy Sunday was aptly spent warming our socked tootsies by the fire, making slices of fluffy Victoria Sponge last long into the afternoon as we played sports-car bingo watching lunchtime guests roll-up outside. Drams of whiskey and dog-eared copies of Tatler slowly built up as the hours sailed by.
The mud-flecked wellies beckoned, and our plans of a lazy Saturday were scuttled, in favour of a lolling long walk through the forest to The Lime House, The Pig’s sister establishment. The hubby proudly stated his lunch of spaghetti bolognese was well worth being tricked into a long walk through the forest. The decor again is stunning - more marbled and high brow than The Pig - but beautiful. Save for the lunch, we had all our meals at The Pig, which are reasonably priced and just delicious. Salmon, lamb, crab; apples, berries and herbs; flavoured butters and sourdough loaves are de rigeur on the ever-changing menu, all sourced within 25 miles. Napkin rings are made out of the previous day’s food list, as each day's offerings are based on what is available.
The beds are palatial - I swear ours was the size of our entire bedroom back in the city. The staff were also exceptional, cancelling our lunch reservation with no qualms, and covering our cake and coffee on the house when we had to ask for it twice (although maybe they were trying to tell us something...it was our second slice of the day). They even upgraded Sam’s whiskey order for free, after the staff discovered the measure he asked for had been depleted by a ‘raucously good wedding’ the weekend prior. We just loved our time there, Sam was literally purring with contentment. This is his happy place.
The finishing touches of The Pig have me lusting after square high-ball glasses, cloudy antique silver spoons, wire egg baskets, threadbare persian rugs, a wooden dressing gown rack (and, uh, dressing gowns) and King-Charles spaniel pottery pieces. We now also fancy 17th century portraits of ourselves, lit by candles along a marble mantelpiece. No black or white minimalism, everything must look lived in. Where this will fit in our little London flattie is anyone’s guess. If you need to find me in the coming weeks, search antique shops.
With Love, Kate