Where To Take Her: The Pig

Our regular series on recommended romantic getaways

The Place:
The Pig near Brockenhurst. A 17th-century manor house hotel in the heart of the New Forest, opened in 2011.

If you haven’t made it down here yet, it’s fair to say you’re missing a trick. This formula of shabby chic décor, comfortable rooms and simple food and decidedly unstuffy service and atmosphere is clearly a winner. No surpise there because they do it very well.

The downside is it’s now so popular, weekends are booked up months and months ahead. Weekdays are less busy and potentially more relaxing. This year, however, sees the launch of The Pig On The Beach and The Pig Bath which will broaden your options. 

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The Angle:
The real draw here is the food - this is essentially a restaurant with rooms. Unpretentious, locally-sourced and hearty dishes, served in a Victorian greenhouse with bare wooden tables and no airs and graces. The bar and reception rooms are well set-up for pre and post-dinner or daytime lounging.

The surrounding New Forest is obviously a big pull and bikes can be borrowed to take out on nearby routes. There’s also a tennis court and a pretty extensive kitchen garden you can stroll round when you need some fresh air.

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What to Order:
It won't be a surprise to hear that pork features heavily on the 25-mile Menu which changes with the seasons. The Bath Chap – half a pig’s head served on a wooden board makes sets the tone and makes an excellent choice for an event order. 

Esquire Recommends:
In the evenings, hit the bar early to bag a good spot by the fire. Ask the barman for his recommended house cocktails and order the Scotch Eggs as a pre-dinner snack. Trust us on this one.

The Damage:
Very reasonable for what you’re getting. From £135 a night for a room and mains from £12. If you’re staying here for a whole weekend for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks, things can creep up pretty fast. 

Points Available:
High. This is the type of place that can overcome all manner of relationship problems and leave you in credit for weeks to come. The Potting Shed spa has one treatment room for facials which will go down well for your other ghalf, while you could take a bike into the forest. Or order another drink.

www.thepighotel.com