Burley is a village with a unique character, with connections to witches, smugglers and dragons (yes dragons, no it’s not a typo). The relatively modern White Buck Inn, Burley doesn’t let it’s lively and historic village down. It is built at the turn of the 20th century and has a story or two of it’s own. It’s a great place to eat if you are visiting the New Forest on a day trip. Burley is in the heart of the New Forest so you’ll have them wandering nearby.
We had just driven through the colourful heathlands of the New Forest and come face to face with the New Forest Ponies And Cattle which are free to roam. Burley village, in fact, still practices ‘Commoning’ the traditional practice of allowing the animals to graze openly.
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So, as we entered the driveway of the White Buck Inn we already felt unwound by this old and special custom.
We stroll in and find the reception area flooded with light.
Today’s Inn is named after a white Buck that was seen in the area, said to have startled the previous owner on his way cycling back from the golf course.
The theme is a good one and they use it to full effect. Antlers create the overhead lighting.
A white buck stands proud above reception and makes me long for Christmas when, I bet, this place dresses up beautifully.
There are glass etchings on the doors of the bar.
The bar itself feels like a pub and sells award winning ales. Opposite, the doors are open to a large lawn, where there are tables for drinking and dining.
Generously they place a (rather lovely) water butt for you to help yourselves. Either that table is leaning or I am!
To the side of the bar is The Gun Room, a small cozy space with a few intimate dining tables, sofas and a fireplace.
This beautiful deer lords over the room, tho’ it might put you off your food if you don’t appreciate being stared at.
Else where the rooms were open plan. Built at the turn of the 20th century (by a rather romantic sounding John Witherby), this country house has seen many changes and the rooms reflect that.
It is suspected that the house was taken over by the WW1 war effort. During WW2 is was used by a Tank Regiment Army and was part of a hospital complex. Thereby it became a target and got damaged by German airforce machine gun fire.
In the 50’s the house was left derelict and was taken up by the local wildlife for a time.
The late 50’s saw it restored and turned into a hotel where the owner used his showbiz connections to engage performances where the lower restaurant is now (Diana Dors and Billy J Kramer among others).
It seems as if every table was different. This large restaurant manages to keep a very homely country house feel.
We were seated at a solid country house table and felt very much at home.
They use country kitchen plates which add to the charm. The odd chip to the ceramics doesn’t faze anyone here – it adds to the home from home feel.
The menu focuses on locally sourced Hampshire produce. I chose the Cider Braised Hampshire Belly of Pork, as they donate to the New Forest Trust. Well, that and it sounds delicious.
My daughter Charlotte and I came here with my lovely Aunty Sand and her husband Paul. It was Paul who got the history printed off by reception for me (for us actually).
Lunch arrives and the Ale battered cod and chips looked just as you’d hope and came with homemade tartar sauce.
The Fish Chowder special was rich with smoked Haddock.
My Cider braised Hampshire Belly of pork with Fuller’s black pudding & potato cake had warm savoy
cabbage and bacon with a roast apple jus.
Chocolate cheesecake with passion fruit sauce and marshmallow. I’m yet to find a chocolate/passion fruit concoction I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. They are a match in heaven.
As we leave feeling happy and satisfied, people are still enjoying the large outside space for drinks and dining.
There is a proper place to ‘park’ your horse in the car park. It doesn’t feel at all American West. This is undoubtedly a very English New Forest experience and a horse lovers paradise.
We had a great time at the White Buck, Burley and would recommend you book a meal and saddle up to the New Forest. We were left with huge smiles and feeling utterly relaxed by the experience.
This is not a sponsored post, we are just spreading the love.
The White Buck