What’s The White Buck like?
This charming country house, operated by Fuller’s, lies in the heart of the New Forest. Formerly known as Holmehurst, it was used as a hospital during World War Two but today, it serves as a stylish pub, restaurant and hotel. The White Buck is hugely popular with dog owners, whether they’re hungry locals popping in for a meal or weary travellers checking in for a longer stay.
How dog-friendly is The White Buck?
Very. We encountered five dogs during our stay and at least two of those were staying over. Chances are you’ll practically fall over a pooch as soon as you walk through the front door!
Pets are welcome in selected rooms at the hotel and there’s a £15 charge per night to accommodate them. A maximum of two dogs can stay in any one room and they will receive bowls and Bonios for the duration of their stay. There is also a big jar of dog treats on the bar, which is always a good sign.
Tell me more about The White Buck
The 20 stylish bedrooms come in three different classes – Indulgence, Comfy and Cosy. We stayed in the Griffin room – or Room 9 – which is named after Fuller’s London brewery. As hotel rooms go, it was seriously impressive. Not only was the room enormous, but it also had one of the biggest bay windows I’ve ever seen, overlooking the garden and surrounding woodland.
We could enjoy the view from the sumptuous 6ft bed, while Ernie preferred the chaise longue, which took him all of five minutes to adopt. The room also had a retro telephone and wallpaper with a subtle horse print, giving it a cosy feel. The complimentary wine and beer was also a nice touch and the homemade biscuits (in a White Buck tin) went down a treat.
The stylish bathroom was also a delight to spend time, with its retro lighting, letterbox tiles and on-trend wooden shutters. The rolltop bath was lovely and the rainforest shower was just what we needed to wake us up in the morning. I loved the Cole & Lewis toiletries and it was also great to have robes and slippers to snuggle up in.
What’s the food like at The White Buck?
Very tasty. We visited in January when the restaurant was testing out vegan dishes for Veganuary, but the menu still had plenty for meat-eaters. On the whole, I’d say the food is classic pub grub that’s locally sourced wherever possible. Think liver and bacon and super-sized Sunday roasts.
Breakfast is also a fine affair with a good selection of cereal, fruit, yoghurt and pastries. The cooked options have also been given a trendy twist, with smashed avocado on toast sitting alongside the traditional Full English.
Dogs are not allowed in the restaurant but there are plenty of tables – and water bowls – in the bar area. You can also dine in the cosy Gun Room or lobby, where you’ll find some comfy sofas in front of a roaring fire.
Are there resident dogs at The White Buck?
No, but I can practically guarantee that your pet won’t be the only four-legged visitor.
Where are the best dog walks near The White Buck?
There are more than 140 miles of tracks and footpaths in the New Forest so you’ll be spoilt for choice. But bear in mind that dogs should be kept on-lead, because of the free-roaming ponies, donkeys, cattle and deer. I really thought we’d have to search for the wild animals but they pop up everywhere! We even saw donkeys nibbling on someone’s garden hedge.
During the winter months, there’s not much going on in Burley (a good 20-minute walk through heathland from The White Buck). But in the summer, you can follow the Burley Food Trail. You can taste New Forest cider, handmade fudge and traditional sweets on both the 3.5-mile and five-mile routes. You can also find out about the village’s spooky past – we counted three shops devoted to witchcraft.
The walk from Beaulieu to Buckler’s Hard, where ships for Nelson’s Navy were once built, is also lovely. From Beaulieu village, follow the signs to the footpath that tracks the river. It’s approximately two miles each way. If you’re in need of a cuppa after, Pallets Tea & Coffee House welcomes pets.
From Brockenhurst and Lyndhurst, there are also some great “Rail Trail” walks, many of which go through the marshes. For more walk inspiration, visit the official New Forest website. Alternatively, check out my Ruff Guide to the New Forest for more suggestions for dog-friendly things to see and do.
What Ernie loved about The White Buck
All the wildlife on the doorstep, great walks around the New Forest, meeting so many other doggy pals
What I loved about The White Buck
The secluded location, the stylish rooms, the delicious food
How to book The White Buck
Overnight stays start from £79, including breakfast. It’s worth watching out for special offers, too. At the time of writing, there was a dinner, bed and breakfast deal for £129 (based on two people sharing a room). For further details, visit The White Buck website or call 01425 402264. Book direct online to save 10% on stays.