It’s safe to say it’s almost Christmas time! All the lights are out on display, mince pies are in abundance and the smell of pigs in blankets is beckoning everyone to the dinner table.

We all know December is a time for feasting and for us to let the diet slip for a week (or three), however, all that preparation and cooking can take its toll and there’s nothing like eating a delicious, hearty meal without having to do the washing up.

The New Forest is home to a wealth of beautiful pubs, restaurants and hotels which serve up incredible food, especially over the festive period. So, to make things easier, we’ve shortlisted our top 5 lunch locations in the New Forest:

1. Careys Manor Hotel

Careys Manor is organising a “Christmas Day Lunch en France” with dishes ranging from mussels cooked in white wine with shallots & parsley to confit of duck leg with orange sauce & dauphinoise potatoes.

Their new flagship restaurant, Cambium, provides fantastic value for money, with parties of 8 or more entitled to 3 courses for just £28!

2. Limewood

Limewood is a boutique country house hotel which is situated less than 2 miles from Lyndhurst. The hotel was originally established as a hunting lodge in the 13th century but has since been fully restored and a further 11 suites have also been constructed.

Their Hartnett Holder & Co restaurant takes influences from Italian cuisine with dishes such as steamed hake with salsa verde and tantalising Sicilian pistachio cake with chocolate sorbet.

3. Forest Lodge

Forest Lodge serves locally sourced food to guests in its award-winning Glasshouse Restaurant and is a perfect setting for the whole family.

Visitors can choose from a wide selection of rustic meals including pan fried wood pigeon breast & wild mushrooms and roasted breast of Gressingham duck, basted with local honey.

4. Drift Inn

Step into the Drift Inn for local ales, locally sourced food and cosy fires. The service is excellent and the environment is warm and friendly.

There’s a wide selection of menu choices from Traditional Roast Turkey to Festive Vegetarian Nut Roast.

5. Fox & Hounds

The Fox & Hounds in Lyndhurst offer a magical Christmas experience for the whole family. Fresh ingredients, seasonal ales and a festive atmosphere ensure that Christmas is celebrated how it ‘should be’.

As you’d expect, they offer roast turkey, however there’s a multitude of other options including Crispy Confit Duck Leg.

These are just a few of the places to eat in the New Forest this Christmas and there’s plenty more waiting to be discovered.

With traditional, French, Italian and other influences, there’s sure to be something to please even the most demanding of palettes.

To find out more information on the many hotels and restaurants in the New Forest, click here.