With all eyes on Brazil for the Rio Olympics we can’t help getting excited too – even though the great event is half a world away. If all that amazing footage of the opening ceremony has made you feel you’re missing out, check out our fun list of places where you can soak up a little international spirit…without even leaving the New Forest!

 

  1. Spain

Inspired by the Alhambra Palace in Granada, the walls and ceiling of the dazzling Alhambra Room at the Rhinefield House Hotel are decorated with onyx from Persia, Venetian glass, bronze and copper worked by skilled Moorish coppersmiths. If your wallet won’t rise to hiring it for a private dinner (it seats up to 12), book a lunch or afternoon tea and then ask if they’ll give you a sneaky peek.

 

     2.  France

A little bit of Paris in…Brockenhurst. That’s Le Blaireau, the bistro at Carey’s Manor Hotel, where you’ll find a whole list of French dishes and drinks, all served in a restaurant designed to make you feel you’ve just stepped across La Manche.  They’ve even got a Citroen 2CV car as part of the décor.

 

     3.  India

In 1914 the arrival of Indian troops to help fight Germany caused a sensation in the New Forest. From Ashurst camp, to the 640-bed Lady Hardinge Hospital at Brockenhurst, the visit of these foreign fighters brought the exotic country of India much closer. Feel their presence at the war memorial at Barton-on-Sea and the specially-erected gravestone at St Nicholas’ Church, Brockenhurst.

 

     4.  Italy

If it’s genuine Italian food you’re looking for, plus the unmistakeable atmosphere of a restaurant run by a proper Italian family, then get along to La Pergola in Lyndhurst. From the décor to the menu, it’s bursting with true dolce vita, including an actual pergola to dine al fresco under, on warm nights and sunny days.

 

      5.  Thailand

From the music and scent that waft around the place, to the therapists that treat you, it’s hard not to feel that you really are in Thailand itself when you visit SenSpa at Carey’s Manor Hotel, Brockenhurst. Book a simple spa day to indulge the senses and treat yourself to lunch at the Zen Garden Thai restaurant while you’re at it. It’s the attention to detail that amazes – even the dance studio is Thai inspired.

 

      6.  Get active!

And if the tour around the world hasn’t left you exhausted, why not indulge in some Olympic sports too? At New Forest Activities you can try archery and canoeing, try your hand at sailing with Escape Yachting, hit one of our golf courses or hire a bike from Cyclexperience or Forest Leisure Cycling to explore the magical Forest.