Faye and her family had a short break holiday in Yachtsman's Cottage in Lymington, Hampshire for a long weekend in February.
Joe, 5 and Charlotte, 8, were getting a little twitchy having been cooped up in the car while we journeyed to our New Forest holiday destination. We did a round circuit of the town before finding the cottage so roughly had our bearings. After unloading the car, and settling into our home for the weekend, Charlotte and I decided to see if we could find a takeaway for dinner. Yes, there was a fully equipped kitchen to cater to our self-catering needs, but to be honest there was no desire to traipse around the local supermarket and we hadn’t found time to organise a preorder for delivery. Besides, being so close to the sea, our hearts (and stomachs) were set on a fresh fish supper. So fish and chips it was to be.
Stepping out the front door we headed left towards the harbour and from there we were conveniently guided by signposts into town. Immediately around the corner, next to the car park the cottage uses, there is a grassy area with a bandstand and a fenced off play-area. It caught our attention and beckoned bright colours full of fun-filled promise, but with two hungry boys at home awaiting their dinner we resisted the temptation and carried on up the road past the boatyard. We shall be back, climbing frame, we shall be back.
The whole walk was well lit, with paths either side of the road, and took about five minutes to reach the bottom of the town, where cobbled streets felt quaint and uneven underfoot but added to the visual as long as you trod carefully. A couple of nice looking pubs looked out towards the slipway (a post-park playtime for the adults?) and across the other side of the harbour we could see a train going along. Heading up the traditional streets past the now-closed shops, we were tickled by a shop called 'Julians', and Charlotte insisted we stopped to take a picture for Daddy, Julian. The street starts to incline at this point and continues at a rather acute angle all the way up through to the top of the town - manageable for a gentle meander, a bit of a calf-burner if you're in a rush. About halfway up through the shops you have to cross the road to the more modern part of town which looks as though it would have everything you might need on your holiday but, more importantly for tonight's mission, just up the road on the right-hand side we spot Lymington's fish bar.
The shop looked clean and they had a sit down restaurant beyond the counter-area which looked busy, hopefully a good sign that the food is tasty. The staff were friendly despite the numerous trips back to the counter for the forgotten items such as drinks and tomato sauce. With food in hand we headed back to the cottage on a slightly shorter route which missed out the older part of town and we managed to get back while the food was still hot. The fish and chips had been packaged in a box rather than the traditional paper wrapping which meant it didn't go soggy and they even supplied a slice of lemon which was a nice touch. The portions were both generous and delicious, in fact the best fish and chips we've had in a while and a good start to our holiday.
The following evening we decided to try out one of the pub's spotted earlier. The Ship Inn was lit up on the waterfront, just by the slipway, and looked to be a large traditional pub that had been redeveloped with a modern twist. After checking out the mainly positive reviews we gave them a call to book. The manager confirmed that they were dog-friendly in the bar (ideal) although they were busy so a table in this area could not be guaranteed. On arrival the pub wasn't as busy as the manager made out but it seemed clean and we liked the look and atmosphere of the place. The menu was adventurous for a pub and well-priced but I couldn't help thinking that they were trying a little too hard and failed to live up to expectations. Service was a little slow but they were very helpful when my son was ill at the table. I would visit again but next time I'll stick to the bar.