The Master Builder’s Pub with rooms in Bucklers Hard, Hampshire

Prices from:
£120 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Stunning riverside setting
  • Historic shipbuilding village
  • History and character in spades
  • Stylish Inn Rooms with views
  • Huge hearths in the bar
  • Affordable food based on local produce
  • Walk the riverside path to Beaulieu

PerkInn Places Perk

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Sticky FingersMuddy PawsGood for WalkingOutdoor PursuitsCandlelitClose to WaterGreen FingersVisit a Stately PilePrivate Dining

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Overview

The Master Builder’s Bucklers Hard, Hampshire, SO42 7XB

The personal touch

Set on rolling lawns across from a 300-berth marina on the Beaulieu estuary, The Master Builder’s Buckler’s Hard is steeped in history: shipwrights have worked from this spot for over 300 years, and some of Nelson’s fleet was built here. Tucked into the waterfront end of a row of cute 18th-century cottages that also house a chapel, the inn’s panelled, low-ceilinged interiors are strewn with maritime artefacts, art and memorabilia from Buckler’s Hard Maritime Museum (check for special events here). The secluded nooks and corridors of the old shipwrights’ homes open out into a sprawling bar with giant hearths and stripped floors, while a smart restaurant commands uninterrupted views out over the estuary. To truly appreciate the one-of-a-kind setting, arrive by boat in summer or charter one from nearby Lymington (docking by arrangement with the harbourmaster).

Sticky fingers

The pub and restaurant both offer a special menu for ‘little adults’. Four rooms have space for children, but they are booked up very quickly.

Muddy paws

Dogs are welcome in the pub as long as they are on a lead, and some of the bedrooms are pet-friendly. Your pooch can expect a dog bowl, treat and a dog room service menu on arrival.

Alfresco

Walkers and locals can relax with picnics on the lawns leading down across grassy slopes to the estuary, and there are plenty of pub tables out front for drinkers, and table service in the secluded garden.

What’s the Damage?
26 double: £120-£200; dinner, bed & breakfast £165-£275.

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access
  • Parking

Gongs
AA 3 Star Hotel & 1 Rosette; Good Hotel Guide

Sleep

The Master Builder’s Bucklers Hard, Hampshire, SO42 7XB

Do not disturb

Every bedroom in the main house is different, with its own quirky character in keeping with the historic style. They are mostly quite grand, rich and ornate with carved headboards, nautical antiques, artwork and estuary views. In total there are 20 ‘Posh Classic’, two ‘Chic’ and four ‘Luxury’. Rooms are all named after ships that sailed from the local yard: Victorious has a four-poster, Agamemnon has the best vistas, and Pandora is tailor-made for families. ‘Posh Classic’ rooms (some dog-friendly) in the 60s-style annex have recently been refurbished in keeping with the riverside setting, with a smart, contemporary feel.

Creature comforts

Egyptian cotton sheets; free miniature of local Godminster vodka; Tea Pigs and Nespresso coffee machines.

Gadgets

Wi-Fi access; Freeview TV; Bose speakers

What’s for Breakfast?

Cold buffet featuring locally sourced yoghurts, hams, cheeses, fruit, juices – and Bloody Marys; eggs every which way; smoked haddock, grilled mushrooms on toast; kippers; full English

What’s the Damage?
26 double: £120-£200; dinner, bed & breakfast £165-£275.

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access
  • Parking

Gongs
AA 3 Star Hotel & 1 Rosette; Good Hotel Guide

Eat & Drink

The Master Builder’s Bucklers Hard, Hampshire, SO42 7XB

Mastering the menu

The food offering is built around supplies of local produce – think fish from the south-coast boats, Hampshire meat, artisan cheeses and other provisions from the county. The menu in the Riverview Restaurant comprises smart, eclectic dishes with contemporary British overtones, and the results are a credit to the building and its setting. Also, look out for the dedicated game menu (perhaps ballotine of pheasant with roast roots, buttered seasonal greens and blackcurrant jus). Pub grub, pizzas and light snacks are served in the bar all day (12pm – 9pm) for those who want something to go with their pint of Ringwood ale.

On the menu

Smoked venison, wasabi, radish and balsamic onion
Poole Quay mackerel, pickled fennel and tomato terrine
Pan-seared sea bass, crab dumpling, watercress and potato broth
Roast veal, sweetbread croquette, wild mushroom ragoût, kale and Jerusalem artichoke dauphinoise
Iced nougat parfait and lime tart

Sunday Roasts

Two courses £19.95; three courses £23.50

Roast Hampshire beef, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and seasonal greens
Roast loin of pork, roast potatoes, seasonal greens, red wine jus and apple sauce
Roast turkey, roast potatoes and seasonal greens

Time to eat

Breakfast: 8am – 10am
Riverview Restaurant: Lunch: 12 noon – 2.30pm (12.30pm – 3pm Sunday); Dinner: 7pm – 9pm

Yachtsman’s Bar & Gardens: 12 noon – 9pm

Afternoon tea: 3pm – 5pm (booking essential)

Local, local, local

Seafood – M&J Seafood, Dorset
Meat – County Foods, Poole
Eggs – Claytons Eggs, Romsey (www.claytonseggshampshire.co.uk)
Cheese, vodka – Godminster Farm (www.godminster.com)
Mushrooms – New Forest Mushrooms
Ice cream – New Forest Ice creams (www.newforesticecreamltd.co.uk)

Real ales – Ringwood Brewery (www.ringwoodbrewery.co.uk)

Behind the bar

The Yachtsman’s Bar is pubby and traditional to the core, with three real ales on tap, including two from Hampshire’s Ringwood Brewery (Best and Old Thumper). Plenty of wines from the restaurant’s full list are also on offer, with something for every pocket: note the light, fresh Loire Sauvignon made by France’s smallest cooperative at £25 a bottle.

Bar snacks

Homemade pizzas
Sandwiches, deli platters, and wraps
‘Lighter options’ such as fishcakes, sun-blushed tomato and spinach gnocchi

Time at the bar

11am – 11pm

What’s the Damage?
26 double: £120-£200; dinner, bed & breakfast £165-£275.

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access
  • Parking

Gongs
AA 3 Star Hotel & 1 Rosette; Good Hotel Guide

Food Trail

Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.

Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – gabrielle@innplaces.co.uk.

1 Inn Location - The Master Builder’s

2

Lyburn Farmhouse Cheesemakers, Landford SP5 2DN

Prize-winning producers of artisan cheeses such as Old Winchester and Stoney Cross, made on the farm using milk from their own dairy herd. Also available is an organic veg range, including lettuces, broad beans, sugar snap peas, pumpkins and squash. Pre-booked evening farm tours are offered during July.

3

Ringwood Brewery, Ringwood BH24 3AP

Founded in 1978, Ringwood brewery is well known for ales such as Forty Niner and Boon Doogle. Stock up in the shop located in the brewery yard and time a visit for one of the brewery tours that include a complimentary drink in the Pin Room.

5

Setley Ridge Farm Shop & Vineyard, Brockenhurst SO42 7UF

A family-run business set in the middle of the New Forest, Paul Girling and his wife Hayley grow the grapes in their vineyard, from which they produce five different varieties of wine. These are stocked in the oak-framed farm shop, along with other produce from local suppliers, including jams and chutneys, cheeses and cakes. The farm shop is open seven days a week.

6

Walking Picnics, Frogham SP6 2JA

Fancy exploring the glorious scenery of the New Forest and then enjoying a three-course home made gourmet picnic at the end of it? Nigel Owen leads the 3-4 mile guided nature walks, while his wife Christine is in charge of the picnics, made up of a light starter, home made pies or quiches and a choice of cakes or puddings. Summer season walks run from Easter through to September. During winter months they also run 'souper' walks, with a mug of homemade soup replacing the picnic.

7

Beaulieu Chocolate Studio SO42 7YA

Having previously trained as a baker and chocolatier in France, owner Trevor Smith set up the chocolate factory in 2006, taking over what was the village patisserie. His successful range of 30 different filled chocolates, along with bars and gifts are all made, displayed and sold on site.

8

Granary Kitchen Cookery School, Lymington SO41 OJH

Housed in a 100-year-old converted farm building, this cookery school launched in 2012 and is headed up by chef Christian Rivron. A range of different courses are on offer for home cooks of all levels and groups bookings are available.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Master Builder’s

Activities

2

Dibden Golf Centre, Dibden SO45 5TB

This well-established golfing venue on the eastern edge of the New Forest has two excellent courses - a challenging 18-hole par 70 and a great 4-hole with two par 4s and seven par 3s. There is also a fleet of electric golf buggies and a range of electric and pull trolleys for hire.

3

Burley Villa Horse Riding, New Milton BH25 5SH

Novices and experienced riders, young or old, it doesn't matter what category you fit into. Burley Villa is where you can roam amid the glorious wooded acres of the New Forest National Park.

4

New Forest Bus Tour SO42 7RX

Enjoy an open-top safari through the New Forest National Park, see the local scenery at its best and witness the region's fascinating wildlife at close quarters on a bus ride with a difference. From the top deck the backdrop is a spectacular mix of open heath and ancient woodland. Hop on and off as you wish.

5

Calshot Activities Centre, Calshot SO45 1BR

Situated on the shores of the Solent and one of the largest outdoor adventure centres in Britain, Calshot offers an excellent choice of exciting water and land-based activities in the country's most popular watersports location.

Shopping

13

First Floor Gallery, 46 The Hundred, Romsey SO51 8BX

Expect a wide variety of goods and services at First Floor Gallery in Romsey - from professional bespoke framing to picture movement, installation and restoration. Original paintings, prints, ceramics, gifts and cards can also be found stocked here.

14

Rhian Fashion House, Warsash SO31 9JA

A popular, stylish boutique based at Warsash, near Southampton, with over 20 years' experience in the fashion industry, Rhian sources its stock from much-sought Frank Lyman and a variety of French and Italian designers. The business also runs a series of charitable fashion shows throughout the year.

15

Coastal Gallery, 4 Southampton Road, Lymington SO41 9GG

This Lymington-based independent art gallery specialises in modern artwork by contemporary artists and designers, including abstract art, landscape and fine art photography, printmaking, studio ceramics and sculpture.

17

Salisbury SP1 1EJ

The historic city of Salisbury never fails to offer a rewarding and enjoyable shopping experience. Among its quaint old streets, you’ll find an impressive array of quality retailers and independent shops – especially in the vicinity of Winchester Street, Catherine Street, Fisherton Street and High Street.

18

Norris & Sons, Beaulieu SO42 7YG

Based at Beaulieu in the New Forest and boasting 130 years’ experience, Norris & Sons is just the place for country, shooting, outdoor and equestrian clothing – from coats and wellington boots to brands such as Pikeur, Horseware, Ariat and Musto.

19

Elliots, High Street, Lymington SO41 9YS

This family business, dating back more than 140 years and based in Lymington High Street, is a department store renowned for combining the best in modern style and design, with the highest standards of quality and service. Covering three floors, Elliotts offers the world’s finest men’s and ladies’ fashion, footwear and accessories.

Places to visit

6

Mottisfont Abbey, Mottisfont SO51 0LP

This 12th-century former Augustinian priory became a private house after the Dissolution. Now managed by the National Trust, Mottisfont includes a drawing room decorated by Rex Whistler and a superb walled garden containing one of the finest collections of roses in the country. A tributary of the Test flows prettily through the grounds.

7

Broadlands, Romsey SO51 9ZD

Renowned for its fine Palladian-style architecture and open to visitors during the summer months, Broadlands was the home of the British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston. It was here that the Prince and Princess of Wales spent the first three days of their honeymoon in 1981.

8

Marwell Wildlife, Colden Common SO21 1JY

Marwell, near Winchester, offers the chance to get up close to the breathtaking wonders of the natural world. Home to more than 1,200 animals of 235 different species and set in 140 acres, Marwell is an important wildlife centre with a strong emphasis on conservation and breeding.

9

Exbury Gardens, Exbury SO45 1AZ

Exbury Gardens, a short drive from Beaulieu and created by Lionel de Rothschild, a member of the famous banking family, are renowned for their outstanding collection of rhododendrons, magnolias and azaleas. There are also superb woodland gardens and peaceful walks down to the banks of the picturesque Beaulieu River.

10

The Isle of Wight PO32 6SP

For many visitors there is a timeless quality to the Isle of Wight. Being an island it has a unique and highly distinctive quality. Within minutes of leaving Beaulieu, you can jump aboard the ferry at Lymington and spend a day exploring this glorious coastal gem. Among a host of island attractions are Carisbrooke Castle, where Charles I was held before his execution, and Osborne House, the summer home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

11

National Motor Museum, Beaulieu SO42 7ZN

Just a stone's throw from the Master Builders you'll find one of the world's largest collections of vehicles and motoring memorabilia dating back more than a century.

12

Breamore House & Countryside Museum, Breamore SP6 2DF

Breamore is an Elizabethan manor house and countryside museum on the western edge of the New Forest. Expect paintings, porcelain, period furniture and a rare James I carpet. The museum includes one of the finest collections of steam-powered farm machinery.

16

Elliots, High Street, Lymington SO41 9YS

This family business, dating back more than 140 years and based in Lymington High Street, is a department store renowned for combining the best in modern style and design, with the highest standards of quality and service. Covering three floors, Elliotts offers the world's finest men's and ladies' fashion, footwear and accessories.

Walking

www.visit-hampshire.co.uk
www.thenewforest.co.uk
www.visitisleofwight.co.uk
A vast network of woodland paths and tracks awaits you on the doorstep of the Master Builders. One of the loveliest walks in the area connects Lymington to Beaulieu via a scenic stretch of the 60-mile Solent Way. The second half of this section, very popular with walkers, is along the banks of the Beaulieu River, sheltered and beautiful. If you intend visiting the nearby Isle of Wight, you’ll find a bewildering assortment of paths and tracks that take advantage of the island’s many miles of stunning natural beauty.

Cycling

www.cycle-route.com
www.hants.gov.uk
www.thenewforest.co.uk
www.visitisleofwight.co.uk
Over 750 miles of off-road cycle routes and urban paths make Hampshire a great place for getting in the saddle. The New Forest also has more than 100 miles of off-road routes that are ideal for cycling. If time allows, head over to the Isle of Wight and enjoy an exhilarating cycle ride along quiet lanes and tracks accompanied by glorious sea views and magnificent scenery. The island was recently crowned one of Lonely Planet’s ‘Top 10 Cycling Destinations in the World’.

Events

www.visit-hampshire.co.uk
www.visitisleofwight.co.uk
Throughout the year this charming corner of the country – the New Forest and the Isle of Wight – witnesses some of the country’s biggest and best-known festivals and summer fixtures. There’s the Romsey Agricultural & Horse Show at Broadlands in September, the New Forest & Hampshire County Show at Brockenhurst in July, the highly successful Isle of Wight Walking Festival in May and, of course, Cowes Week annually in August when the entire Solent becomes a breathtaking cavalcade of colour and spectacle.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road:
Take the M3 then M27 to junction 2 and exit for Beaulieu, then follow signs through winding New Forest tracks to Buckler’s Hard, driving very carefully to avoid the ponies!

By Rail:
The nearest mainline station are either Beaulieu Road or Brockenhurst on the route to Southampton. Most trains from London Waterloo take around two hours.

Address:

Buckler's Hard,, Bucklers Hard, Hampshire, SO42 7XB

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