Lyndhurst is often thought of as the Capital of the New Forest - it enjoys a broadly central location, is surrounded by relatively fertile land, and stands at a junction of historic routes.
Lyndhurst had its own Royal manor house, and was - and still is - home of the Verderers’ Hall, the meeting place of the ancient Verderers’ Court whose history stretches back to at least the 13th century.
Lyndhurst race ground was, until the late-19th century, a popular attraction; and Lyndhurst used to be the home of the New Forest pony sales.
Lyndhurst: Capital of the New Forest? Absolutely!
Lyndhurst: the name in its earlier form, Lindhyrst, dates back to at least Anglo-Saxon times, and means ‘lime wood’, although Lyndhurst now, in common with much of Britain, has few lime trees.
Lyndhurst was well-described in the mid-19th century by John Wise, who remarked: ‘The people of Lyndhurst ought, I always think, to be the happiest and most contented in England, for they possess a wider park and nobler trees than even Royalty. You cannot leave the place in any direction without going through the Forest.
And today, John Wise's comments still apply - woodlands lap against the outskirts of Lyndhurst, inviting exploration by walkers and cyclists along many miles of gravel tracks and countless lesser used paths.
But the area around Lyndhurst comprises heathlands, too, heathlands that in spring are yellow with gorse, and in summer richly purple with heather blooms. These are places that hold abundant wildlife, including many species that are not often encountered elsewhere.
Lyndhurst is a great place for families to enjoy fresh air and wide, open spaces, for around Bolton's Bench, within walking distance of Lyndhurst village centre, are extensive grasslands with turf kept short by commoners' stock - the ponies, donkeys and cattle that can be seen throughout the area.
Here, there is ample room to play football, cricket and other ball games; to fly kites, watch the cricket or just relax with book or newspaper.
As befits the Capital of the New Forest, the local Forestry Commission headquarters are located in Lyndhurst - in Queen’s House, at the very top of Lyndhurst High Street; whilst close by is Lyndhurst's splendidly Gothic, Victorian parish church of St. Michael and All Angels with its impressive 49 metre (160 foot) spire.
Lyndhurst also hosts the New Forest Centre. Situated in Lyndhurst's main car park, it is a purpose-built red brick building housing the New Forest Museum, Gift Shop, Reference Library and New Forest Tourist Information Office.
Opened in 1988 by the Duke of Edinburgh, the museum has displays illustrative of New Forest life in days gone-by, and is a ‘must-visit’ for anybody with an interest in the New Forest and its history. The Christopher Tower New Forest Reference Library on the upper floor also has a wide range of local interest books and other documents.
At the opposite end of Lyndhurst car park, Lyndhurst Community Centre offers refreshments on Saturday mornings, and is the year-round venue for a wide range of events and activities - antique auctions, craft and gift fairs, book fairs, farmers' markets and more.
Lyndhurst today is well-served by shops, tea rooms, pubs and restaurants. There are five pubs, for example, all of which serve food; whilst the nearby hamlets of Bank, Emery Down and Swan Green boast another three pubs that also have well-respected kitchens.
Those seeking out a restaurant in which to eat will not be disappointed, either - Lyndhurst has Italian, Indian and Thai restaurants, and others associated with the local hotels - a veritable gourmet's delight.
And those wanting accommodation in Lyndhurst can choose from a number of hotels, guesthouses, and bed and breakfast establishments; whilst nearby Pondhead Farm offers its own camping facilities.
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Christmas Carols for Friends of Lyndhurst Surgery, Friday, 16th December, St Michael and All Angels Church
A performance by the young people of the iSing Choir followed by the mature members of Lyndhurst Community Choir (with a little poetry and audience participation, too). Tickets £8, pay at the door, under 12s free. Refreshments of wine, juice and water will be available during the interval. Doors open at 6.00pm for a 6.30pm start.
(In addition to the concert, the Community Choir are holding an 'Open Rehearsal' at the Community Centre on Tuesday 13th December, starting at 7.30pm. This is a chance for anyone interested to come along and listen to the choir, learn more about it and to enjoy some favourite Christmas music and readings. There will be plenty of opportunities for the audience to join in with the singing and maybe even have a mince pie! The rehearsal is free to attend but proceeds from a retiring collection will be shared with the Friends of Lyndhurst Surgery).
In the Library
Library opening times over the Christmas and New Year period will be as normal EXCEPT: Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th - closed; Friday 30th - 2.00 until 5.00pm (earlier closing time); Monday 2nd January - closed.
There will be a special Christmas session of stories and songs for the under-5s at 11.30am on Saturday 10th December. (Children must be accompanied by a parent or carer.
Save Lyndhurst Park Hotel
Did you know that underneath the 1970s additions and the security shutters there is actually an interesting Victorian country house? The parish council is holding a public meeting to rally support for saving this important building at the Community Centre on Wednesday 14th December, starting at 7.30pm. Come along, find out more and have your say.
Lyndhurst RBL Burns Night
Lyndhurst and District Royal British Legion invite you to join them for Burns Night at Lyndhurst Community Centre on Saturday 21st January at 7.30 for 8.00pm. There will be dancing led by members of the New Forest Scottish Country Dancers. Tickets are £12.50 each, available from Lyndhurst Community Centre and Lyndhurst Working Men's Club. A buffet supper is included but please bring your own drinks. All welcome.