Archive | March 2018

Michael Cortland Jones & Michael Craik at &Gallery: cool, calm Rothko-esque Abstract artistry

Jeffrey Corland Jone, from Ohio, USA and Michael Craik based in Fife, Scotland, have been brought together in this innovative exhibition of their finely crafted Abstract paintings, which complement each other perfectly. Courtship (Second Still), J C Jones

Jeffrey Cortland Jones, who lives on a small farm in Southwestern Ohio, received a Masters of Fine Art from the Cincinnati College of Design, Art, Architecture and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Tennessee. As well as working as a painter and curator, he is Professor of Art at the University of Dayton.  He has exhibited in solo and group shows across the USA – Dallas, New York, Miami, Cincinnati and Europe – Amsterdam, London.

Vestige 2017-20,|Michael Craik

Michael Craik studied Fine Art at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen before completing an MA in European Fine Art in Barcelona. Based at his Sea Loft studio in Kinghorn, he is a full time painter as well as enjoying gardening, and busy family life. A major award winner,  his work has been exhibited throughout Europe, from Berlin to Barcelona and is represented in several corporate companies, including The Fleming Collection, Mastercard, Royal Bank of Scotland,  Coopers and Lybrand.

Twenty five works of art by both artists are well displayed together across the two light filled rooms at & Gallery, rather than separate shows.  It is so impressive to compare and contrast the styles, colour and media.  Jeffrey specialises in enamel on acrylic panel and while, on first inspection, they appear to be very simple blocks, the actual geometric shape and subtle shade of each composition is meticulously handled.

In such works as Slayer (With Desire) and Courtship, (Second Still), the integrated sections and squares, some almost invisible, feature the softest tones of white, cream and grey. Also most striking is Surface (Ritual Veil), with architectural dark and light rectangles, visually most pleasing in its patterned structure. Surface (Ritual), JC Jones

There is a deft use of colour in his work too which give more of a representational aspect: X (Variant Parts) with moss green streaks of paint which could almost depict a grassy meadow beneath the sky.  Fever (Death Bells) in soft shades of lime is like a Gin cocktail with ice and a slice!  Seawaves, JC Jones

Given a more detailed title, Seawaves captures the distinctive blending of glossy grey, glistening green and watery wavy blues. Creating sheer, transparent tones and palest pastels, apparently, he has acquired the reputation of being an artist who paints white on white.

Then shift your gaze to the unique minimalist paintings by Michael Craik. Using acrylic on aluminium, this Vestige collection features a series of squares (20, 28 or 50cm)  which appear to be one colour, across a palette of mauve, turquoise, pink and yellow, but this is almost an optional illusion.

In close up, you can detect the layers of paint and graduation of colours such as Vestige 2016-12, where the dominant lilac-blue has a border of vibrant crimson-plum, seaping and splattered like dried blood underneath.

Vestige 2016-12, Michael Craik

From golden corn to dove grey, the colours are perfected like Farrow & Ball paint charts (given such quirky names as Nancy’s Blushes, Elephant’s breath and Dorset Cream.)  Here is Vestige 2017-21, a fluid, fuschia block underlaid and surrounded by a decorative navy blue “frame”   Vestige 2017 -21, Michael Craik

Due to the painstaking layer by layer painterly concept, each one can take around two months to complete.  The result?  A shining, shimmering texture enhanced with a beautifully translucent, glassy glow.

Standing in the centre of the back room gallery, in particular, you can view the distinctive work of each artist side by side.  These cool, calm Rothko-esque compositions with a pure sense of light, shade, shape and structure create an amazing sense of peace and solitude.  A most inspiring, imaginatively curated exhibition. Go see!

Fever (Death Bells), J C Jones

 

Michael Cortland Jones & Michael Craik

3 – 24 March, 2018
Tuesday to Friday: 10am-5pm   Saturday: 10am-4pm

& Gallery, 17 Dundas Street,  Edinburgh EH3 6QG

andgallery.co.uk

Vestige 2016-13, Michael Craik

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Grid Iron & Stellar Quines present Bingo! – a boisterous, bawdy Musical Comedy with a sharp bite!

In the 1960s, when Variety Theatres began to close, the Bingo Halls took over as a major attraction for women of a certain age for a good night out with friends – more entertainment than pure gambling.   Today, over 300 Bingo clubs across the UK entice over two million players each week – a new 1,000-seater venue recently opened in Southampton.  The idea for Bingo! a new Musical Comedy was sparked by Jemima Levick, (Artistic Director, Stellar Quines), who was introduced to Bingo by colleagues when working at Dundee Rep.  Whilst they rarely won anything she was hooked.

The makings of a drama were all there – a distinct community, family & friends, all hoping that a Jackpot win will change their lives.  Written by Anita Vettesse & Johnny McKnight, with music by Alan Penman, Bingo! is an innovative co-production by Grid Iron and Stellar Quines.

The curving thrust stage at the Assembly Hall is meticulously designed with half a dozen tables and chairs, the Bar complete with spirit dispensers,  Fruit machine, walls painted bright blue and glittering pink with matching striped carpet.  At the side, the Ladies Loo with two cubicles (one, Out of Order).

The show opens with a heartfelt song about a windfall of Lotto cash, wishing that their “worries will disappear .. .. just a couple of hours to get out of debt.”   Getting ready for the evening session are Betty, the Caller, and her best gay friend Danny the Barman in their corporate purple uniforms.

Betty and Danny (Jane McCarry and Darren Brownlie) in Bingo!

First to arrive are Ruth, a new mum, looking dishevelled in casual T shirt and trackie bottoms, and Danielle, a travel agent, in a smart navy dress, her hair piled high with blonde extensions. Sorting themselves out with red wine and Red Bull, they are clearly up for a fun time.

Striding purposefully through the double doors comes Mary, bold and brassy from hair to voice, dressed in a sequined top and black trousers. She selects a chair at the central table, drink and lucky mascot to hand, virtually ignoring the two girls – Danielle is in fact her daughter but clearly not on speaking terms.

Mary (Wendy Seager) in Bingo!

Act 1 kicks off with a series of laugh-out-loud, short, sharp Variety-style character sketches.  Jo Freer is brilliant as the frazzled, frantic Ruth describing in graphic detail, the pros and cons of breast feeding.

Ruth (Jo Freer) in Bingo!

On the phone to Davy, her helpless, hapless partner Davy, she is apoplectic with rage when she hears he can’t find the chicken in the fridge and has fed the baby Nutella.

Darren Brownlie as Danny minces around, all swaying hips and cool camp charm, handing out Pink Stetsons to the Gals for Betty’s much anticipated Hen Do trip to Las Vegas. But in the Ladies loo, shamefaced and shaking with guilt, Danielle admits to Ruth that she’s spent their hard earned holiday funds with which she was entrusted. She can only pray that she is Lady Luck tonight.

But first a surprise visitor, Joanna, in twin set and pearls carrying a large bag and Henry the Hoover, her prize possessions after being sent packing by her adulterous hubbie.  Barbara Rafferty captures her disoriented (and later rather tipsy!) state to a T, as she is welcomed warmly and invited to join in.

Danielle and Joanna (Louise McCarthy and Barbara Rafferty) and Henry in Bingo!

The Game begins as a battle of wits and a flurry of dagger-dabbing pens as bubbly Betty (Jane McCarry) calls the numbers at speed while Mary attacks two Bingo books at once to double the chances. To illustrate the tension, the scene is choreographed in slow motion, with facial gestures and raised hands frozen in time, before they hit the next number with energetic glee.

Ruth, Danielle and Joanna in Bingo!

Sound effects of chatter and clinking glasses give the realistic impression that a few dozen players are packing out the Club.  Danny is bemused at the hysterical ladies, their desperate plight to win, win, win in “ A sea of hope and Primark.”   After the comic banter, we are drawn into a surreal and shocking scenario.  Talk about Women behaving badly with brutal, bruised results, reminiscent of the macabre tales of “Barney Thomson”, the barber with a scissor-sliced body on his hands.

Danielle and Mary in Bingo!

Here in the Bingo Club, while a spicy Bloody Mary would have been the perfect cocktail, the shrieked order at the bar is for a double voddy with full fat coke.  As the crime drama intensifies  each character reveals personal secrets, regrets, hopes and dreams. Louise McCarthy as Danielle neatly portrays her Jekyll and Hyde persona, from cool and confident to a desperate, emotional wreck.

As a Musical Comedy, the plot is interlinked with a smattering of sassy songs, ranging rfrom country and soul to raunch rock.  Wendy Seager as Mary gives a spine tingling rendition of “Cold House”, reflecting on hard times while the ensemble raise the tempo in such rousing numbers as “Pay it all back” and “Viva Las Vegas”

A show stopping number in Bingo!

Described as a cross between “ Miss Marple & The Steamie,”  throw in a blend of River City & Casualty into this musical mash up of Soap Opera, Burlesque and Black Comedy which explodes into a boisterous, far fetched Farce.  The narrative could be tightened up to speed up the action with a couple of false, show stopper endings for Act 1. Performed with sparkling energy and astute characterisation, the cast deliver the quick wit, bawdy banter and bittersweet songs with panache and a sharp bite.

The focus of Bingo!  is not the lingo of Legs Eleven et al,  but about the close knit community of players taking part. This Bingo Club is about camaraderie, motherhood, friendship, falling out and forgiveness.  At a time of personal crisis and despair, loyalty speaks louder than words, with a Spartacus-style generosity of spirit. A good night at the theatre? You bet!

Tour dates:

Assembly Hall, Edinburgh: 6-7 March 7.30pm (previews) and 8-17 March 7.30pm (not Sunday 11th), 10 & 17 March 2.30pm (matinees)

Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling: 22-23 March 7.30pm, 23 March 2.30pm (matinee)

Ayr Gaiety Theatre, Ayr: 27-28 March 7.30pm

The Brunton, Musselburgh: 31 March at 2pm and 7.30pm

Tron Theatre, Glasgow: 12-14 April at 7.45pm

Eden Court, Inverness: 19-21 April 7.30pm, 21 April 2.30pm (matinee)

For more information and booking tickets:

http://www.bingocomedymusical.com

http://www.stellarquines.com & http://www.gridiron.org.uk

Production Photography: Mihaela Bodlovic

The cast of Bingo!

The Lido, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis – a chic, sleek American Diner-Pizzeria-Restaurant for superb Italian cusine with the taste of the Hebrides

Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris

For the great escape, the Outer Hebrides offer the visitor a distinctively different, magical destination,  rich in ancient history and cultural heritage.  These beautiful islands are easily accessible by plane and ferry, where the visitor will find a wild, natural landscape, long sealochs, stunning sandy beaches, and the warmest hospitality.

Stornoway is the main town and port on the Isle of Lewis, the perfect start or end point as part of an exploration further afield to Harris, Uist, Barra et al – but do stay in town for a while.

Hebridean wildlife boat trips

Stroll along the waterfront of Stornoway Harbour packed with fishing boats as well as wildlife boat trips for a thrilling seafaring adventure.

Lews Castle, Stornoway

Surounded by lovely gardens and woodland, the turreted,  19th century Lews Castle,  on a hill overlooking the town, has been transformed into the Natural Retreats – luxury, self catering accommodation. Next door is the marvellous Museum nan Eilean with its historical treasures including the Lewis Chessmen.

After an energetic tour around town, time for good wholesome sustenance.  For lunch and dinner, highly recommended is The Lido, a most welcoming, family run, Italian-Scottish Café-Bar-Bistro with the cool, casual ambience of an American Diner.

While I’ve not actually been there, it reminds me of Katz Deli Diner in New York, made world famous in the wonderful romantic movie, “When Harry Met Sally” with its hilarious lunchtime sandwich scene.

Katz Deli Diner in “When Harry Met Sally”

The equivalent to Katz Diner in Stornoway is sleek and chic, all shining grey marble and silver chrome with a central theatre kitchen, long bar counter with stools, banquette seating around the walls, Bentwood chairs and neatly spaced dark wood tables.

Smart interior design at The Lido

Launched in May 2017, The Lido is run by an entrepreneurial couple,  Emma, the Manager,  her partner Lee as Head Chef and their friendly young team of staff.   The design is really superb with decorative lobster crates and collection of vintage photographs of Stornoway through the decades to give a charming sense of Island heritage.

Vintage photographs of Stornoway

I visited for lunch (very wisely served to 3pm for hungry tourists),  with a most enticing menu on offer. Chunky Ciabatta sandwiches, Burgers (lamb, chicken and Chick pea/beetroot), and several healthy but hearty salads, a key speciality here are the unique home made Pizzas. Depending on the season, there’s a varied choice with some seriously inventive creations: what about Butter Chicken Curry, or Salami, Prosciutto & Peperoni Pizza?

Italian meatball ciabatta

I selected a vegetarian Pizza with creamy mozzarella, tomatoes, sprinkled with red onion and colourful peppers.  Onions and peppers can often be left raw and crunchy but these were roasted well.  The hand stretched dough is super thin, lightly textured with a slight salty flavour – just perfect to roll up a triangular slice and eat with fingers!.

My perfect cheese, tomato, green pepper Pizza

To accompany my delicious pizza, I sipped a glass of crisp cold Pinot Grigio: a well selected, reasonably priced Italian wine list as well as share a bottle of Prosecco sparkling fizz.

No wonder the Lido is popular when Cocktails are being shaken up not stirred. The House cocktail – Smirnoff Vodka, Blackberry and lemon zest sounds divine, alongside classic tipples,  Martini, Mojito and the girl’s fave, the  Cosmo.

Colourful cocktails galore

Quality Beers too, and gin lovers should try the local Isle of Harris Gin scented with sugar kelp to give a whiff of the sea. Harris Gin is also used in desserts such as a creamy Pannacotta to give it a spirited kick.

Salt see flavoured Isle of Harris gin

In the evening, The Lido transforms into a romantic Restaurant with beautifully set tables (tea lights, black napkins) for a casually sophisticated ambience.  Locally sourced produce is emphasised in the modern Scottish cuisine such as an Indian spiced Stornoway Black pudding croquettes, and the freshest, crate to plate Scallops for starters. For main courses, Venison and Partridge Pie with red wine gravy and vegetables, Pork steak with haggis bon bons, Salmon served with seaweed polenta fitters.

Shellfish linguine

Local seafood  is proudly celebrated with catch of the day specials such as classic Lobster Thermidor. Talk about the taste of the Hebrides!.

Lobster – fresh from crate to plate

Superb Vegetarian dishes too such as Goat’s Cheese salad and Spicy Moroccan Sweet potato cakes; to finish your meal, homely puddings, Chocolate brownie and Gelato.

Vegan, gluten free banana muffins – yum!

Call in here for coffee,  tea and home made cakes, rum and raisin scones and Vegan gluten- free  banana muffins while Pizzas are available also for Take-away.

Browse their colourful Facebook pages with topical news, menus, dining  and drink offers and special Pop Up events such as Valentine’s, Mother’s Day and Easter treats for the kids.

Cromwell Street is a quiet, pedestrianised lane, so on warm days, sit outside for an alfresco feast with a view down to the harbour.

Due to its terrific fan base (local and far and wide), The Lido has been voted into the top ten in the category of best Newcomer in the forthcoming Scottish Entertainment and Hospitality Awards 2018, the winners announced on 29 April.  Good luck!

As you will see from the comments below, don’t just take my word for it. The Lido is a brilliant dining concept, fresh, home made Italian dishes with a Scottish accent and flavour.  It is almost magical how it changes in character and style, day to night from coffee house, Pizzeria,  Cocktail bar and fine dining Restaurant.   With Spring and Summer around the corner, new seasonal menus are coming soon, to entice local residents and island visitors to call in for a superlative snack, drinks, lunch or dinner.

For their artistic and culinary vision,  passion and commitment in creating their new business, Emma and Lee deserve great success.  Visit Stornoway soon and be sure to reserve a table at The Lido.!

The Lido

5 Cromwell Street,  HS1 2DB Stornoway,

 Open daily, 11.30 – 3pm; 5pm to 9pm.   Tel.  01851 703354

 https://www.facebook.com/TheLidoStornoway/

What other diners say:

Best pizza in town by a mile. In fact, best pizza I have had in years. Thin, crispy, light and really tasty.

Absolutely brilliant, Staying in Stornoway we loved “The Lido” so much, we returned twice.  Amazing food – highly recommended.

We absolutely love the Lido. The best Smoked Salmon and Lemon Risotto I’ve ever had!

5 stars!.  Chicken liver and Harris Gin Pate with plum jam to start – excellent. My friend had the scallops and black pudding – great! The lamb burger with sweet potato fries was also superbly tasty with crisp fries. Chocolate brownie dessert topped it off. 

 

The Juniper Collective @ Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh: a shining showcase of refreshingly innovative artwork

The Juniper Collective is a new group of five women artists who became friends and creative collaborators having met while studying at Edinburgh College of Art and Leith School of Art. Their joint exhibition this week coincides,  by chance or design, with International Women’s Day on Thursday 8th March. This global event, which began in New York almost a century ago, celebrates women’s achievements, calling for gender equality in all aspects of education, work, society and politics.

It seems extraordinary that it was in 1924 when William McDougall founded the Scottish Society of Women Artists to assist his daughter, Lily McDougall, a talented painter who, being female, was not recognised by or able to join professional art associations.

Sailing Away at Loch Tay – Vibha Pankaj

So most timely to celebrate the most impressive work of Vibha Pankaj, Sara Nichols, Sarah Winkler, Jo Scobie and Kirstin Heggie who have formed the Juniper Collective and, despite the “Beast from the East” which swept into Edinburgh. But these artists were determined that the show must go on, transporting their work through the snow, to open the exhibition on Saturday 3 March at Dundas Street Gallery.

This spacious venue is ideal to showcase such a diverse range of work around the walls.  I wandered slowly around in a clockwise fashion beginning with the richly textured landscapes bv Vibha Pankaj.  A lover of the countryside – Flotterstone, Pentlands and Loch Tay – she re-imagines the hills and  shoreline as an Impressionistic image, working in multi-media, (egg tempura, acrylic and plaster of paris) to depict the rough terrain of sand and rocks.

The layered media creates a most impressive 3D collage effect, with vibrant gold, terracotta and yellow tones to capture the shifting tones of shade and sunlight.

Sarah Winkler also presents a colourful series of landscape paintings which depict extraordinary realism such as “Lichen on Rock Seam, Arisaig” and “Seaweed algae, Silver Sands of Morar.”  Detailed geological and botanical representations of a seashore where you almost feel you could touch the soft moss and salty slimy seaweed on the sandy beach.

Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags – Sarah Winkler

There are also fine linocuts, and her watercolour & ink sketches of barren hills and snowy mountains may look as if they have been scribbled at speed, but this is delicately crafted, skilful art.

Having trained as a designer of jewellery, Kirstin Heggie has recently turned her attention to landscapes and abstract figures. With luggage labels for each title, and smart thick white frames, her acrylic paintings show cool coloured beach scenes and distant horizon.

Untitled – Kirstin Heggie

Placing a hazy figure or couple in the picture adds perspective and a filmic quality where the shimmering shades of clouds and waves are created with thick smears of brush strokes across the canvas.  Most atmospheric.

Hydrangea 2 – Sara Nichols

Bringing a glimpse of Springtime to the Dundas Street Gallery are the pretty flower paintings by Sara Nichols – soft pink hydrangeas as seen on the coastline of Massachusetts, a place which has inspired the subject of her work.  These decorative watercolours could certainly be used on fabric for lovely home furnishings or even fashion.

Most inventive are her collage paintings, adding scraps of found paper such as the timetable of the tides to bring a true sense of place, the changing of force of the sea and our natural world.

Daylight – Sara Nichols

All things bright and beautiful is the theme for Jo Scobie’s bold, brash abstract compositions. She studied textile design at Duncan of Jordanstone and her love of colour is clearly illustrated in these patterned paintings.

Untitled – Jo Scobie

Each one is Untitled, so the viewer can observe and quietly contemplate to detect any particular “meaning” or subject.. but that is not the point.  This is pure abstract art to express mood and movement, like a firework display or a rainbow bursting open with splashes of purple, red, orange, green and blue.

Vibha, Sarah, Kirstin, Sara and Jo may not (yet) be the Famous Five of the Edinburgh art scene,  but they all portray such refreshing, distinctive, creative talent.   Do visit the Dundas Street Gallery this week to view the exciting debut exhibition of the Juniper Collective.. With affordable prices (from around £60 – £250),  you may well be enticed to purchase one of these impressive works of art.!

The Juniper Collective @ Dundas Street Gallery,

6 Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ

Saturday 3 -Thursday 8 March – open daily 10am – 6pm.

http://www.facebook.com/thejuniperartcollective

Rising Mist at Flotterstone – Vibha Pankaj

Stay at Thatched Cottage for a relaxing break, outdoor adventures and cultural heritage around the New Forest

Brockenhurst, Hampshire has been officially declared ‘Britain’s Most Beautiful Place to Live’ by Leaders Estate Agent due to its “bundles of charm and history.”

Brockenhurst village

This is the largest village in the New Forest, an historic National Park for outdoor sports, natural heritage, wildlife,  woodland and waterways,  as well as churches, castles and miles of coastline to explore. The name Brockenhurst is perhaps derived from the local habitat of badgers, or brocks,  while an alternative source is the Pre-Norman Brocenhyrst, meaning  a ‘broken wooded hill’ – a hill criss-crossed by streams.

If you are planning on hiking and biking your way around the New Forest, the best way to travel here is by train with regular services from London Waterloo, Southampton and Bournemouth. The first impression on arrival is like stepping into the film set of an Agatha Christie period drama,  as you wander through this quaint English village.

A recommended place to stay is “Thatched Cottage” – just a five minute stroll from the station.

Thatched Cottage

As you can imagine, the 400 year old, Grade 2 Listed, “Thatched Cottage” oozes tradition and character with its low ceilings, timber beams and quirky décor and design. There are fourteen bedrooms – beautifully furnished Historic rooms within the Cottage and modern Chalet-style Garden rooms.

Pouchkin – Historic double

I was allocated Pouchkin, an Historic double on the ground floor which is simply delightful, with pretty chintz curtains, flower paintings, a white wrought iron double bed, soft pillows /duvet, and a collection of antiques and curios, such as a vintage stone hot water bottle.

The en suite shower room is compact in size but offers all necessary facilities such as quality towels and toiletries.   Tradition is the theme but expect modern comforts – Tea/ coffee tray with home baked Burley Rails shortbread and bottled water, free WiFi and a Television. On this winter time visit, it was most welcoming to find the radiator was switched on to provide a cosy room, day and night.  It’s all very homely.

An Historic Superior Room, Darjeeling, on the ground floor is more spacious, with dressing table, sofa and a bathtub, for a little extra luxury.

Darjeeling – Superior Historic double room

Garden rooms have the advantage of a communal kitchen to make drinks and snacks. The two bedroom Suite is extremely good value for a family or friends with lounge and dining areas and kitchenette.

Garden room

“Thatched Cottage” is a B&B, Tea Room and Gin Bar. Guests and non-residents can indulge in a traditional Afternoon Tea – a feast of sandwiches, scones and cakes after an energetic day out in the New Forest. This can be an alcoholic version with a cheeky G&T on the side!.

Tea and Breakfast room

Gin Bar

The cute little Gin Bar (doubling as Reception desk) offers almost 80 distinctively different gins from across the globe –  Caithness to Cornwall, Isle of Wight to New Zealand,  from fruity and floral to spicy and Navy Strength.  Try a Gin flight tasting session of three gins such as local craft gins to unusual creations , flavoured with Seaweed or Black Tomato.  Every gin is served with the perfectly matched tonic, ice and garnish – lime, orange, cucumber, basil and rosemary.  A few Cocktails too  – such as Gin Martini –  as well as wine and beer, so relax over an aperitif or two before going out for dinner.

Gin flights to sample a few

While there is no in-house restaurant this is no inconvenience whatsoever as you’ll find a varied choice of  pubs (Foresters Arms, literally next door), bistros and brasseries (Italian, Indian, Thai) nearby.

Hearty breakfasts

After a peaceful and most comfortable sleep,  experience a hearty Breakfast each morning.  The rather small buffet selection comprises cereals, sliced melon (complete with the rind), yogurt and chocolate chip pastries. Perhaps a little more choice – juices, bananas, citrus fruits, prunes, apricots and croissants?

Tea is served in your own individual pot, while Coffee is only per cup but my server kindly invented a Cafetiere in a tea pot with a jug of hot milk. Sorted!

The selection of hot dishes is excellent – Full English (eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, beans) with a Vegetarian option.  The menu offers a choice of Eggs Benedict every which way with meat, fish or spinach.  The Eggs Royale was perfectly cooked to order in the theatre kitchen with two soft poached eggs and succulent smoked salmon on a toasted muffin. A perfect start to the day touring out and about.

What to see and do?

Cyclexperience located ideally at Brockenhurst station will set you going on two wheels and suggest a variety of routes. The Cycling in the New Forest App is free to download to your phone or check out the routes online, such as Balmer Lawn, Ornamental Woods, Beaulieu and a Seaside Ride to Lymington on the Solent.

New Forest Activities offer outdoor adventures for families, couples and groups of all ages and abilities: wildlife watching – red deer, ponies, birds – canoeing on the Beaulieu River nature reserve, sea kayaking,  archery and horse-riding to keep the kids healthy and active.

The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu is a must for all petrol heads, Top Gear fans and it’s truly fascinating for anyone with an interest in design and heritage.

Colourful vintage vehicles

It is the most representative collection of over 250 vehicles, artefacts and vintage travel posters, relating the history of motoring through every era, with examples of legendary, luxury marques, racing cars and original vehicles from the movies such as Harry Potter’s Ford Anglia which magically flew over the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

The era of stylishly designed cars

The Palace House at Beaulieu, home to the Montagu family since 1538,  is a grand Mansion where you can tour the magnificent drawing and dining rooms furnished with antiques and paintings, Victorian Kitchen and gardens.

Family treasures at Beaulieu

The owners of Thatched Cottage also run Escape Yachting with exhilerating sailing opportunities on the Solent including Champagne lunch & dinner day trips.

Escape Yachting on the Solent

If you want to sail in a sunnier climate, they also organise yachting holidays in Croatia and the Caribbean.

For a great escape, plan a trip to the New Forest to enjoy outdoor adventures, natural scenic beauty and, yes, “bundles of charm and history.”

Thatched Cottage has been the best we stayed in – this is our fourth year visiting the New Forest and will return again. We highly recommend this place”.   All the rooms are packed with character and well equipped. The hotel’s unique feature is its gin bar.  Nothing was too much trouble for the very attentive and friendly staff. Breakfast was a highlight.”   (Guest comments)

Thatched Cottage, 16 Brookley Road, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, SO42 7RR

Tel. 01590 622005

www.thatchedcottage.co.uk   reservations@escapeyachting.com

Go New Forest – visitor information:  http://www.gonewforest.com

New Forest – wonderful wildlife