IT'S the new aprés-ski style lodge in the heart of the New Forest which allows fabulous al fresco dining.

The Lodge Kitchen & Bar at the Balmer Lawn Hotel in Brockenhurst was officially opened by winter Olympic legend Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards last week.

It is kitted out for winter complete with heaters, cosy blankets, festoon lighting and a Gozney Pizza oven for casual dining. Removable sides ensure views of the stunning New Forest landscape.

The 675 sq ft stretch tent on the front terrace offers an extended indoor/outdoor dining experience for residents and guests. It aims to provide a year round solution to socially distanced dining.

Balmer Lawn General Manager, Michael Clitheroe, said: “We know that people still want to get out to enjoy time with friends and family all within a Covid secure environment, and The Lodge Kitchen & Bar provides just that.

“However, the Lodge is not just for winter, it will be staying to provide a year round solution to social distanced dining, leading the way in the evolving new era of hospitality.”

The menu is a mix of artisan pizzas, pulled meat flatbreads and sharing platters. Dishes on offer include The IOW (tomato confit, garlic, IOW blue cheese & basil) and for those with a sweet tooth the dessert Calzone is not to be missed.

A contemporary bar will be serving a full bar menu including cocktails, wines and ‘Henry’s Pale Ale’ which has been designed and brewed on the premises at the Brockenhurst Brewery by Henry Wilson.

The Lodge Kitchen & Bar will be open every evening throughout the season and at weekends playing host to Christmas-Fest themed evenings. Tables of up to six people will be able to celebrate with festive street food and party tunes.

Michael adds: “Christmas is 100% on at Balmer Lawn Hotel and we want to make sure that each and every one of our guests has an experience to remember. The new stretch tent has been transformed into an alpine wonderland."

Chris and Alison Wilson returned the iconic New Forest hotel to private ownership in October 1997.

They have spent the past 22 years refurbishing the hotel in an attempt to restore it to its former glory. In the 60’s and 70’s the Balmer Lawn was probably the most prestigious property in the New Forest. They regained four star status in 2008. Special offers are currently running to celebrate reopening.

The Balmer Lawn is our trader of the week this week. To suggest your local business, click here