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Review   ›   Short breaks › Travel Inspiration  ›  South West of England

The Montagu Arms - a wonderful New Forest afternoon tea

June 30, 2022


What I loved about it:

The Montagu Arms offers a truly traditional New Forest afternoon tea; it is everything you want from a characterful setting, to great food and service.


The Montagu Arms, Beaulieu

Suitable for:

romantic getaways, afternoon tea with friends, families, couples

Value for money (out of 10):



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A warm welcome at the Montagu Arms

I’ve often driven past The Montagu Arms in Beaulieu and wondered what it looked like on the inside. The entrance is charming with its red brick and pretty hanging baskets. It’s deceiving in size as it goes back a long way, leading out into an attractive garden, cottage accommodation and a large car park.

You step into a hallway and you notice the dark woodwork, imposing grandfather clock and traditional telephone room. There’s a warm and friendly reception where someone was waiting to escort us to afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea is taken in the lounge area, and as it was a sunny day we were also given the option of the conservatory or garden area. The large sofas by the fireplace looked too inviting to turn down though so we made ourselves comfortable and took a look at the menu.

The tea menu is extensive and I was intrigued by some of the types such as gunpowder, and Russian caravan. I’m more of a coffee person so chose a cafetiere, whilst my companion Girl About Dorset went for a classic English breakfast tea.

As part of our review we were treated to an icy cold glass of Taittinger champagne and it’s worth the upgrade in my opinion for the crisp deliciousness.

The food is served in a traditional 3 tier display, with perfectly rectangular sandwiches at the bottom and classic fillings. It was suggested that we start with an amuse bouche of a panna cotta topped with strawberries, though I found it quite sweet and saved it for after the sandwiches instead.

The scones were warm, and most importantly fluffy and well-risen – couldn’t fault them. There was a generous bowl of clotted cream too which I particularly liked as sometimes I have to request extra cream (it’s the best bit, don’t judge me!)

The selection of patisserie was good; carrot cake, lemon tart and chocolate financier meant there should be something for everyone’s taste. The highlight was the lemon tart. Mary Berry would be proud of the thin pastry case, filled generously with sharp lemon curd and topped with fluffy meringue. Writing about it makes me want to eat it all over again!

The service at The Montagu Arms is excellent; many places have really gone downhill lately using Covid as an excuse, but here everybody is perfectly professional. Our waiter was young and still so polite, with just the right amount of attentiveness.

After your afternoon tea make sure you take the opportunity to enjoy a stroll around Beaulieu. There are some lovely independent shops and cafés to visit. Patrick’s Patch is a kitchen garden open to the public with a huge array of fruit and vegetables to look at as well as a Worzel Gummidge and Aunt Sally to say hello to.

For a longer day out you could walk the 2 miles to Bucklers Hard; an historic shipbuilding village with gorgeous views over the Beaulieu river. Or visit the National Motor museum, my top value day out in Hampshire.

The Montagu Arms also has a selection of rooms to stay in and extend your New Forest visit. Thank you so much for hosting us and we will visit again soon.

Girl About Hampshire and Girl About Dorset


This is a Girl About review. I was invited by the management free of charge in exchange for an honest and frank review. All my opinions are my own and in no way have they been swayed by their kind invite. Girl About reviews are always 100% honest. We only publish reviews that, for the most part, are positive.

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June 30, 2022