Mr Selfridge and Monet…in the New Forest?

lord bute

It gets more visitors per square mile than any of Britain’s other national parks and no wonder, with its unique combination of ancient woodland, heathland, coast and wildlife – including those famous ponies. But while the New Forest has officially been around for nearly a thousand years, there’s always something new and exciting going on. Take these new themed breaks for example

Fans of ITV’s Mr Selfridge rejoice, because the Lord Bute Hotel &Restaurant near Christchurch, which occupies part of the entrance lodges to Highcliffe Castle, near Christchurch – Mr Selfridge’s former family home – is hosting a lavish centenary celebration of his life whilst residing in Dorset, timed to coincide with the town’s food festival.

The “Spirit of Selfridge” weekend will include a residents’ Afternoon Tea in the Lord Bute’s very own ‘Tea Emporium’ (fitting for even the most discerning of Mr Selfridge’s guests) plus a bespoke tour incorporating places associated with the family, which include a respectful visit to the Selfridge family graves. Packages cost from £49 per person.

Simon Box, co-proprietor of The Lord Bute explains… “Our “chin chin” to the opulent Mr Selfridge comprises a range of events held over a two day period with the pièce de résistance being ‘The Spirit of Selfridge Evening Soiree’ which takes place on Saturday 21st May.’

Fellow proprietor Gary Payne says: The Soiree held in our 1920’s inspired ‘Palm Court’ restaurant will reflect Harry Selfridge’s loves and favourite pastimes and will be a decadent evening of champagne, sumptuous food, lively 20’s entertainment and, of course, fun gambling! An evening where our guests, in the inimitable words of Harry Selfridge himself, can ‘eat drink and be merry!’”

Organiser of the Spirit of Selfridge Weekend, Karen Lindsey says: ‘Harry Selfridge himself once staged a Whitsun Fete at the Castle which attracted some 5,000 people. Coinciding with the Highcliffe Food Revival festivities will, we hope, be a terrific way to help showcase Highcliffe and all of its diversity to the many people who will be visiting the seaside town over the weekend.”

If you’ve been inspired by the Royal Academy’s blockbusting exhibition: Painting the Modern Garden then here’s the perfect chance to take your passion a step further – by joining an Art Safari break at a Monet Garden in the New Forest. From Monday 9th May until Wednesday 11th May the Passford House Hotel near the Georgian coastal town of Lymington is holding its first Art Safari.

Art tutor Helen Talbot will help guests explore the glorious 10 acre grounds of the Passford House Hotel. Students can use the experience to make sketches at various locations including the hotel’s very own Monet Garden and lake (complete with Japanese bridge), the hotel’s quaint pet cemetery or even one of the sculptures found hidden in the grounds.

Kara Birrell, Hotel Manager, said: “We are delighted to be working with Helen Talbot, a local art tutor. Helen’s Art Safari will involve exploring our extensive gardens gaining ideas for sketches and drawings. With our Monet Garden and lake, a Pet Cemetery dating back to the late 1800’s, statues, flowering rhododendron bushes, and much more, you certainly won’t be lost for an interesting subject to work on.”

The forest offers innumerable opportunities for painting either land or sea-scapes, or for detailed studies of everything from the roaming ponies to the unique flora and fauna – the entire park is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. A three night Art Safari Break at the Passford House Hotel costs from £65 per person, per night.


For more information on The New Forest see


Notes to Editors:

Mr Selfridge picture: From left to right: Simon Box (proprietor of Lord Bute), Karen Lindsey (organiser – Karen Lindsey Consultancy) and Gary Payne (Co proprietor of Lord Bute)

*Helen Talbot is a local artist and qualified tutor. She has taught adult education at Brockenhurst College for the past 27 years and has also taught further and higher education at the Arts Institute at Bournemouth.


Issued by:

Louise Neville, Polymedia, 01329 822866


For further information contact:

Anthony Climpson, NFTA, 023 8028 5588


For further information or pictures please contact Polymedia,

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