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Holidays in Burley

A traditional New Forest village with a smuggling and witching past

UK | South Coast | New Forest | Burley
The centre of Burley

Set deep in the heart of the New Forest, surrounded by oaks, pines, beeches and sprawling heathland, Burley is a picturesque chocolate box village which has set the scene for many fascinating tales.

Don’t be alarmed if you see ponies and cattle roaming freely around the village, as Burley is one of the few villages today that allows animals to graze upon the open forest land. Along with the pretty thatched cottages that make up the village, this helps paint a picture of Burley being untouched by the changing times.

Outside the Coven of Witches

Burley was once notorious for both smugglers and highwaymen, who often frequented the 17th-century Queen’s Head pub, which still stands today. Smugglers used to hide in a hidden cellar beneath the stable bar, with many old coins, bottles and pistols having been found there. The village is also heavily linked to witches thanks to Sybil Leek, a lady who lived in Burley in the 1950s. Wearing a black cloak and a jackdaw on her shoulder, she resembled a witch and upset the residents, causing her to move to America, where she became an author of many books on the occult. Visitors can now find a variety of witch-related gifts and ornaments in the village’s gift shops, including Coven of Witches. Legend also has it that a dragon once lived at Burley Beacon, and that every day it would fly west to Bisterne to feed on milk.

For an unusual way to take in the village, why not try a wagon ride? Leaving from the Queens Head car park, the journey takes you past the church, through woodland and as far as the golf course. There’s also a chance to spot the forest ponies and cattle peacefully grazing, as well as the fallow deer and the village donkeys. After exploring the village make sure you bring home a souvenir from one of the small independent shops, which includes Burley Fudge, selling handmade fudge, and Burley Coach House, selling country wines, preserves, cider and other farm produce.

“A picturesque chocolate box village which has set the scene for many fascinating tales…”

There are plenty of fantastic places to eat in Burley. For light bites including sandwiches and cakes, try Burley-Licious, while for something more refined, try the AA Rosette Dinner at Moorhill House, where afternoon teas are also available.

Burley is also home to a New Forest Visitor Information Point, where you can find out more about how to make the most of the surrounding region.

Our Burley cottages are perfect for a holiday in the heart of the New Forest – why not visit our collection and become inspired?

While you’re there

Queen’s Head

A historic pub, once the hideout of smugglers and highwaymen

Wagon rides

Explore the village in a traditional horse and cart and take a step back in time

Coven of Witches

An unusual gift shop selling all kinds of witch-related gifts and ornaments, taking in the village’s witching past

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