If you are looking for things to do in the New Forest, you won’t be disappointed. There is such a wide and versatile range of options, there really is something for everyone.
Whether you are taking a short break or a longer holiday, there’s a wealth of attractions to explore and places to visit in the idyllic and magical area of the New Forest.
It provides the perfect escape from day-to-day life – watch out for the wild ponies, donkeys, deer and cattle when you are out and about!
We’ve put together some of our favourite things to do in the New Forest – we hope you enjoy exploring the area!
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The New Forest National Park
By just venturing outdoors in the New Forest area, the majority of the time you will actually be within ‘The New Forest National Park.’
The New Forest is one of 10 UK National Parks. The park contains a delightful mixture of heathland, forest trails, wild ponies and other animals like deer and cattle. The area itself spans across three counties – Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire.
The New Forest National Park really is geared up for outdoor lovers, and its possible to either hike, cycle or ride a horse across hundreds of miles of beautiful surroundings.
Wildlife lovers will have a treat – we strongly recommend a visit to Bolderwood in Lyndhurst to visit the Deer Sanctuary. You can park up for free and have a family picnic in the most stunning setting!
Set in Hampshire, right in the heart of the New Forest, Beaulieu is an award-winning attraction that will delight all members of the family!
Beaulieu is an estate (owned by the Montagu’s) which has over 800 years of heritage to navigate through. Here you can find the National Motor Museum which is definitely a family favourite, with its famous cars, beautiful grounds, monorail and various other areas to explore.
Beaulieu is a stunning village, it contains the privately owned river named ‘Beaulieu River.’ If you fancy it you can take a paddle in a kayak down the river itself. Or, if history is more your thing, you can always make a trip to Beaulieu Abbey and Palace.
If you are staying in Milford On Sea, or you take a trip to the area, a visit to Hurst Castle is a must.
The castle itself is actually an artillery fortress, that was built by Henry VIII way back in 1544!
The castle is situated on a shingle spit that extends out for 1.5 miles – from here there are breathtaking views of the Isle of Wight.
On the site, you may want to explore the ‘Tudor Fort’ right in the middle of the castle, the ‘Victorian Batteries,’ or perhaps the lighthouse.
What we suggest is you try the ferry ride that takes you for a beautiful trip down the Keyhaven River, where you can spot much wildlife and enjoy lovely views.
Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway
Exbury Gardens, located in between Beaulieu and The Solent, are set in 200 acres of wonderful woodland garden for you to explore.
There are at least 9 individual gardens to walk through such as the ‘Rock Garden’, ‘ Daffodil Meadow’ and ‘Witcher’s Wood’ – all of which are simply stunning.
Alongside the various gardens there are many adventure trails for the kids, and tearooms, and then save the best for last; take a short trip on the Exbury Steam Railway.
The lovely historic village of Brockenhurst is situated right in the centre of the New Forest. It is probably the busiest in terms of people, yet a definite contender for one of the most beautiful places to visit or indeed live!
The countryside which surrounds the village is simply enchanting, not to mention the surprise when you see a deer, donkey or cow having a wander down the high street!
Apart from embracing the magical natural charm of Brockenhurst, there are also plenty of other things to do in the village. There is a mixture of pubs, restaurants, tea rooms and small shops to plan a trip to and as plenty of leisure activities, such as cycling, hiking and horse riding.
There are plenty of different live events taking place – in the summer you may want to enjoy the New Forest and Hampshire County Show, providing you with 3 days of entertainment and fun!
Bucklers Hard is a small picturesque hamlet located along the banks of the Beaulieu River.
Its literally like getting transported back to the 18th century, where you can experience what it would of been like to live and be part of this tiny shipbuilding village, ships that were built for Nelson.
You can take a look inside the Maritime Museum which explains the life and story of local key characters that influenced the shipbuilding industry.
Alongside the museum why not check out some of the historic cottage displays, like the Labourer’s and Shipwright’s cottages.
Between spring and autumn time it is possible to enjoy a river cruise too – and don’t forget you can always relax and unwind at the Captain Cabins tearoom!