Explore the wonders of the New Forest National Park. Why not enjoy a picnic at the one of the tables provided at the many sites; it's a traditional pleasure that never fails to please all the family.
The New Forest National Park is a beautiful and rare landscape, shaped by man, history and the animals which still graze it today. The ponies are, of course its most famous animal residents, but ancient rights were given to commoners who still have the right to graze cattle, pigs, donkeys and sheep in the open forest. Watch them by all means but don’t try to feed the animals as some may kick or bite!
Why not take a drive through Bolderwood Arboretum, past ancient trees. Bolderwood is a popular spot for picnics and you can try and spot a herd of deer from the deer viewing platform there. On the opposite side is Rhinefield Ornamental Drive with giant trees in the woodland and a lovely place to take a walk. If you go a little further on from Burley you’ll find Wilverly Plain – the woods here are full of dens made by visitors – if you have time you can make your own!
Walking is a wonderful way to see the New Forest close up, along the coast, over heathland or beside rivers and streams. Choose from dozens of walking routes to help you explore the area’s stunning scenery and charming country pubs. Print off maps or download the trails to your smartphone at newforestnpa.gov.uk/routes The trails include information on the length and duration of the walk, step-by-step instructions and videos of some of the walk’s highlights.
Explore the National Park on two wheels, with more than 100 miles of waymarked family friendly cycle routes, much of it off the public highway and traffic free. The network is easily accessible from railway stations at Ashurst, Brockenhurst and Sway and links the main New Forest villages. There are plenty of places to hire bikes before and during your stay – newforestnpa.gov.uk/cycling
Horse riding in the New Forest is one of the finest ways to experience the natural beauty of the National Park. With over 3,000 New Forest Ponies roaming the beautiful and varying landscapes, The New Forest is the perfect backdrop for a relaxing hack. Whether you are a seasoned rider or a beginner rider, the New Forest can cater for your experience levels and ensure you have a great day at any one of the many stables available.
There are events going on year round in the New Forest. The highlight is the New Forest Show held in the last weekend of July each year at the New Forest Showground. There are regular events of all kinds at Beaulieu Motor Museum throughout the year. Lots of cycling events are held here including charity and competitive races. There are lots of local farmers markets and a week long Food & Drink Festival. For up-to-date information on local events, check out the “What’s On” section on the official New Forest visitor website.
Visit the small towns and villages that are scattered about the Forest and you’ll soon be won over by their old world charm. Brockenhurst is one of the largest villages, right in the heart of the New Forest and boasts a wealth of high quality shops, restaurants and cafes, while a short walk away is the famous watersplash where animals stop to drink. Just beyond is open heathland and wonderful forest walks and there’s bike hire from the cycle shop in the village. Beaulieu situated at the head of the Beaulieu river is perfect for a riverside picnic and a day out with a choice of places to visit like the National Motor Museum, Exbury Gardens and Buckler’s Hard where ships for Nelson’s Navy were built. Burley has tea rooms, gift shops, art galleries and even a cider farm! And last but not least Lyndhurst, known as the ‘capital’ of the New Forest since the time of William the Conquerer; has it’s own charm and friendly atmosphere. There are some great pubs in the New Forest – our favourites are The Trusty Servant in Minstead and the Forest Inn and Oak Inn near Lyndhurst.
Luxury family friendly bell tent hire across the New Forest and surrounding region.