The New Forest Heritage Centre

The New Forest Centre

Whether you’re a visitor to the New Forest, or just want to learn more about this unique area, the New Forest Heritage Centre is a great place to start.

Conveniently located next to Lyndhurst’s main public car park, the Centre is a museum, gallery, gift shop and reference library all in one building. And admission is free!

Why is the Forest called ‘New’? Who owns the ponies? Why are certain animals allowed to run free? You can find the answers to all these questions and much more if you take a walk through the fully accessible museum with its interactive displays and family fun tree. If you want to learn more, there are Discovery Days during the school holidays with New Forest themed activities and a calendar of special talks and workshops throughout the year.

The New Forest Gallery plays host to a varied programme of exhibitions from local history to the ever-popular New Forest Open Art Competition and the well stocked gift shop is the ideal place to browse for that special gift.

The New Forest Heritage Centre is an independent museum owned and operated by the New Forest Ninth Centenary Trust (Reg Charity No: 279373).

The New Forest Heritage Centre is open 7 days a week; 10am - 5pm from 25 March to 30 October and 10am - 4pm at other times.

Last entry 30 minutes before closing. Please see website for Library opening hours.

The Centre is closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and 31 January.

Admission price 

Admission is free

Why should I visit?

    Museum - Take a journey through the history, geography and traditions of this unique area and make sure you get the most from your visit to the New Forest.

    Gallery - With an exciting range of exhibitions, from local history to the New Forest Open Art Competition, the New Forest Gallery has something for everyone.

    Gift Shop - With many locally sourced ranges, the well-stocked shop is the perfect place to search for that special gift. Or why not just treat yourself?

    Reference Library - The Christopher Tower Reference Library houses the largest public collection of maps, books and ephemera on the New Forest. See the website for opening times.


Assistance dogs allowed
Baby changing facilities
Disabled access
Disabled parking available
Dogs accepted
Facilities for the partially sighted available on request
Gift shop
Suitable for ages 12 and above
Suitable for ages 3 and above
Suitable for ages 5 and above
Suitable for ages 8 and above
Tour Guide – we require booking for this facility
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Where to find us


The New Forest Centre
SO43 7NY

Find us online

By car

The New Forest lies to the west of Southampton Water in south-west Hampshire. If you are travelling from Southampton, London or the east, exit the M27 at Junction 1, signed Cadnam and head southwards into the New Forest.

If you are travelling from the west, you can use the A31 from Dorset. From the north, take either the A338 from Salisbury to Ringwood in the west of the Forest, or the A36 to Totton in the east.

We are located in the large main Pay and Display car park in Lyndhurst. There are several parking spaces for disabled persons beside the Centre.

The Centre is also signposted with brown heritage signs on all the major routes into Lyndhurst.

By train

The main train service in the area is operated by South West Trains which provide good links to Southampton, Bournemouth, London and further afield. The train stations within the National Park are Ashurst, Beaulieu Road, Brockenhurst and Sway. The other train stations in the New Forest are Hinton Admiral, Lymington, New Milton and Totton.

By bus

The New Forest is served by a public bus network, which provides the opportunity to travel around the area by bus: Bluestar Buses – Southampton 023 8061 8233 & Wilts & Dorset – Salisbury 01722 336855.

The bus stop for the New Forest Tour bus (which runs during the Summer) is adjacent to the New Forest Centre. New Forest Tour - 01202 338420.

Kids activities

harry hampshire

  • Interactive museum displays
  • Family Discovery Days during school holidays
  • Museum trails and quizzes
  • Activities and dressing up