Things to do in The New Forest

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New Forest Activities

With ancient woodlands, rolling heaths, unspoilt coastline and famous ponies, the New Forest is one of the most spectacular areas in the country to visit.

But as well as its natural attractions & places, there is a wealth of things to do in the New Forest with activities to keep everyone happy, from outdoor adventurers and thrill seekers to heritage and history buffs.

Enjoy a New Forest adventure…

One of the best ways to explore the Forest is by bicycle. Whether you want to spend a day cycling or your whole break using pedal power, Forest Leisure Cycling in Burley is the place to visit. Close to a network of trails, Forest Leisure Cycling covers all your cycling needs including bike hire, route advice, sales, repairs and servicing.

Another great place for outdoor adventures is New Forest Activities in Beaulieu. Experts in delivering outdoor activities they can help you make the most of your New Forest adventure. There’s something for everyone from canoeing and kayaking to bushcraft, archery and Battlefield LIVE.

Visit Lepe Country Park, with over a mile of beach is a great day out for all. Whether spending the day searching for seashore crabs and building sandcastles or enjoying the play area or a stroll around the coast to the D-Day remains or through the local nature reserve, there’s lots to do. Finish your visit at The Lookout, Lepe’s restaurant with panoramic views over the Solent – a destination for visitors whatever the weather!

Discover world-famous history

Beaulieu is also home to the famous National Motor Museum and Palace House. Why not spend a day exploring one of finest collections of cars, motorcycles and motoring memorabilia in the world? Or take a ride on the Monorail and step back in time as you explore the fantastic Victorian gothic country house and get a taste of life ‘below stairs’?

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New Forest Wildlife Park

A short trip from Beaulieu is Buckler’s Hard, a maritime museum on the banks of the Beaulieu River, giving an insight into the history of an 18th-century ship-building village. You can take a boat trip along the Beaulieu River – one of the few privately owned rivers in the world.

On the opposite side of the river you can find Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway, a 200-acre site renowned for the Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and rare trees. Meander through winding woodland pathways and riverside walks, feed giant koi carp or hop aboard the miniature steam railway to enjoy the vibrant scenery in style.

Commanding the entrance to the Solent is Hurst Castle, an artillery fortress built by Henry VIII in 1648, offering one of the best views in England. You can step inside the heart of Hurst Castle to its Tudor fort, which retains much of its original 16th-century appearance and see for yourself where Charles I was kept prisoner in 1648.

Get to know the forest and its inhabitants

One of the main attractions of the New Forest is the wildlife and you can experience amazing animals in natural surroundings at the New Forest Wildlife Park, near Ashurst. Follow the woodland trails and discover fascinating facts about the animals you see. You might even catch feeding time!

Also near Ashurst is Longdown Activity Farm – a fantastic family day for everyone with friendly farm animals and hands on activities throughout the day. Help feed the animals and let off some steam in the play areas and trampoline barn.

If you want to learn about the history of the New Forest then pop into the New Forest Heritage Centre in Lyndhurst. This free entry museum and gallery has a host of family-friendly exhibits and displays about the history, people and traditions of this unique are. With ancient woodlands, rolling heaths, unspoilt coastline and famous ponies, the New Forest is one of the most spectacular areas in the country to visit.