things to do in the new forest

Last Updated on: 8th February 2024, 10:10 am

Welcome to the enchanting New Forest, where adventure and natural beauty await. Nestled in Hampshire, this idyllic destination offers a plethora of activities that will leave you captivated. Whether you’re seeking outdoor escapades, family-friendly attractions, or adrenaline-pumping adventures, the New Forest has something exciting in store for everyone. Let’s dive into the best things to do in the New Forest and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Are you ready to immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes and unique charm of the New Forest? Let’s start exploring!

Exploring the Great Outdoors in the New Forest

The New Forest is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. With over 140 miles of walking paths, visitors can explore the stunning landscapes, quaint towns, and beautiful coastline. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike, there are trails to suit all levels of fitness and ability.

If you’re a cycling enthusiast, the New Forest offers a plethora of off-road trails that criss-cross the heathlands and woodlands. Get your adrenaline pumping as you navigate through the forest, enjoying the fresh air and picturesque views along the way. Whether you’re an experienced rider or a casual cyclist, there are routes to cater to all skill levels.

For those who prefer a slower pace, horseback riding is the perfect way to explore the bridleways and immerse yourself in the scenic beauty of the New Forest. Saddle up and embark on an unforgettable equestrian adventure, surrounded by ancient woodlands and enchanting landscapes.

“The New Forest is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you enjoy walking, cycling, or horseback riding, there’s something truly magical about exploring the great outdoors in this breathtaking area.”

So why wait? Put on your walking boots, dust off your bicycle, or mount a horse – the choice is yours. Get ready to discover and experience the wonders of the New Forest firsthand.

Family-Friendly Attractions in the New Forest

Families visiting the New Forest will find a wide range of attractions and activities suitable for all ages. Whether you’re looking for educational experiences or thrilling adventures, there is something to keep the whole family entertained and create lasting memories.

One of the most popular family-friendly attractions in the New Forest is Paultons Park, home of Peppa Pig World. This theme park offers a magical experience for children, with rides, shows, and meet-and-greets with their favorite characters from the beloved animated series. The park also has a variety of other themed areas, including Lost Kingdom and Critter Creek, where families can explore and have fun together.

things to do in the new forest for families

For families interested in history and automobiles, the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu is a must-visit. This museum showcases a remarkable collection of vintage cars, including iconic vehicles from famous movies. Kids will be delighted to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the flying cars from James Bond films. In addition to the museum, Beaulieu offers beautifully landscaped gardens, a monorail ride, and the opportunity to explore the historic Beaulieu Abbey.

Other family-friendly attractions in the New Forest include:

  • The New Forest Reptile Centre: A fascinating place where visitors can observe and learn about the native reptiles and amphibians of the area. Kids will enjoy exploring the interactive exhibits and spotting different species.
  • Longdown Activity Farm: A working farm that offers hands-on experiences with a variety of animals. Children can bottle-feed baby goats, cuddle rabbits, and even milk cows. There are also indoor and outdoor play areas, making it a perfect destination for a fun-filled day out.
  • New Forest Wildlife Park: This wildlife park is home to a wide range of native and exotic animals. Families can walk through spacious enclosures and get up close to animals like otters, wolves, and wallabies. There are also daily feeding and educational talks to enhance the experience.

With so many family-friendly attractions to choose from, a visit to the New Forest is an excellent choice for a fun-filled vacation that will delight both children and adults alike.

Dog-Friendly Activities in the New Forest

The New Forest is an invigorating destination for dog owners, offering a myriad of attractions and activities that warmly welcome our four-legged friends. Whether you’re seeking adventure or a tranquil stroll, there are plenty of opportunities to explore with your canine companion.

One activity that is gaining popularity among dog owners is paddleboarding and kayaking. Imagine gliding across the serene waters of Beaulieu River while your loyal companion enjoys the fresh breeze. It’s a fantastic way to bond with your pooch and experience nature’s tranquility together.

For those who prefer a leisurely pace, walking through the enchanting local gardens is a delightful option. Discover stunning blooms, vibrant colors, and aromatic scents as you and your furry friend wander through these picturesque sanctuaries. The Exbury Gardens and Furzey Gardens are perfect examples of the floral wonders awaiting you.

If you and your dog are more inclined towards adventure, you can embark on long walks through the captivating woodlands that the New Forest is renowned for. The ancient trees, winding paths, and rustic beauty create an idyllic setting for exploration and discovery.

It’s worth mentioning that many accommodations in the area are dog-friendly and provide exceptional facilities and services for our canine companions. They understand that our furry friends are part of our family and ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay for all.

The New Forest is truly a haven for dog owners. With a variety of activities to suit different preferences, you and your pup will surely create unforgettable memories in this enchanting region.

Some Dog-Friendly Activities in the New Forest:

  • Go paddleboarding or kayaking on Beaulieu River
  • Explore the Exbury Gardens or Furzey Gardens
  • Take long walks in the captivating woodlands
  • Stay at dog-friendly accommodations for a comfortable and enjoyable experience

Activity Description
Paddleboarding and Kayaking Enjoy the peaceful waters of Beaulieu River while paddling with your furry friend
Exploring Local Gardens Immerse yourself in the beauty of Exbury Gardens and Furzey Gardens as you wander with your dog
Long Walks in the Woodlands Discover the ancient trees and rustic charm of the New Forest during a leisurely stroll with your pup
Dog-Friendly Accommodations Choose from a range of dog-friendly accommodations that provide excellent facilities and services for your furry friend

Free Things to Do in the New Forest

When exploring the New Forest, you don’t have to break the bank to have an amazing time. There are plenty of free activities that allow you to immerse yourself in the beauty of this enchanting destination. Whether you enjoy walking, wildlife spotting, or exploring historic sites, the New Forest offers a range of options that won’t cost you a penny.

1. Walking Paths and Cycling Trails

The New Forest boasts over 140 miles of picturesque walking paths and cycling trails, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Lace up your walking boots or hop on your bike to explore the stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife that call the forest home. Take a leisurely stroll through ancient woodlands, heathlands, and along the coastline, where you can breathe in the fresh forest air and soak up the peaceful ambiance.

2. Forestry England Car Parks

Forestry England car parks in the New Forest provide convenient and free access points to explore the area. Leave your car in one of these designated parking areas and embark on a day of adventure. From here, you can set off on your chosen walking or cycling trail and discover the natural wonders that await you.

3. Free Attractions

Some attractions in the New Forest offer free entry or operate on a donation-based system, allowing you to enjoy the experience without spending a fortune. The New Forest Heritage Centre is a treasure trove of information about the area’s history and natural heritage, while Furzey Gardens offers a peaceful and beautiful setting to unwind and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Immerse yourself in the beauty of the New Forest without worrying about your budget. With free walking paths, cycling trails, and access to beautiful attractions, you can create lasting memories without spending a penny.

Discover the New Forest’s natural and cultural wonders without breaking the bank. From exploring picturesque walking trails to visiting free attractions, there is no shortage of cost-free activities to enjoy during your visit.

Adrenaline-Pumping Adventures in the New Forest

For thrill-seekers looking for adventurous activities in the New Forest, there are plenty of heart-pounding options to get your adrenaline pumping. From exhilarating watersports to unique outdoor experiences, the New Forest offers an abundance of thrilling opportunities to satisfy your adventurous spirit.

One must-visit destination for adventurous watersports in the New Forest is the renowned New Forest Water Park. Here, you can indulge in a variety of exciting activities, such as wakeboarding, aquapark adventures, and even thrilling banana rides. Whether you’re a seasoned watersports enthusiast or a beginner looking to try something new, the New Forest Water Park promises an unforgettable experience.

Another fantastic provider of adventurous activities in the New Forest is New Forest Activities. They offer a range of thrilling options, including canoeing, kayaking, and archery, among many others. Whether you prefer to test your skills on the water or channel your inner Robin Hood, New Forest Activities has something for everyone.

Watersports enthusiasts will find no shortage of exciting options in the New Forest. Embark on a kayaking or paddleboarding adventure along the pristine Beaulieu River, marveling at the stunning natural beauty that surrounds you. For those who prefer sailing or yachting, the Beaulieu River offers the perfect setting for a day of aquatic exploration.

If you’re seeking a unique and exhilarating experience, why not try a horse-drawn carriage ride through the New Forest? Immerse yourself in the rustic charm of the forest as you journey through its enchanting trails, accompanied by gentle, majestic horses. Alternatively, you can opt for a luxury yacht trip, indulging in a day of opulence and relaxation on the scenic waters.

Exploring Historic Sites and Museums in the New Forest

If you’re a history enthusiast, the New Forest has a wealth of historic sites and museums waiting to be explored. Immerse yourself in the stories of the past and discover the fascinating heritage of this enchanting area. From maritime history to motorbikes, there’s something to captivate every visitor.

Buckler’s Hard

Buckler’s Hard, situated along the Beaulieu River, is a picturesque 18th-century shipbuilding village. Step back in time and learn about the shipbuilding industry that thrived here during the Georgian era. Explore the historic buildings and take a guided tour to gain insights into the lives of the shipbuilders and their families. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Maritime Museum, which exhibits artifacts and tells the story of the village’s maritime heritage.

The New Forest Heritage Centre

Located in the heart of Lyndhurst, the New Forest Heritage Centre is a must-visit for anyone interested in the area’s rich history. Discover the secrets of the ancient forest and its unique ecosystem through interactive exhibits and displays. Learn about the fascinating traditions, customs, and folklore that have shaped the New Forest over centuries. The center also offers guided walks and events that provide further opportunities to delve into the region’s heritage.

Breamore House and Countryside Museum

Step into the past with a visit to Breamore House and Countryside Museum. This magnificent Elizabethan manor showcases exquisite architecture, stunning gardens, and a wealth of historical artifacts. Explore the grand rooms filled with period furniture, artwork, and intricate tapestries. The Countryside Museum offers an immersive experience, allowing visitors to discover the rural traditions and agricultural practices of the New Forest throughout the ages.

Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum

Calling all motorcycle enthusiasts! Make your way to the Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum for an intriguing journey through the history of motorbikes. Admire an impressive collection of vintage motorcycles from various eras and delve into the stories behind their designs and innovations. This one-of-a-kind museum is a paradise for motorbike lovers, showcasing rare and iconic bikes that will ignite your passion for two-wheeled wonders.

historic sites in the new forest

Extend your knowledge of the New Forest’s vibrant past by visiting these historic sites and museums. Immerse yourself in the stories that have shaped this unique area, and gain a deeper appreciation for its rich heritage and cultural significance.


The New Forest offers a diverse range of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a memorable experience with your loved ones, this enchanting destination promises a delightful getaway.

For those who love the great outdoors, the New Forest provides endless opportunities to explore. With its picturesque walks, cycling trails, and horseback riding routes, you can immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes and immerse yourself in nature’s beauty.

Families will be delighted by the array of family-friendly attractions in the New Forest. From farm trips and museums to theme parks and wildlife parks, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Create lasting memories at popular attractions like Paultons Park, home of Peppa Pig World, and the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.

Whether you’re a dog owner or simply enjoy spending time with our furry friends, the New Forest welcomes dogs with open arms. You can paddleboard, kayak, or simply take long walks with your four-legged companion. Many accommodations in the area also provide excellent dog-friendly facilities and services.


What are some of the best things to do in the New Forest?

The New Forest offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. You can explore picturesque walks and cycling trails, visit historic sites and museums, indulge in adrenaline-pumping adventures, and enjoy family-friendly attractions. There is something for everyone in this beautiful area of Hampshire.

What outdoor activities can I enjoy in the New Forest?

The New Forest is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. You can go walking on over 140 miles of paths, explore quaint towns and beautiful coastline. Cycling is also popular, with off-road trails criss-crossing the heathlands and woodlands. Horseback riding is a great way to enjoy the scenic beauty of the New Forest and explore the bridleways.

Are there any attractions in the New Forest suitable for families?

Absolutely! The New Forest has a wide range of family-friendly attractions. You can visit farm trips, museums, theme parks, and wildlife parks. Paultons Park, home of Peppa Pig World, and the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu are especially popular with families.

Are there activities in the New Forest that welcome dogs?

Yes, the New Forest is a perfect destination for dog owners. You can enjoy activities such as paddleboarding, kayaking, walking through local gardens, and long walks in the woodlands with your furry friends. Many accommodations in the area also provide dog-friendly facilities and services.

What are some free things to do in the New Forest?

The New Forest offers several free activities for visitors to enjoy. You can explore over 140 miles of walking paths and cycling trails, spend a day discovering the wildlife and nature of the forest. The Forestry England car parks in the New Forest are also free, allowing easy access to the area. Some attractions, such as the New Forest Heritage Centre and Furzey Gardens, offer free entry or donation-based admission.

What adrenaline-pumping adventures can I experience in the New Forest?

If you’re a thrill-seeker, the New Forest has plenty to offer. You can visit New Forest Water Park for wakeboarding, aquapark, and banana rides. New Forest Activities provides opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, archery, and more. Watersports enthusiasts can enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding, sailing, or yachting on the Beaulieu River. There are also options for horse-drawn carriage rides and luxury yacht trips.

Are there any historic sites and museums to explore in the New Forest?

History enthusiasts will find plenty to explore in the New Forest. You can visit Buckler’s Hard, an 18th-century shipbuilding village, for a glimpse into maritime history. The New Forest Heritage Centre in Lyndhurst provides insights into the area’s rich history. Breamore House and Countryside Museum and Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum are also worth a visit for those interested in history and motorbikes.