BFB’s Travel Guide to New Forest
Escape to the forest on search of Gruffalos and you’ll find so much more here. The New Forest is full of family-friendly attractions and natural beauty to captivate all ages. If you want to getaway from the everyday hustle and bustle of your usual routine, you’ll love the miles of majestic woodland, pony-dotted moors, and peaceful heathland.
Things to do
Adventure in the woods and beyond
The New Forest is home to a wealth of walking opportunities ideal for families – many of which are accessible for pushchairs. Head through the forest itself or take a walking trail to follow the rich wildlife of Beaulieu River. In the summer, the New Forest Tour is highly recommended to shuttle you about between walks and give little ones a rest.
Discover the ‘secret coast’
With the term ‘Forest’ in the name, seagulls, salt marshes and sand are not what you expect from the region – but there’s plenty of beach action to be had. In fact, the New Forest is home to 40 miles of coastline! Pack the buckets and spades and take a trip to the beautiful beaches such as: Calshot, Barton on Sea, Lepe, Mudeford Sandback and Bournemouth.
Make the most of the museums
Learn all about the New Forest at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst, take in the art at the St Barbe Museum and Gallery, or treat young car fanatics to a day at Beaulie Motor Museum – and that’s just mentioning the region’s museum highlights.
There are numerous locally made products to try on your holiday to the New Forest. And if you want fresh, locally grown fruit and veg there are several farm shops to take your pick from:
New Forest produce to try
For centuries beer has been brewed in the historic town of Ringwood and the market town has become known for its craft ales. Grown-ups can take a tour around the brewery or look out for ales like Razor Back, Boon Doggle and Forty Niner on local taps.
Beaulieu may be best known for its fantastic car museum, but it is also the home of incredible hand-crafted chocolate. For a real treat, head to the Beaulieu Chocolate Studio and pick up artisan delights like a Banoffee Choc or Dark Chocolate, Pistachio and Sea Salt bar – yum.
Rosary Goats Cheese
Cheese connoisseurs get ready to sample the locally produced Rosary Goats Cheese, a creamy and naturally acidic cheese with a mousse-like texture. Perfect on salads.
Places to eat
The Cart Wheel Inn – Fordingbridge
If you’re looking for a delicious pub lunch and a welcoming family-friendly atmosphere, try The Cart Wheel Inn. The pub itself is hundreds of years old and situated in picturesque rural settings that add to the charm.
Cuisine: British pub food
Tea Total – Lyndhurst
An award-winning, modern Tea lounge offering 52 of the worlds finest teas plus handmade cakes, cookies and much more.
Cuisine: Cream tea, cakes, leaf tea
The Cliff House Restaurant – Barton on Sea
Fuss-free British food, beautifully presented with local, seasonal ingredients. Kids menu available including a mini roast lunch available every Sunday.
Cuisine: British, Vegetarian and Vegan options
Britannia Thai – Brockenhurst
If you’re feeling exotic, then the Britannia Thai offers foreign flavours in a welcoming atmosphere. A great stop for a quick lunch break or a night out for all the family. The restaurant is happy to box up leftovers, so you can enjoy round two after the kids are in bed.
Cuisine: Thai, Vegetarian and Vegan options
Gems for the kids
Discover wonderland at Adventure Wonderland Theme Park, Christchurch
Enjoy a full day’s fun with thrill rides for all ages. There are over 30 rides in total from log flumes and rapids to mega slides, a cuddly pet corner and a massive indoor play centre.
Meet Peppa at Paultons Family Theme Park, The New Forest
If there’s a Peppa Pig fan in your family, you can’t holiday in the New Forest without taking a day to enjoy Paulton’s Park with their Peppa Pig World. Splash in muddy puddles, try 7 themed rides or spend time in George’s Spaceship Playzone.
Go crazy for cars at Beaulieu National Motor Museum, Beaulieu
Arguably one of the UK’s most-loved museums, Beaulieu makes a fantastic day out for young car lovers – with over 250 vehicles to learn about. Highlights include the ‘Wheels’ ride which takes you on a journey through 100 years of motoring.
Go wild in the forest at New Forest Wildlife Park, Ashurst
Get up close to an array of fascinating wild animals in beautiful natural surroundings. Red Deer, otters, badgers, ferrets, wolves and wild cats – to name a handful. The Wildlife Park is also home to many types of Owls.
Escape to the countryside with the delightfully position Dairy Cottage near Ibsely nature reserve. This gorgeous two-bed cottage has a large, private garden and stunning views – along with all the mod cons you could want for a family holiday. The grown-ups will love the luxurious décor while for the children there’s toys, outdoor play equipment, and even access to your own beach hut at nearby Alum Chine.
A true gem in the New Forest, this stylish home sleeps six (plus two babies) and is nestled amongst the wildlife and makes wild pony spotting a reality to look forward to. Here you can expect touches of luxury like a Nespresso coffee machine, oak floors with underfloor heating and a wonderful claw foot bath – while the children can enjoy games, bath toys, kids’ DVDs and an outdoor play fort with slide.
How about a harbour-front break at this charming cottage on Bath Road, Emsworth. This three-double bedroom house (with additional cot room) is set overlooking a millpond and is just a short walk from the shops, pubs, and bistros of the historic market town. Well-equipped for all the family, with indoor and outdoor toys for the kids, and lots to do nearby too.
Browse more child-friendly villas in the New Forest now.