Travel GuideNew Forest National Park

The Ultimate New Forest Travel Guide

One of the most popular holiday destinations among LandCruise customers, and under an hours drive from our base in Oving, is the New Forest.

Covering southwest Hampshire and southeast Wiltshire it is one of the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in Southern England, and was proclaimed a royal forest by William the Conqueror.

Go walking or cycling amongst the free-roaming ponies, deer and cattle and get a true sense of escape.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful and relaxing short break or an all-out activity holiday, the New Forest has all bases covered.

 

Did You Know?

The New Forest is home to over 4,000 ponies, which have right of way over cars (and motorhomes!) and are a symbol of the forest. Horses’ bones dating back to 500,000 BC have been found nearby.

Other wildlife found in the New Forest includes deer, goats, pigs, squirrels and snakes. It is home to several rare species of insect, as well as the only cicada species native to the UK.

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Why You Should Visit The New Forest

What sort of holiday are you after? Looking to get back to nature? A bit of peace and relaxation? Or more adventure and activity based? Perhaps you want to do some shopping, indulge at a fancy restaurant and take in a show? Or would you rather spend your time laying on the beach? Look no further than the New Forest National Park.

It does all those things and more. Its vast stretches of ancient woodland and wildlife-rich heathland transport you to a different world, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Head out on a paddle board or ride through the forest on horseback and let all your worries simply drift away.

Activities in the New Forest

If it’s adventure you’re after, Insight Activities in Fordingbridge provide award winning woodland based outdoor activities for families and couples, including archery and axe throwing! If you prefer your activities a little wetter Calshot Activities Centre on the shores of the Solent offer a wide range of exciting water (and land) based adventures.

The New Forest is a haven for any market lover with plenty of bustling weekly town markets in places such as Hythe, Lymington, New Milton, and Ringwood, with stalls selling everything from clothes, fruit and vegetables, gifts and local crafts to choose from.

If you’re after high street fashion and designer outlets Westquay Shopping Centre in Southampton is a short drive away. Make a day of it and take in a show at Southampton’s famous Mayflower Theatre, before heading back to your woodland retreat.

With 26 miles of coastline to explore why not take a trip to the beach in the peak of summer? Choose between Milford-on-Sea, Barton at Sea, Lepe or Calshot and dip your toe, top up that tan or take a fresh, sea air walk while following one of the many suggested coastal walking routes.

And all just an hour’s drive from LandCruise!

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Top 6 Things To Do In The New Forest

 

1. Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Beaulieu is the award winning family visitor attraction at the heart of the New Forest National Park. Just a short drive from nearby Southampton, it is renowned for its vintage cars and motorcycles. They have great events and exhibitions on throughout the year including the brand new World of Top Gear!

 

2. Paulton’s Park

Rated on Google as the UK’s number 1 family theme park, and boasting over 70 exciting rides and attractions, the 140 acres of beautiful parkland on the edge of the New Forest is also home to the UK’s only Peppa Pig World. Even better when kids under 1m go free!

 

3. Calshot Activities Centre

In a prime location on the shores of the Solent, Calshot Activities Centre is one of the largest outdoor adventure centres in Britain. They have a wide range of land and water based activities, for all abilities and ages, available throughout the year

Things to do continued...

 

4. New Forest Wildlife Park

Enjoy the amazing animals at this beautiful park, in the leafy New Forest, with its fabulous adventure playgrounds for all ages. Follow the woodland trails to see wallaby, European bison, wolves, wild boar, Scottish wildcats, lynx, foxes, pine marten, polecats, owls and ferrets. Meet the friendly deer and say hi to the playful otters, including the endangered giant otter. Feeding sessions, keeper talks and loads more special events all year round.

 

5. Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway

More than 100 years in the making, Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway is a spectacular collection of landscaped woodland, herbaceous, contemporary and formal gardens, in a unique riverside location. Exbury also boasts a narrow-gauge steam railway that travels through the gardens, plus a play area, dragonfly pond, and catering to suite every taste and appetite.

 

6. Lepe Country Park

Lepe Country Park is located in the very southeastern corner of the New Forest National Park, just several miles from Beaulieu. It’s a very popular spot and gives perfect views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. The long stretch of shingle beach is popular with kite surfers and wind surfers, families and holidaymakers. The country park is ideal for birdwatchers, nature enthusiasts, families and dogwalkers.

When Is The Best Time To Visit The New Forest?

TripAdvisor voted the New Forest the no.1 National Park in Europe and 10th in the World. Not hard to see why when no matter the time of year you choose to visit you’ll get to witness and experience the stunning natural habitat in all it’s glory.

 

Spring

Life re-emerges and colour blooms starting with the growth of Spring Flowers, Primroses, Blue Bells and Foxgloves. Bird song can be heard from dawn till dusk, and you can often spot some of the newly born New Forest pony foals as they wander around the forest. With the days beginning to get longer and warmer, spring is a fantastic time to visit.

 

Summer

Nothing beats a summer camping holiday, and with 26 miles of coastline to explore why not take a trip to the beach. Choose between Milford-on-Sea, Barton at Sea, Lepe or Calshot and take a dip in the sea, top up that tan and take a fresh, sea air walk while following one of the many suggested coastal walking routes.

 

Autumn

Spectacular scenery and amazing colours make autumn the best time for walking and cycling in the New Forest. Put on a extra layer, breathe in the fresh crisp air, explore the ornamental woodlands and end up in a lovely warm pub. Bliss.

 

Winter 

Even in the winter months the New Forest is full of beauty with it’s frosted leaves, dark starry skies and dramatic sunsets. With fewer cars on the roads, fewer users on the tracks, you’ll feel as if you have whole of the forest to yourself.

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The Best Campsites In The New Forest

There are a whole host of brilliant campsites throughout the New Forest, all of which are ideal for relaxing and for feeling closer to the wonderful great outdoors – the New Forest is a great place to stay in your hired motorhome.

Whilst wild camping is not permitted, you can still pitch up right in the heart of the forest, sharing the land with the ponies and other animals at one of the amazing Camping in the Forest sites.

Along with some customer recommendations we’ve handpicked some of our favourite places to stay in the New Forest.

Places To Stay

Vehicles Best Suited To The New Forest

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New Forest Frequently Asked Questions

1. How big is the New Forest?

The New Forest stretches over 220 square miles covering southwest Hampshire and southeast Wiltshire.

2. Where to eat in the New Forest?

From 5-star dining to more traditional English fare there are loads of great restaurants in the New Forest to tempt your appetite, no matter what your preferred tastes or budget.

3. Can you camp in the New Forest?

Most definitely. However, wild camping in the New Forest is not permitted, but if you would like to park right in the heart of the forest with the ponies and other animals milling around you, you can’t do much better than the Camping in the Forest sites. Check out our recommended campsites in the New Forest page.

4. Are motorhomes and campervans allowed in the New Forest?

Yes. There are lots of campsites and touring parks in the New Forest that welcome motorhomes and campervans. However, wild camping (staying the night in a layby or carpark) is illegal.

5. What motorhomes and campervans are best suited to the New Forest?

The New Forest is perfectly set up for motorhomes and campervans of all sizes.

Further Information About The New Forest

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