Top 20 things to do in the New Forest with dogs

The New Forest is a paradise for dog owners with miles of trails across moors and woodlands. There are so many things to do in the New Forest with dogs, so everyone can explore!


Whether this be the New Forest National Park or even canoeing with your pooch on Beaulieu River, it’s easy to enjoy various activities with your four-legged friend by your side.

From long wilderness rambles to grabbing lunch at a dog-friendly pub or café – there’s something for everyone! So, get ready to discover just how dog-friendly this beautiful part of Hampshire is for an unforgettable holiday

Top 8 dog-friendly walks and attractions in the New Forest

Keeping your dog occupied on holiday is made easy, as there are plenty of things to do in the New Forest with dogs. To begin planning the best holiday that both you and your pooch will love, here are some top attractions:

New Forest National Park image

New Forest National Park

One of the best things to do in the New Forest with dogs is to take them to New Forest National Park, which offers acres of open countryside for your pup to enjoy. The park is wonderful for long walks taking in the ancient woodlands and heathland, while seeing streams, and ponds, and finding coastal views that make the forest so special. Dogs will love exploring the new sight.

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Beaulieu National Motor Museum image

Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Dogs are welcome on leads within the grounds only, but you can still explore the National Motor Museum exhibits. The parkland walks are great for stretching you and your pup's legs, whilst catching some amazing views!

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A family walking across a bridge at the Moors Valley Country Park in Hampshire.

Moors Valley Country Park

With various walking trails and a dog exercise field, Moors Valley Country Park is ideal for dogs. The park allows dogs throughout and has facilities for your pooch including a dog wash area, dog waste bins, and water to hydrate after those beautiful walks in the park.

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Hurst Castle image

Hurst Castle

As long as you keep your pup on a short lead, there is nowhere off-limits here, making it one of the best things to do in the New Forest with dogs. The coastal walks around Hurst Castle provide wonderful sandy beaches and sea views to enjoy with your dog, and you could even meet Poppy and Lily – the two castle dogs!

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A photo of a body of water situated within densly-packed woodland near our holiday park of Sandy Balls, Hampshire.

Exbury Gardens

Dogs are welcome on leads in the Exbury Gardens, giving access to parts of the stunning gardens. What makes this attraction even more special for your pooch is that they host various events, including dedicated Dog Days, where you can get a discount on admission if you enter with your furry friend. What more could you want?

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Canoeing image


For adventurous pups, you can find activities like canoeing in the New Forest waters with New Forest activities. Enjoy a relaxing paddle along the river with your furry friend perched at one end of the canoe! You can take a 90-minute tour of the Beaulieu River to witness some of the best views with your pooch. Bring along a towel or blanket for them to perch on and then you’re set!

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Beaulieu to Buckler’s Hard image

Beaulieu to Buckler’s Hard

Beaulieu to Buckler’s Hard is one of the best options and perfect for things to do in the New Forest with dogs. The almost 5-mile trail from Beaulieu to the charming village of Buckler’s Hard makes for a great dog hike, with chances to stop for refreshments along the way. Take in views of the Beaulieu River and coast with your pup.

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New Forest Reptile Centre image

New Forest Reptile Centre

Opening from Easter time, the New Forest Reptile Centre welcomes friendly dogs on leads, so they can enjoy meeting the reptiles too! For a great day out, this centre is great for seeing those reptiles that are harder to see outside – instead, you can witness them up close!

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And with all of these attractions not being too far of a distance away from the Sandy Balls holiday park, you don’t need to travel far for an unforgettable doggy holiday.

8 dog-friendly restaurants in the New Forest

The New Forest has long been a top destination for those looking to explore the outdoors with their furry companions in tow. After long walks wandering the forests and coastline, you can recharge with delicious meals and refreshments across many wonderful establishments that cater to both owners and their four-legged guests.

Here are our top picks of the most welcoming, must-visit dog-friendly eateries dotted in and around the New Forest and all in short distance of the Sandy Balls holiday park:

The Waterloo Arms, Lyndhurst image

The Waterloo Arms, Lyndhurst

This traditional pub welcomes well-behaved dogs on leads, and they can also refresh themselves with dog bowls full of fresh water available. At The Waterloo Arms, you’ll find scrumptious homecooked meals, plus vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free meals available and real ales on tap – it's a delightful dog-friendly pub option after a long walk.

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The Bold Forester, Marchwood image

The Bold Forester, Marchwood

With dogs welcome in both the bar and snug of The Bold Forester, they can indulge in some treats while you indulge in homemade food that’s sourced locally where possible - so you know you’re in for a treat! Whether you want fresh cakes, a Sunday roast, or an afternoon tipple, find everything you could ever wish to taste here!

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The Filly Inn, Brockenhurst image

The Filly Inn, Brockenhurst

Dogs are welcome in the bar area, garden room, and outside, with both water bowls and treats provided to refuel them after a beautiful country walk. Expect classic pub grub classics done well, but make sure to book at The Filly Inn so you can confirm at this great spot to eat!

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The Old Station Tea Rooms, Holmsey image

The Old Station Tea Rooms, Holmsey

Dogs are welcome in the covered and all outside areas, with refreshments available for them too. Within the dog-friendly garden of this quaint tea room, you can sit, relax, and indulge in some homemade cakes, sandwiches, and hot drinks after a Forest ramble.

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Aubrey's Forest Kitchen image

Aubrey's Forest Kitchen

Located in Sandy Balls, you can indulge your tastebuds at Aubrey's Forest Kitchen, with meals for every part of the day. Complement your meal with a handcrafted cocktail or glass of wine from our full bar. When the weather allows, soak up the sunshine on our dog-friendly patio. Plus, with fresh, locally sourced ingredients and a cosy yet lively ambience.

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The New Queen, Avon image

The New Queen, Avon

For a great dog-friendly pub, this is a brilliant option that has many public footpaths in the area, so you can walk and then refresh yourselves. Dine on the patio of The New Queen, overlooking the Avon Water River for a relaxing meal, plus some stunning views.

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Walhampton Arms, Lymington image

Walhampton Arms, Lymington

The Walhampton Arms offers great food and views across the Lymington marshes – the locally sourced food is waiting for you to try. Alongside this, dogs are allowed in the pub garden and the bar area as long as they’re kept on leads, so the entire family can enjoy this outing!

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The Oak Inn, Lyndhurst image

The Oak Inn, Lyndhurst

Nestled in the midst of the New Forest is the traditional dog-friendly pub, The Oak Inn. After a day of exploring the neighbourhood, this comfortable spot is the ideal location to unwind with your dog because of its open fires, cosy atmosphere, and delicious meal.

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Top 5 dog-friendly beaches near the New Forest

Avon Beach, Christchurch image

Avon Beach, Christchurch

Avon Beach in Christchurch is a great option. As one of the most popular beaches in the area, there is plenty of space for dogs to run and play. It's easy to take dogs on a forest walk before or after the beach – the perfect day out!

  • Dog restriction: Dogs are welcome from 1 October to 30 April (at other times dogs are not allowed).

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Barton-on-Sea Beach, Christchurch image

Barton-on-Sea Beach, Christchurch

This is another dog-friendly choice, especially as there’s a nice flat, sandy area, or you can walk along the cliff top. At low tide, more space opens up for exploring but do be mindful of the tides if your dog likes to splash around. At Barton-on-Sea, you can even catch views of the Isle of Wight Needles.

  • Dog restrictions: Open all year round for dogs.

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Goatee Beach image

Goatee Beach

Also known as Fisherman's Walk, this sandy beach is perfect for dogs and the whole family. It’s a little quieter than the two main Bournemouth beaches, plus there’s a dog exercise area in between Fisherman’s Walk and Southbourne Beach. You can find something for everyone at this beach!

  • Dog restrictions: Seasonal dog restrictions apply.

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Hengistbury Head and Mudeford Sandbank image

Hengistbury Head and Mudeford Sandbank

This sandy beach is great for everyone, especially dogs! You can take a journey up to the top of the headland, which is the most difficult walk, but it’s made as accessible as possible. Relax by the sea at Mudeford Sandbank, take in the fresh air, and enjoy views of the Isle of Wight with your pup.

  • Dog restrictions: Dog-friendly all year.

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Hordle Cliff, Milford on Sea image

Hordle Cliff, Milford on Sea

Hordle Cliff is a dog-friendly shingle beach in the New Forest with beautifully sloped cliffs. Your dog might have their favourite things to do in the New Forest and this could be splashing in the lapping water - they can do all of that and more at this stunning location!

  • Dog restrictions: Dog-friendly all year round.

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Why should you visit the New Forest with your dogs?

Everyone loves a beach, including dogs, and you can find plenty of these around the New Forest. They make up some of the best things to do in the New Forest with dogs, so here are some top options:

Visiting the New Forest with your dog is a fabulous day out or holiday they will love. Here are a few key reasons why you should visit:

  1. The New Forest offers over 500 square kilometres of open spaces, including woodlands, beaches, and more where dogs have the freedom to discover. There are plenty of trails and terrain for them to safely explore and bound around.
  2. There are plenty of dedicated dog-friendly pubs, cafes, and restaurants, alongside an Away Resorts holiday park across the region's villages where they get treated like superstars with water bowls, doggy treats, and more.
  3. There are plenty of things to do in the New Forest with dogs, like meeting ponies, donkeys, deer, and other wildlife that are captivating for dogs to behold at a distance. Being able to roam alongside them under supervision creates exciting experiences.
  4. The coastal beaches like Milford-on-Sea have outstanding expanses of sand and water access perfect for throwing balls, enjoying ocean scents, and running freely off-leash many months of the year.
  5. The New Forest and coastal villages have hospitable environments tailored for dog walking. With so many regular dog walkers about, it's a welcoming community where your dog feels right at home. And you'll likely make dog and owner friends too!

With off-leash freedom, wildlife encounters, beaches, accommodation, and endless trails, the New Forest offers dogs and owners alike an idyllic British retreat. Why not make brand new unforgettable outdoor adventures together exploring the South England landscapes?

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