Explore the local area & attractions
The New Forest National Park is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most beautiful and unique regions. It’s an area celebrated for its biodiversity and untouched landscapes, making it the perfect place to visit if you love the great outdoors.
Alongside the natural scenery, there’s a whole host of places to visit in the New Forest, with New Forest attractions including everything from theme parks to zoos and beaches.
Part of Paulton’s Park, one of the UK’s favourite family theme parks.
Just a stone’s throw from the heart of the New Forest lies a very special attraction for excitable young minds. At Paultons Park, tots of all ages are invited to join Peppa Pig and pals on this latest adventure, as all their favourite characters step off the small screen and come to life.
With nine different rides, there are plenty of kid-sized thrills to take in after snapping a selfie with Peppa, George and Suzy. From floating downstream on Grampy Rabbit’s Sailing Club to scaling the skies on Peppa’s Big Balloon Ride, there’ll be cheers and giggles all round.
What’s more, Peppa Pig World is just one of the five magically themed zones to be discovered at Paultons Park!
Peppa Pig World is located at Paultons Park, on the eastern edges of the New Forest National Park and near to Southampton. That puts it conveniently close to junction 2 of the M37, while the A36 road from Salisbury runs just to the north.
If you’re coming over from the capital, a dedicated coach service runs to London Victoria and back each Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday that the park is open.
Those heading in by train should head for Southampton Airport Parkway or Southampton Central stations. Each is a 15-minute taxi ride to the Park, while the latter provides a bus connection in the form of the X7 service, which stops directly outside both the station and Paultons Park.
A beautifully set fortress off the Hampshire Coast.
Meander down the Keyhaven River and take in an abundance of local wildlife, as well as magnificent views of the castle, with the Hurst Castle ferry ride. Here you’ll have the opportunity to spot a range of fascinating aquatic birds, as well as rare invertebrates and underwater fauna.
But it’s not all about the wildlife. The ferry ride gives guests a unique view of the Tudor Keep, Needles Passage, and the Isle of Wight, as well as the haunting remains of Cliff End Battery keeping watch from the cliff top above.
Prior to the 1780s, the busy waterway by Hurst Castle was frequently the cause of wreckages. But in 1786, two lighthouses were built – one at Needles Passage and one at Hurst Spit – so sailors could see where they were going after nightfall.
Nowadays, only one of the lighthouses is still functioning, continuing to serve the same important role as it has for over two centuries. Visitors can learn all about the history of these lighthouses with a fascinating exhibition managed by the Association of Lighthouse Keepers.
Venture outside of the castle and enjoy a relaxing coastal walk through the grounds. An ideal way to blow those cobwebs away, taking a stroll through the castle’s grounds is a wonderful way to view the choppy waters of the Solent, as well as the surrounding areas and, of course, the magnificent castle from afar.
It is not possible to drive right up to Hurst Castle, so if you’re planning to take the car we recommend using the pay and display car park at Milford on Sea. The postcode for your Satnav is SO41 0PY. From the car park it’s an approximately two mile walk to Hurst Castle.
If you’re looking to public transport, then the X1 bus runs between central Bournemouth to Lymington and stops metres from the car park. The nearest railway station is New Milton – a 10 minute taxi ride from the car park –with services from Southampton, Bournemouth and London Waterloo stopping here.
An exciting water sports centre offering wakeboarding and inflatable play over a natural lake.
To the western reaches of the breathtaking New Forest lies a unique aquatic adventure. Set across 50 acres of the wet stuff, this family-run attraction has been serving up water sport thrills for more than 29 years.
There’s something here for everyone to enjoy, regardless of your level of experience. Those looking to learn something new can get to grips with a cable wakeboarding system, designed with beginners in mind, while the more experienced will love the UK’s newest five pylon wake park. Meanwhile, kids of all ages can jump and splash to their heart’s galore on the country’s first Witbit Inflatable Sports Aqua Park.
The park is undoubtedly the number one destination for New Forest water sports. Activities on offer include:
While there’s no ticketed option wild swimming at New Forest Water Park, opting for the aqua park gives you free reign for a splash around.
The park is located to the western edges of the New Forest, and because of the village it sits closest to, it’s sometimes known as the Fordingbridge water park. It’s directly off the A338 Ringwood Road, with the A31 also nearby to provide access from across the New Forest and a connection to the M27 motorway. For those arriving by public transport, the X3 service connects New Forest Water Park and Salisbury, with a stop directly outside the main gate.
A local institution, sample the collection of beers and see how each gets made.
For hundreds of years, since man first mixed water from the River Avon with malted barley from the surrounding fields, beer has been brewed in Ringwood. In the following centuries, Ringwood became a thriving market town, famous for its refreshing brew served in its many inns and taverns.
Nowadays, Ringwood is still renowned for its beers, and there are no draughts more coveted from the local area than those brewed at Ringwood Brewery.
Ringwood Brewery is famous across the land for its three thirst-quenching beers:
Fancy learning all about how your favourite beers are brewed? The Ringwood Brewery tour takes guests on a one-and-a-half-hour journey, where you can taste the malted barleys, see and sniff the hops, and check out the TunRoom with all its fermented bubbles. You’ll also receive a complimentary drink in the Pin Room.
Located on the edge of the beautiful New Forest, Ringwood Brewery is easy to get to.
By car: Ringwood is serviced well by the A31, is just over 12 miles from Bournemouth and 22 miles from Southampton. The post code for Sat Nav users is BH24 3AP.
By train: The closest train station to Ringwood Brewery is Ringwood Railway Station, located just a 12-minute walk away.
A high-adrenaline tree-tops assault course, with separate routes for different ages and abilities.
Are you ready for a real adventure? Go Ape Moors Valley offers four spine-tingling woodland trails in one and is an exhilarating way for the whole family to experience the great outdoors. Take to the trees and get your heart pumping with a range of sky-high canopies, narrow rope bridges, and suspended walkways, designed to give you the thrill of your life, all against the stunning backdrop of the New Forest.
The Go Ape Moors Valley Treetop Challenge is the ultimate way for thrill-seekers to experience the New Forest. Navigate your way to the tops of some of the tallest trees in the forest before swinging back down through the woodland on a stomach-churning forest zip wire. Think you can stay calm and make it to the end?
If smaller members of the family want to experience Go Ape, but aren’t quite ready for the Treetop Challenge, then Treetop Adventure + is the answer. Little adventure-seekers can test their endurance on a series of zip lines and suspended walkways.
Explore the forest from a different angle with the Go Ape all-terrain Segway adventure. Don’t worry, you’ll be shown how to use your Segway before you head out, so you’ll be well equipped and ready to explore the forest for up to an hour.
The Go Ape Nets Adventure is a huge network of trampolines and nets set high above in the trees, so you can bounce around to your heart’s content – no harness required. Want to get the view of a lifetime? Climb to the observation tower at the top to see the New Forest from way up high.
Go Ape Moors Valley is located to the western edges of the New Forest National Park and around ten miles north of Bournemouth. It’s closest to the village of Ashley Heath, which is connected to other parts of the region by the A31 and A338 roads. The former will be your route if you’re approaching from Southampton or Poole, while the latter gives access from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Salisbury.
Those looking to travel to the park via public transport can catch the number 38 bus. The service connects the towns of Ferndown and Ringwood, and the stop at Lions Lane is around a mile walk to the Visitor Centre and entrance.
A charming and whimsical garden that’s run by the patrons of a local autism and learning disability charity.
At the very heart of the New Forest National Park, Furzey Gardens is something of a hidden gem. Managed by the Minstead Trust – a charitable organisation that aims to help those living with learning difficulties or autism to lead happier and more independent lives – all are welcome to come visit the grounds. Not only do the funds from ticket sales go into the charity’s pot, but the attraction also provides vital employment and work experience to the young people that the Trust supports.
Furzey Gardens snakes its way through 10 acres of whimsical woodland. First planted in 1922, you can expect to enjoy a rare and colourful collection of plants sourced from across the globe. Various parts of the garden are designed with the changing seasons in mind, with bluebells and azaleas stealing the show in spring, followed by herbaceous plants in the cottage garden during summer, and maples, liquidamber and sorbus plants come Autumn. Meanwhile, in the colder months, heathers provide plenty of interest.
In addition to the planted gardens, you’ll also discover:
Furzey Gardens is closest to the village of Minstead, near Lyndhurst, at the centre of the New Forest National Park. It’s just along School Lane, which connects directly to the main A31 road that runs through the New Forest and joins up the Bournemouth and Southampton urban areas. Just north east of the Gardens, the A31 becomes the M27, so the UK’s motorway network brings you conveniently close to the gardens if you’re travelling in from further afield.
As for public transport, there are no bus routes which call within the immediate vicinity of Furzey Gardens, however both the Bluestar 6 and 35 services call in nearby Lyndhurst, which is a 10 minute taxi ride away. The nearest railway station is Ashurst New Forest Station, a 12 minute drive from the Gardens, which is served by services from Bournemouth, Southampton and occasionally London Waterloo.
A country park with gardens, cycling routes and a tree-top assault course.
Lining the lush green border of Hampshire and Dorset, Moors Valley Country Park promises an action-packed adventure among the pines. From tranquil walks to energetic cycle rides, steam-train journeys and a tree-top assault course, there’s an activity to suit just about anyone.
Whether you’re living local or are stopping by the New Forest for a short time, everybody is welcome at Moors Valley Parkrun. There are routes of varying difficulty for you to have a go at (1, 2 and 3 miles), and each is clearly marked and signposted right the way around.
Take to the tracks with this charming, family-friendly adventure. Featuring authentic steam-powered trains fueled by coal, you’ll be taken on a journey through the forest traversing tunnels and brides as you go.
The Railway has slightly different opening dates and times to the park and these are staggered throughout the year, so check the park’s website before your plan a trip.
Looking for something a little more white-knuckle? Then prepare for two or three hours spent swinging through the trees at Moors Valley’s Go Ape course. With two challenges – one for 10yrs and over or 1.4M+ tall and an easier course for anyone over 1M+ tall – Go Ape promises unforgettable family thrills.
Go Ape has its own opening dates, times and ticket prices to the park, so always check the Go Ape Website before you plan your visit.
Moors Valley is located to the western edges of the New Forest National Park and around ten miles north of Bournemouth. It’s closest to the village of Ashley Heath, which is connected to other parts of the region by the A31 and A338 roads. The former will be your route if you’re approaching from Southampton or Poole, while the latter gives access from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Salisbury. Those looking to travel to the park via public transport can catch the number 38 bus. The service connects the towns of Ferndown and Ringwood, and the stop at Lions Lane is around a mile walk to the Visitor Centre and entrance.
A viewing area deep in the new Forest, where these incredible creatures are known to gather.
If you’re looking to spot some of these amazing animals, you stand the best possible chance by visiting Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary. Situated at the heart of the New Forest, its frequent feeding times have made it a spot that the deer flock to, and its viewing platforms ensure you get an excellent view.
When you arrive at the Deer Sanctuary, you’ll find a car park to stop in. From there, there’s a small path leading to the meadows where the deer often come to graze. There’s a purpose built viewing platform here so you can get an even better view of the animals, and while there’s no guarantee that deer will be present for your visit, regular feeding during spring and summer mean this is an area they’re known to gather at.
There are also Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary walks to enjoy, along marked paths that stem outwards from the car park and viewing area. You’ll also find a large picnic area where you can stop for lunch or use the barbecue facilities provided, while there also toilets and an information cabin.
The Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary is open all year round. However, feeding sessions take place between the months of April and September (usually between noon and 3:00pm), so it’s at these times that you’re most likely to see a herd emerge from the woodland.
There is no charge to the enter the deer sanctuary, nor is there a fee to park here. But you will find a donation box on-site if you’d like to give something back and help protection and conservation efforts.
Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary is very much nestled away in the forests, but it’s closest to the settlement of Lyndhurst, along on an unnamed track that runs southwards out of the village. If you’re travelling in from Southampton or via the national motorway network, leave the M27 at junction 1 and travel along the A337 towards Lyndhurst. If you’re approaching from the opposite direction, join the A35 in Christchurch instead, taking a left turn onto Bolderwood Arboretum Ornamental Drive.
No buses operate in the area immediately surrounding the sanctuary, however the Bluestar 6 and number 35 services drop off in Lyndhurst, from which it’s a 12 minute drive or 90 minute walk. The nearest railway station is Ashurst New Forest, which is 15 minutes away in a taxi.
A small zoo that helps conserve some of Britain and Europe’s most endangered native species.
At the heart of rural Hampshire, this Wildlife Park brings to the fore all the reasons why this small corner of the world is so special. With a rare opportunity to see some of Britain’s most fascinating animals in their natural habitats, it’s an experience quite unlike any other. Built on the former premises of the New Forest Butterfly Farm, today the park is home to an incredible array of birds and mammals.
Built on the former premises of the New Forest Butterfly Farm, today the park is home to an incredible array of birds and mammals.
There are more than 30 species for you to spot as you make your way around the grounds. Just some you can expect to encounter on your visit are:
The park’s dedicated otter and owl sanctuary in the New Forest is a particular highlight. They help rehabilitate injured and orphaned animals to ensure these species can thrive again in Britain’s wilds.
The park is sometimes known as Ashurst wildlife park, as this is the name of the village it’s closest to. From here, the park is connected to the town of Totton via the A35. The Redbridge Causeway and M271 offer easy access from the Southampton area, while those approaching from other parts of the New Forest should find the A31 handy.
Those planning to use public transport have a couple of options. For rail, you can alight at Totton station and walk to the park entrance from there – which takes around 55 minutes – or use a taxi. Meanwhile, the Bluestar 6 bus runs between Southampton and Lymington, with a stop in Ashurt that’s very close to the park.
A small animal park that’s home to every species of reptile native to the British Isles.
The spectacular New Forest is home to many incredible creatures, not least one of the most diverse reptile populations of anywhere in the British Isles. While the team go about their conservation work, you’re welcome to call by and spot these fascinating species in their specially designed and spacious enclosures.
This reptile centre in Lyndhurst was founded in 1974 by Derek Thompson, a local holiday cottage owner with a passion for conservation. In cooperation with the nearby Marwell Zoo, the centre has helped to reintroduce reptile species to the New Forest that had previously become extinct here.
The New Forest Reptile Centre is home to every single lizard, snake, frog and toad species that are native to the British Isles. That means you can expect to see creatures such as:
At the centre, you’ll also find picnic areas where you can stop for some lunch, along with some walking and biking trails in the surrounding countryside. Why not see if you can spot some of these species in their natural habitat?
The New Forest Reptile centre is closest to Lyndhurst, just along the A35 Bournemouth Road from the centre of village. If you’re travelling in from towards Southampton, you’ll want to exit at junction 1 of the M27 and head down the A337 Lyndhurst Road. If you’re coming from the Bournemouth area, join the A35 in Christchurch and follow it from there.
As for buses, there are no services that stop within the vicinity of the Reptile Centre. However, the Bluestar 6 and number 35 services stop in Lyndhurst, with a 40 minute walk or 5 minute drive to the centre from there. The nearest train station is Brockenhurst station, which is 11 minutes from the Reptile Centre by taxi.
Bournemouth Pier is a must-visit attraction with incredible views and a great beach to explore.
With seven miles of award-winning beaches and a bustling town of shops, restaurants and entertainment, Bournemouth has something for everyone, whatever the weather. From adrenaline packed activities including rock climbing and zip wires to relaxing bars and cafés, Bournemouth Pier and Beach guarantees a fun day out for all the family.
A small family theme park with rides and indoor play.
Just to the west of the famous New Forest National Park, Adventure Wonderland promises an unforgettable day out for children of all ages. With everything from a sprawling soft play centre that’s open year-round, to the fun and thrilling rides and rollercoasters available during spring and summer, it’s no surprise that the attraction has been voted Dorset’s best for families year after year.
The park is split into various zones which all offer their very own kind of thrills and giggles. These include:
That’s not all. Among the park’s other draws are a viewing gallery for the nearby Bournemouth Airport, as well as Aerial Glide zip lines and a garden of optical-illusion mirrors!
Adventure Wonderland should be easy to find, as it’s just to the northern outskirts of Bournemouth in the Christchurch area, and close to the village of Hurn. The park is just a little further up Parley Lane from the entrance to Bournemouth International Airport. If you’re coming from further afield, the A338 road should prove handy and passes nearby. This road continues north all the way to Salisbury, while also connecting with the A31 which runs through the New Forest and on to Southampton.
Those planning a trip via public transport can use any of the bus services that serve the neighbouring airport, including the 737 bus service which runs into central Bournemouth. The nearest railway station is Christchurch Station, and the park is just ten minutes in a taxi from here.
An incredible aquarium where you can get up close with creatures from below – and above – the waves.
Are you ready to go under the sea? At the Oceanarium Bournemouth, you can delve beneath the waves and meet some of the planet’s most fascinating creatures – no diving suit required. Marvel through the glass at some cute and colourful sealife, stroke some reptiles, give a penguin a snack, and even feed some sharks!
The Oceanarium is home to some of the most intriguing animals living in the world’s oceans including the common clownfish, moray eel, seahorse, red bellied piranha and the blacktip reef shark.
Marvel at some of the more unusual creatures thriving under the sea, such as the moon jellyfish, the long-spined sea urchin, and the stripy nautilus, which is usually found miles below the surface in the deep ocean. And it’s not all about the creatures of the deep, visit the reptile house and meet the African dwarf crocodiles, the Chinese water dragon, and the pig-nosed turtle. And after you’ve finished marvelling at those, head over to Penguin Beach to meet some cute and curious little penguins.
Exploring a world beneath the waves can really take it out of you, so why not kick back and relax for a bit at the Offshore Cafe? Here you’ll find a range of tasty hot and cold snacks, as well as a selection of tea, coffee, and soft drinks. Fancy a freebie? Present your Oceanarium admission receipt and receive a free large tea or Starbucks filter coffee when you spend £4.
Explore The Cove gift shop and discover a wide selection of unique souvenirs. Many of the items here are fairtrade and have been sourced from local tradesmen, so purchasing something is a great way to support the local community.
It’s worth noting that the gift shop is open from 10:00am, but closing times vary from day-to-day, so it’s worth checking this on the day to avoid disappointment.
Get on the A338 from B3078 and 3 minutes, then follow the A338 to Cambridge Road/B3066 in Bournemouth for about 22 minutes. Continue on A338. Take A31 to New Rd/A347 in Ferndown. Follow A347 and Lansdowne Rd/B3064 to B3066 in Bournemouth.
Find a car park in Bournemouth city centre that’s near the pier as that is where the Oceanarium is. Or at least head towards that way, wherever you can park.
A centuries old estate perched above the Dorset coast.
Situated atop the rocky outcrops of Highcliffe-on-Sea, Highcliffe Castle has been a fixture of the Dorset countryside for centuries. Built sometime between 1831 and 1835 by Baron Charles Stuart, the castle’s magnificent gothic architecture and exquisite grounds are a sight to behold. With a fascinating guided tour, a variety of intriguing exhibitions, and some fun and educational activities for kids thrown in the mix, Highcliffe castle is a great day out for the whole family.
Highcliffe Castle Tour
Discover Highcliffe Castle in all its glory by embarking on a guided tour. The Highcliffe tour guides all really know their stuff when it comes to the history of the castle and its grounds, so this is a great way to delve into the detail of this landmark and learn the stories from within the walls.
If you fancy yourself as a bit of an adventure-seeker, members of the guided tours get the opportunity to go behind the scenes to see some of the oldest unrestored parts of the castle, which are usually restricted to the wider public.
Highcliffe Castle Café
Famous across the local area for its mouth-watering cakes and coffees, Highcliffe Castle Kitchen is the perfect place to kick back, relax, and enjoy a selection of freshly-prepared hot and cold snacks and beverages.
For a traditional treat, the café’s afternoon tea ticks all the boxes. With a tempting selection of sandwiches, cakes, and freshly-brewed Dorset Tea, it’s a great way to make your visit to the castle that little bit more magical. The café is open daily from 10:00am – 4:00pm.
Highcliffe Castle Shop
After you’ve finished exploring the castle, visit the shop to grab yourself a souvenir or two! From locally produced jams and preserves to printed scarves and stationery, there’s something for everyone – and you might even pick up the perfect gift for someone special. Or for those difficult-to-buy-for friends, the shop sells a selection of Highcliffe Castle gift vouchers.
Highcliffe castle is situated at the eastern edges of Christchurch, a stone’s throw from Avon Beach. The castle has its own car park, which is easily accessible by the A337. The postcode for Satnav users is BH23 4LE.
If you’re looking to public transport, then the 1A bus service stops just outside the grounds and runs between central Bournemouth and New Milton. The closest railway station to Highcliffe Castle is Hinton Admiral Station, which is just one mile away, making for a 20 minute walk or just a few minutes in a taxi. This stop is served by trains from both Bournemouth and Southampton.
A family-friendly farmyard with animals and daily activities, such as feeding.
Looking for a fun day out for the whole family? Longdown Activity Farm is jam-packed full of activities for kids and adults alike, including bottle-feeding baby animals, tractor and trailer rides, competitions and loads more. Meet all your favourite barnyard animals (including pigs, cows, and donkeys) as well as some more unusual species.
An integral part of the local community, Longdown Activity Farm has been giving families a hands-on introduction to farm life for decades.
Longdown is home to a friendly herd of cows. Explore the cow shed and meet various species of cattle including Highland, Jersey, and Friesian Holstein. There are also usually some adorable calves too, who can be bottle-fed by volunteers at set times throughout the day.
The Farm Shop at Longdown Farm stocks a wide array of delicious, locally-sourced meats, game, sausages, and fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as a selection of melt-in-the-mouth cheeses and dairy products, chicken and duck eggs, cakes, bread, ice cream, marinades, and lots more to tempt the tastebuds.
Proud to support local farmers, the Farm Shop is known across the region for selling some of the finest, most delicious foods in the UK. And shopping local is renowned for being better for animal welfare, as well as the environment as a whole.
By car: Located on the edge of the beautiful New Forest National Park, Longdown Activity Farm is just seven miles west of Southampton. The farm is well signposted from all major routes, but for Sat-Nav users the postcode is SO40 7EH.
On foot / cycle: the farm offers facilities to keep bicycles secure during your visit, but it’s worth noting that Deerleap Lane does not have designated footpaths, so take care if cycling or walking to the farm.
By train: the nearest train station is a 30-minute walk from the farm, and is Ashurst, New Forest. When you exit the station, turn right onto the A35 and walk through Ashurst Village. Keep walking until you get to Deerleap Lane. Follow the lane for about 3 minutes, and the farm will be just past the church on your left.
A beautiful maintained garden, country home and miniature railway.
Sitting on the lush green shores of The Solent, Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway offers a quintessentially English escape. Set across this 200-acre woodland estate is a world-famous collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and rare, exotic trees imported from across the globe.
Founded in 1919 by Lionel de Rothschild, the very same family maintains these beautiful and colourful landscapes to the present day. Adding to these century-old scenic walks, a miniature steam railway was installed in 2001 to provide views of previously-inaccessible parts of the grounds.
The architectural centerpiece of the gardens is the Grade II* listed Exbury House. Originally constructed in the 18th century, its quaint facades were reimagined to suit the newly-landscaped gardens in 1927. It was briefly owned by the Royal Navy and used to headquarter the Invasion of Normandy during World War Two, but it’s back in the hands of the Rothschild family today.
With over a mile and half of track, the Exbury Stream Railway is among the most charming examples of a working narrow-gauge railway in Britain. Journeying through the Summer Lane Garden followed by the Rock Garden, the train then calls at Exbury North Station to refuel, while the return journey offers up some wildlife spotting at the Dragonfly Pond. It’s a truly special experience for every member of the family.
Nestled away in the former Estate Smithy, Mr Eddy’s Restaurant and Café serves up delicious fare and tantalizing refreshments. After plenty of time on foot, why not retreat to its cosy interior for a coffee and scrumptious slice of cake? The Exbury Gardens Café caters for all ages too, with children’s lunchboxes and highchairs available on request.
Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway is located to the southern edge of the beautiful New Forest National Park. That puts it right beside the coast and on the doorstep of the village of Beaulieu. If you’re travelling by road, your best exiting at junction 2 of the M27 close to Southampton, and heading south along the A326.
For visitors travelling in by train, the nearest station will be Brockenhurst, which is around 10 miles or a 20 minute taxi ride away. In the summer there is the option of a bus, as the New Forest Open Top Tour connects the station and the gardens seven times daily.
Part of the famous Beaulieu Estate, explore over 280 iconic models and historically significant vehicles.
Hidden away in the beautiful New Forest, Beaulieu’s National Motor Museum draws classic car fans from all over the UK. Home to more than 280 vehicles, including everything from F1 classics to record breakers and the very earliest models, there’s something that’ll fascinate any and every guest.
Whether you’ve a longstanding passion for vintage motors or you’re a total novice, this car museum in the New Forest is not to be missed.
Alongside a near 300-stong collection of cars that date as far back as 1875, there are several other exhibits to enjoy at the National Motor Museum Beaulieu, including:
The National Motor Museum is located in the village of Beaulieu, on the southern edges of the New Forest National Park and just a couple of miles from the shores of the Solent. You’ll need to use a network of A roads to reach the village, but if you’re travelling in via the motorway network, you’ll want to exit at junction 2 of the M27, before following the A326.
If you’re looking to public transport, then the 112 bus runs on select days of the week and connects Lymington with Hythe, stopping outside the Beaulieu Estate halfway along its route. If you’re coming from Southampton, there are frequent ferries from the harbour out to Hythe, where you can then swap for the bus. There’s also the New Forest Tour Bus Services, and the Estate is served by the Green Route, however these only run during the school summer holiday season. The nearest railway station is Brockenhurst Station, just 11 minutes away by taxi.
Set across 140 acres of beautiful South Downs countryside, Marwell Zoo is your gateway to the wonders of the animal kingdom. Home to exotic species from just about every corner of the globe, from lemurs to leopards and gibbons to giraffes, it’s an experience that will wow children and adults alike.
Set across 140 acres of beautiful South Downs countryside, Marwell Zoo is your gateway to the wonders of the animal kingdom. Home to exotic species from just about every corner of the globe, from lemurs to leopards and gibbons to giraffes, it’s an experience that will wow children and adults alike.
The zoo puts great emphasis on its conservation efforts and is owned by a world-renowned animal charity Marwell Wildlife. With a donation to this organisation included in every ticket sale, you’ll be giving something back to nature when you plan your visit.
You can get up close with more than 75 different species on your visit, but some of the most fascinating animals at Marwell Zoo include:
While you can enjoy talks and feeding times each day, there are a selection of special events at Marwell Zoo that run throughout the year. For more information about what’s on when you visit Marwell Zoo, check the official website.
Marwell Zoo sits at the western fringes of the South Downs National Park, close to the village of Colden Common. The nearest city is Winchester, which is only around 7 kilometers away as the crow flies. This puts the zoo a short distance from the M3, which runs between Southampton and London, and you’ll want to exit at junction 11 if you’re arriving this way. The M27 also provides fast access if you’re coming up from Portsmouth.
Those travelling by train can use either Southampton Airport Parkway, Eastleigh or Winchester rail stations, and a taxi can take you to the zoo from each in under 20 minutes. There’s also the option of the M1 bus service between Eastleigh and Marwell Zoo, while in Winchester you can catch the Stagecoach 69 service.
Ine of the region’s most revered sandy stretches, with a state-of-the-art café and viewing area.
On Hampshire’s famous south coast and overlooking the waters of The Solent, Lepe Beach is one of the region’s most loved natural draws. As part of the wider Lepe Country Park, visitors can expect plenty of peace and tranquility along with spectacular views out towards the Isle of Wight on clearer days.
Alongside the golden sands and gentle surf to sink your feet into, a number of facilities are provided at the beach to enhance your day out.
You’ll find Lepe Beach where the New Forest National Park meets The Solent, on the shores 12 kilometres directly south of Southampton. If you’re travelling by car, you’ll need to use a network of A roads to reach the area. The most direct is the A326, which you can join by exiting at Junction 2 of the M27 and travelling south. It’s around 20 minutes’ drive from this junction to the beach.
For those looking to public transport, the number 9 bus regularly runs between central Southampton and stops in Langley, a village that’s 25 minutes’ walk north of the beach. During the school Summer holiday period, the 9 bus extends its route and runs directly down to Lepe Beach.
A charming maritime museum set on the banks of the Beaulieu River.
Nestled on the banks of the Beaulieu River, the idyllic hamlet of Buckler’s Hard has remained unspoilt over the decades. With picturesque Georgian architecture, quaint cottages, and a New Forest backdrop, it’s a beautiful, relaxing place to go for a day trip during your visit to the area.
During WWII, Buckler’s Hard became well known as a motor torpedo base and in 1963 the Buckler’s Hard Maritime Museum opened to serve as a memorial to those lost in the war. These days, Buckler’s Hard is still very much a quintessential British hamlet, with a variety of things to do for the whole family.
Buckler’s Hard pubs and eateries
Buckler’s Hard may be small, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck for somewhere to eat and drink. The hamlet is known throughout the region for its charming eateries, pop into Captain’s Cabin Tea Rooms for a bite to eat and a hot drink. Or if you have a hankering for something stronger, head over to The Yachtman’s Bar and Garden at The Master Builder’s House Hotel for a wide selection of beers, wines and spirits.
Dreaming of a romantic dinner with a view? Book a table at the River View Restaurant and enjoy a fine dining experience in the heart of the forest, overlooking the beautiful Beaulieu River.
Buckler’s Hard Museum
Back in the 18th century, Buckler’s Hard was founded as a port for importing sugar, and since then has flourished into a fascinating village, based around the river. Discover more about the watery history of Buckler’s Hard by visiting the hamlet’s ever-popular Maritime museum, and learn all about the ships, buildings, and people that are part of its history.
Buckler’s Hard River Cruise
Set sail along the glorious Beaulieu River for an experience you’ll never forget. Formerly known as the River Exe, the Beaulieu River is tranquil haven of natural scenery and wildlife, flowing 12 miles through the New Forest. Hop on the Buckler’s Hard River Cruise to see this privately-owned river in all its glory, plus learn about all the fascinating local wildlife that frequents its banks.
Buckler’s Hard river cruises typically operate daily from April to September.
By car: Even though it’s located in the heart of the New Forest, Buckler’s Hard is easy enough to get to. From the M27, exit at junction 2 and follow the signs towards Beaulieu Village, then follow the brown signs to Buckler’s Head.
Post code for Sat Nav users: SO42 7XB.
By train: the closest train station to Buckler’s Head is Brockenhurst. From there it’s a short taxi ride to the hamlet.
After your incredible New Forest days out, you’ll want an equally exciting and beautifully-set base to unwind in. Sandy Balls Holiday Village sits among the woodland pines and offers even more activities to enhance your holiday, such as swimming and cycling. When night comes, you can all cosy up in one of our cabin-style lodges and caravans, with only the sound of the forest to soothe you to sleep.