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A Huge Guide to Things to do in New Forest

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Tree in a forest

Things to do in the New Forest, Brockenhurst and Lymington

The New Forest is the perfect place to find hidden gems in Hampshire. Finding things to do in Brockenhurst and Lymington with the kids can be hard, especially if you don’t know the area very well.

Whether you’re looking for animal attractions in Brockenhurst, adventure near the New Forest or all-weather sightseeing attractions, then this list of things to do in New Forest is for you.

These New Forest attractions are great for the whole family. We’ve covered everything from indoor and outdoor activities throughout the New Forest.

If you are looking for things to do in surrounding towns then have a look at:

The Ultimate Guide to Things to do in Southampton With Kids

The Biggest List of Things to do in Basingstoke With Kids

The Full Guide to Things to do in Portsmouth

Free Things To Do

If you are looking for things to do in Hampshire inside or outside the house then come join our free Resource Vault. It’s packed full of things to do ideas including our free 101 Free Things To Do In Hampshire eBook.

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Outdoor Activities

Three horses in the new forest

These outdoor activities are great for all weathers. Put on your wellies and enjoy a walk through the trees and the leaves or have a picnic with the kids while padding in one of the New Forest’s many rivers.

Walks and Country Parks

If you are looking for country parks across Hampshire then have a look here:

The Full List of Country Parks in Hampshire

The Ultimate List of Walks in Hampshire That Are Child Friendly

Deer Leep

This hidden part of the New Forest is sat right across from the New Forest Wildlife Center. The car park is down a stony trek that looks like someone’s drive and there is loads of free parking. This is great for bike riding as it’s pretty flat over the grassy areas. The path itself is stony is about a 2-hour walk to Lymington. This is a great place to bring the garden games on a nice day or the wellies on a rainy one. It’s completely dog friendly too.

The Cricket Ground

This is a huge area that can get busy in the summer but is great for kids to ride their bikes as the grass is kept low. There is a small river nearby which is great for a paddle in the summer months. The car park does get busy on a dry day.

Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary

Bolderwood is another great place with parking and toilets. If you are really lucky then you may spot some deer wandering in the woods. The path is steep down but it’s still fine for pushchairs. It does get busy during the summer but is great for a walk in the winter.

Ober Water

Ober Water is about a mile circular trail that takes you under tress by the river. It has a good gravel path so perfect for buggy’s.

South Taste Trail

This is about 7 miles but takes you through the village and then off the beaten track into the heart of the forest. Take a picnic and the kids bikes and enjoy a family ride around Brockenhurst.

Black Water

A 1.4 mile route, Black Water has it’s own car park and different trails depending on what kind of walk you desire. You can take the casual route and stroll on firm gravel or take the harder route that the kids will love with two short slops.

Hatchet Pond

Ok, so this is in Beaulieu but it’s a quick drive from Brockenhurst and the New Forest.
It’s a great place to sit and enjoy the local countryside. The pond attracts a load of different animals from birds and ponies to donkeys.

Buckler’s Hard

Voted number 4 on Trip Advisors list of things to do in Brockenhurst, Buckler’s Hard is an extremely scenic location. They have an onsite car park, a historic village and a pub with a view.

Brockenhurst Spy Mission Treasure Trail

Brockenhurst may look like a typical Hampshire town but there are mysteries afoot that need solving fast!
Get to the bottom of what’s going on in this New Forest town by walking around and unravelling clues.
The Brockenhurst Spy Mission Treasure Trail is self guided, buggy and wheelchair friendly and fun for all ages.

The pack can be downloaded from the Brockenhurst Spy Mission Treasure Trail website.

Lymington Treasure Hunt Trail

Great for all ages, come and crack the Lymington Treasure Hunt Trail.

Before you start your mission, download your printable PDF which will give you directions and clues to help you on your mission.

It takes around 2 hours to complete and is self-guided.

Ashurst Wood

Start at Ashurst railway and enjoy this mainly flat route through the ponies and by the timber plantation. Carry on along the road through the lawn or cycle along the paths to the village.

Furzey Gardens

Based near Minstead, Furzey Gardens is great for younger kids. Hunt around the gardens for the fairy doors throughout the forest and leaves. This 10-acre site has a playground, lake and cottage that are all waiting to be explored. 

Leisure activities in New Forest

Lymington Sea Water Baths

If your family loves the water, then Lymington Sea Water Baths is for you! This fully staffed 110m seawater pool has a 12m inflatable obstacle course plus stand up paddleboards as well as kayaks and aqua jousting. Parking is close. Great for school kids and up!

Forest Leisure Cycling

Based in Burley, you can take a ride through the New Forest and experience it like you never have before. With over 300 bikes to hire, they are sure to have whatever you have in mind. There are over 100 miles of winding gravel track across the forest and you’ll be able to benefit from the teams experience and route options. Enjoy an ice cream or cream tea while you’re out as many routes take you past local refreshments. Forest Leisure Cycling is open all week 9am to 530pm.

New Forest Water Park

This water park is epic and great for older kids. With epic views of the New Forest, New Forest Water Park offers inflatables and an obstacle course that will throw you right into the deep end.

They have a great cafe on-site for all meals. Tickets for the aqua park do need to be booked in advance as it is based on timeslots.

You can find New Forest Water Park at Ringwood Road, Fordingbridge, SP6 2EY.

Animal attractions by Brockenhurst

Donkey's in a green field

Burley Manor Riding Stables

Located in Burley near Brockenhurst, Barley Manor Riding Stables helps kids over 4 learn to ride in a peaceful environment.

All riding levels are welcome but you do need to book in advance to secure your place. The staff are very friendly and supportive so it’s an excellent starting point for absolute beginners.

New Forest Reptile Centre

Close to Brockenhurst and Lyndhurst, the New Forest Reptile Centre is great for young and older kids.

There’s nothing fluffy, so if you like your animals to be slithery then the New Forest Reptile Centre is for you.

It has a great selection of snakes, frogs and lizards and holds two of Britain’s most rarest species.

Longdown Activity Farm

7 miles away from Brockenhurst, Longdown Activity Farm is a great place to get down and dirty with the animals.

You can feed, pet and met most the animals throughout the day while letting the kids loose on the trampolines and soft play area.

They have a onsite restaurant, plenty of toilets and benches to eat a picnic.

It’s mostly buggy and wheelchair friendly, but there is a steep hill by the park. You can walk around and use the path by the donkeys if needed.

New Forest Wildlife Park

New Forest Wildlife park is set in 25 acres of the New Forest. The range of animals are enchanting, from fun spirted Asian short-clawed otters to the royal Red Deer.

For big kids, there are sandpits, diggers, slides, climbing frames and swings in the ‘Go Wild’ and ‘Mini Go Wild’ adventure playgrounds.

New Forest Wildlife park is open all year round and has onsite parking, restaurant and picnic benches.

Liberty’s Owl Raptor and Reptile Centre

Liberty’s Owl Raptor and Reptile Centre is close to Ringwood. It has birds of prey including owls, hawks and vultures. They also have a great collection of reptiles. The bird displays are out of this world and it means that you can really see them up-front. This is a great day out for the whole family.

Exbury Gardens

Exbury Gardens has over 200 acres of woodland and is perfect for the whole family to visit for a day out. They have a steam train for younger kids and loads of walks and grounds to enjoy for older kids. Take a picnic in the summer months or enjoy a welly walk on rainy days and enjoy all the winter flowers on offer. 

Indoor New Forest Activities

There are loads of inside activity ideas in the New Forest. These are perfect for cold or wet day. 

Museums near New Forest

Red car with one headlight

For a full list of museums in Hampshire have a look at:

51 Museums in Hampshire That Are Great For All Ages

14 Free Museums in Hampshire For Families

St Barbe Museum and Gallery

Stepped in local history, St Barbe Museum and Gallery is a great place to learn about our coastal region through interactive displays.

Experts help guide you around with speakers, headphones and all sorts of technology making this a great place for all ages.

This free day out is a great way for the whole family to learn about our history. The kids can dress up while learning about being a Shepard or what it was like being a Victorian sailor.

Open Monday to Sunday 10am-4pm, St Barbe Museum and Gallery has a onsite restaurant, parking and is pushchair and wheelchair friendly.

National Motor Museum Beaulieu

Based near the New Forest, Beaulieu is packed full of cars that are steeped in history.

With over 250 vehicles, a high-level monorail and The Palace House and gardens, this is a full day out for the whole family.
The ticket covers all the attractions including the Mini Motor play area and Mill Pond Walk.
They have onsite restaurants, parking and picnic benches. Great for all ages.

Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum

There are many great machines on display at the Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum. See the V8 Moto Guzzi, Velocette, AJS Excelsiors, and 100s more in the Racing Hall, which has one of the most exotic collection of racing bikes in the world!

Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum also has a tearoom, and children’s play area with sturdy outdoor equipment best suited to 3 through 10 years.

The kids can also meet a variety of friendly animals, such as alpacas, sheep, rabbits, donkeys, goats, chickens, and countless other birds, including 2 American turkeys charmingly called Salt and Pepper!

Buckler’s Hard

Buckler’s Hard is a maritime museum that also includes Shopwright’s Cottage and St Mary’s Chapel. This is great for older kids on a rainy day. They also have tea rooms and a garden terrace to enjoy ona nice day.

Rockbourne Roman Villa

Rockbourne Roman Villa is a museum with a difference. Based near Fordingbridge, this archaeological site is home to roman baths, living quarters and farm buildings. Explore the ruins and really get to see what Roman life was like. See mosaics and make your own. You can bring your own picnic in the summer months too. This is a great place to visit in the winter too.

Related Posts: 

Hurst Castle & Ferry

Hurst Castle, near Keyhaven, is a great place to visit for the whole family. The castle itself was built in Tudor times between 1541 and 1544 and is a great place to explore to really find out what it was like to live in the castle in the Tudor times.

Make sure you take a river ride down Keyhaven River which is great for spotting the local wildlife. Together these make a great day out whatever the age of your family or weather.

Breamore House and Museum

Breamore House and Museum in near Fordingbridge in the New Forest. The Countryside Museum is open from April until the end of October. It’s a great place to really get a fill of the numerous crafts and trades that used to sit on the land. This includes a blacksmith, working farm and school.

Laura x

If you enjoyed this post and would like some more ideas on things to do in Hampshire then head over to the Things To Do section here on Things To Do In Hampshire With Kids where you’ll find over 50 day out ideas in Hampshire that the whole family will enjoy. You could also pop over and follow our Facebook page here or our Hampshire days out Pinterest boards for lots more ideas on what you can do as a family in Hampshire; Days Out For The Kids in Hampshire and Cheap and Free Days Out in Hampshire.

Looking for things to do in New Forest? We have covered everything from inside things to do to outside walks and leisure activities by Laura at Things To Do In Hampshire With Kids

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