New Forest attractions
- the main things to see and do within the National Park
Apart from the natural New Forest attractions, there is also a good variety of places such as museums and historical buildings to see, spread throughout the National Park area.
This page lists the main attractions found in and around the New Forest (both natural and otherwise) along with the relevant opening times, admission prices (where appropriate) and brief summary of the attraction.
For further information on any of the New Forest attractions listed below, use the links provided to either learn more about that particular attraction through this website or to visit the official site.
The attractions are listed in alphabetical order, not importance or size!
- 10.00am - 5.00 pm - 1st October to 1st June
- 10.00am - 6.00 pm - 2nd June to 30th September
- Closed Christmas Day
- Adult £20.00
- Child 5 - 12 yrs £9.95
- Youth 13 - 17 yrs £12.00
- Family £52.50
- Senior Citizens £18.50
Location: Towards the south-eastern corner of The New Forest, around 15 minutes drive from Lyndhurst centre.
Telephone: 01590 612345
Remarks: The area's premier attraction. Admission tickets include access to 3 places - the world famous Beaulieu Motor Museum, the Palace House and the Abbey. A full day out and shouldn't be missed.
- 1st October 2012 to 28th March 2013: 10.00am - 4.30am
- 29th March 2013 to 30th September 2013: 10.00am - 5.30pm
- Adult £6.20
- Child / youth £4.40 (ages 5-17 inc.)
- Family £18.00
- Senior Citizens £5.80
- Annual pass £10.00
Location: 2 miles south of Beaulieu on the edge of the Beaulieu River.
Telephone: 01590 612624
Remarks: Historic 18th century village and shipbuilding yard on the edge of Beaulieu River. Cruises and guided walks available. A nice place to spend half a day.
Calshot Activity Centre
- All day every day, times vary depending on the activity
- No admission fee into the centre, but each activity has its own cost
Location: Calshot Spit, Fawley, in the eastern most point of the New Forest National Park.
Telephone: 02380 892077
Remarks: Worth looking at if you're in the area for a while and are interested in activity courses, particularly watersport based ones. Centre also features an indoor cycle track, artificial (Snowflex) ski slope and rock-climbing wall.
- Saturday 9th March to Sunday 3rd Nov, daily 10am - 5.00pm (last admission).
- Adults £11.00
- Children under 3 yrs free
- Children 3-15 yrs free
- Family £22.00 (2 adults + 3 children)
- Senior Citizens £10.50
- Groups £10.00 (15+ people)
- Additional charge for Exbury Railway
- Combination tickets (gardens + buggy or rail) available.
Location: Exbury ,south-eastern corner of the National Park, 3 miles south-east of Beaulieu towards Lepe Country Park.
Telephone: 02380 891203
Remarks: Excellent public gardens on the edge of the Beaulieu River. Miniature railway within the grounds. Allow a good half day for a relaxing visit.
- Daily all year, 10am - dusk. Gallery & tea rooms daily March - October, 10am-5pm.
- Adults £7.00
- Children (4-16yrs) £4.00
- Family (2+3) £19.50
- Groups of 10-20 people less 10%
- Disabled visitor and helper free
Location: Minstead, best found from the westbound A31 (turn at Malwood Hill) or from the A337 Cadnam-Lyndhurst road.
Telephone: 02380 812464
Remarks: Small but very worthwhile public gardens set in the heart of the rural New Forest. Allow a good half day for a relaxed visit.
Hurst Castle (museum) and Spit
- April to September: daily, 10.30am - 5.30pm
- October: daily, 10.30am - 4.00pm
- November to March: weekends only, 10.30am - 4.00pm
- Adults £4.20
- Children £2.50
- Concession £3.70
- Free to English Heritage members
Location: Hurst Castle Spit, the southernmost point of the New Forest National Park.
Telephone: 01590 642344
Remarks: A great place for a walk and to take in some Solent air. Spectacular views of The Solent and Isle Of Wight, particularly The Needles. A relaxing walk around Hurst Castle Museum will take around an hour. If you don't fancy the long walk along the spit, there is a short ferry crossing to the museum from Keyhaven.
Liberty's Reptile and Raptor Centre
- 10am - 5pm March to October
- 10am - 4pm Weekends only from November-February
- Adults £8.95
- Children 5-15yrs £5.95
- Family (2+2) £27.50
- Senior citizens £7.95
Location: Crow Lane, Ringwood.
Telephone: 01425 476487
Remarks: The best place in the National Park to see birds of prey, owls, snakes, lizards and more. Talks and displays of falconry are held daily throughout the day, so you should be able to catch at least one of these. Allow a couple of hours, more to take in some of the shows.
Longdown Activity Farm
- 16th February to 3rd November, 10am - 5pm.
- Adults £8.50
- Children (3 - 14 yrs) £7.50
- Family (2+2) £30.00
- Senior Citizens £7.00
- Serving military £6.00 (ID card required).
- Group prices available (see website).
Location: Deerleap Lane, Longdown, off the A35 towards Southampton from Ashurst.
Telephone: 023 8029 2837
Remarks: A perfect attraction for a family with younger children. A working farm that allows 'hands-on' activities. Caters for birthday parties and there is also a farm shop on the premises. Allow at least half a day.
New Forest Wildlife Park
- Spring/Summer: every day 10.00am - 5.30pm. Last entrance 4.30pm
- Autumn/Winter: every day 10.00am - dusk. Last entrance approximately 3.00pm
- Adults £9.95
- Children (3 - 16 yrs) £6.95
- Family (2+2 or 1+3) £29.50
- Seniors (over 60) £8.95
- Disabled/special needs adult £8.95; Disabled/special needs child £5.95 (Carers FREE)
Location: Deerleap Lane, Longdown, off the A35 towards Southampton from Ashurst.
Telephone: 02380 292408
Remarks: Medium sized conservation centre caring for many of Europe's native species of animal, including otters, owls, badgers, pole cats, mink, foxes, Scottish wild cats and deer. A great educational half-day out for any animal lover.
New Forest Museum
- 10am - 5pm, 7 days a week
- Closed over Christmas
- Adult £4.00
- Concessions (children, seniors, students) £3.00
- Accompanied 16 year olds and under go free
Location: At the eastern end of the main car park in Lyndhurst (the car park is straight off Lyndhurst High Street).
Telephone: 02380 283444
Remarks: A great place to start your New Forest visit is this official Museum and Visitor Centre. Includes detailed Forest information, picture gallery, library and gift shop. Allow an hour.
- Park open from 10am but check website for 2012 timetable.
- Adult/child 1metre+ £25.50 at gate / £22.50 internet
- Children under 1 metre Free
- Family of 3 £74.00 at gate / £65.00 internet
- Family of 4 £98.00 at gate / £86.00 internet
- Family of 5 £122.50 at gate / £107.50 internet
- For other ticket options (groups, 2-day etc.), see website.
Location: Ower, on the Southampton-side edge of the National Park boundary. Easiest access is from Junction 2 of the M27 motorway.
Telephone: 02380 814442
Remarks: The area's only major Theme Park. Admission includes access to a good mix of over 50 rides and attractions, all in a very pleasant garden setting. Get there for 'gates open' if you want to see it all, but busy times might force you to return on a 'second day' pass.
Other New Forest attractions & places of interest within the National Park
Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary
Location: Approximately 3 miles west of Lyndhurst at the northern end of the Bolderwood Ornamental Drive.
Remarks: About the most popular of the free New Forest attractions. A very pleasant area with graded walks through the giant Redwood trees. Viewing platforms overlook the fenced areas where a number of fallow deer are kept. Rangers feed the deer at 2pm everyday, but deer sightings aren't guaranteed.
Read more about Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary.
Bolderwood Arboretum Ornamental Drive
Location: Runs from the A35 to Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary. Access from the A35 is 2 miles from Lyndhurst.
Remarks: A scenic drive on a fairly narrow tree-lined road that can get rather crowded during the summer months. A nice road to cycle on and there are several car parks and walks along the way. Continues into Rhinefield Ornamental Drive across the A35.
Location: Eastern side of Lyndhurst.
Remarks: A small sized but major New Forest attraction. Open grassy lawns and the proximity to Lyndhurst town centre make Bolton's Bench a popular place to come and relax.
Read more about Bolton's Bench.
Location: At the southern end of Bolderwood Arboretum Ornamental Drive. The car park is on the right, very soon after turning off the A35.
Remarks: The largest oak in the New Forest and probably the oldest, thought to be around 400 years old. The tree is now fenced off from the public, but it's a pleasant spot for a walk and worth seeing if you find yourself on the Ornamental Drive.
Read more about the Knightwood Oak.
Lepe Country Park
Location: Lepe, adjoining Calshot Spit on the south-eastern coastline of the National Park.
Remarks: The most popular of the coastal New Forest attractions, Lepe is a pleasant place to relax and take in excellent views of the Solent and Isle Of Wight. The main park area is open grass, fronted by a long shingle beach with cafeteria and small information centre.
Free to visit other than the normal car parking charges.
Read more about Lepe Country Park.
New Forest Reptile Centre
Location: Approximately 2 miles west of Lyndhurst at Holidays Hill, on the A35.
Remarks: A small but very worthwhile attraction where you can see all species of the snakes, lizards, frogs and toads that can be found in the Forest. The animals are in open-air pens and it's best to go on a warm day, when there's more chance of the animals basking in the sun.
Read more about the New Forest Reptile Centre
Rhinefield Ornamental Drive
Location: Runs from the A35 to Brockenhurst. Access from the A35 is 2 miles from Lyndhurst.
Remarks: Passes Rhinefield House Hotel and is best seen in May/June when the huge rhododendron bushes are in flower. Access to Rhinefield Arboretum with several nice walks.
Read more about Rhinefield Ornamental Drive.
Location: Canterton Glen, just off the A31 eastbound before Junction 1 of the M27 motorway.
Remarks: A stone marking the spot where King William (Rufus) II was killed by an arrow in 1100AD, either accidentally or otherwise. The pub 100 metres away takes its name from the nobleman who allegedly shot the arrow, Sir Walter Tyrell.
Read more about the Rufus Stone.