The New Forest in Hampshire is a region known all over the world for its breathtaking natural scenery and rich variety of forest types. A variety of charming towns and villages provide welcome breaks from the wilderness.
There are likely to be many exciting tourist destinations, important historical sites, delicious restaurants, exciting outdoor adventures, and charming boutiques to explore. The New Forest is full of hidden treasures.
Below is a list of the most important towns and villages in the New Forest:
Beaulieu is one of the most picturesque towns in the New Forest, and its name is a fitting tribute to its attractive setting. This picturesque hamlet is on the banks of the ephemeral Beaulieu River in the southeast corner of the New Forest. There is a wealth of ancient structures to admire, and some of the nearby sights make for a pleasant day trip.
Motoring Museum And Estate In Beaulieu
The Beaulieu Automotive Museum and Estate is a top tourist destination in the New Forest. The Palace House is the main edifice at the site that was formerly home to Beaulieu Abbey, a Cistercian abbey established in 1204 by King John. You may take a tour of The Palace House and the Abbey ruins every day of the year.
You’ll need a whole day to see the Beaulieu Motor Museum and Estate, but it’s well worth the trip if you have even a passing interest in automobiles, history, or architecture. In addition, there is a lot for kids to do, including a mini-railway and a play park. The estate welcomes visitors all year round.
Buckler’s Hard, an 18th-century shipbuilding community, is a tranquil retreat further upstream on the River Beaulieu. The Maritime Museum on the premises features scale models depicting the hamlet as it appeared during its heyday, which will fascinate history buffs.
The Eurylus, the Swiftsure, and the Agamemnon, the personal favorite of Admiral Nelson, were all constructed here and participated in the Battle of Trafalgar (1805).
Take a cruise along the river to experience the enchantment of the riverbanks, which are home to a wide variety of plants and animals (especially wintering waders and wildfowl).
Between Beaulieu village and Buckler’s Hard, there is a delightful 2.5-mile stroll that passes through woods, along gorgeous riverbanks, and through tidal salt marshes. This well-marked hike begins close to the Montagu Arms and is a segment of the Solent Way.
Get some bicycles from New Forest Adventures and go for a spin through the forest. The Old Forge, which is located on the High Street, is where most of the fun stuff goes down. As there are a lot of excellent paths in and around Beaulieu, it provides a wonderful assortment of maps from which to draw inspiration.
Some unique stores, like the deliciously named Beaulieu Chocolate Studio, can be found along the village’s charming main street. The wonderful Fairweather’s Garden Centre is conveniently located nearby. If you’re in the area for lunch, stop by Steff’s Kitchen.
This yachting paradise, known for its colorful and busy cobblestone alleys at the estuary of the Lymington River, is one of the most well-liked settlements in the New Forest.
Georgian architecture lines the Main Street and side streets because the local nobility got rich because of salterns and boatbuilding. During the centuries and until the present day, both industries have molded the city.
St Barbe Museum And Art Gallery
Lymington and the New Forest shoreline are studied at the St. Barbe Museum & Art Gallery. The exhibits span the area’s prehistoric to modern eras, and the museum’s art galleries routinely feature pieces on loan from other museums around the country.
The museum has the backing of the community and provides a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages through its exhibits and interactive displays.
Founded in the 1780s, Lymington Lido (or Lymington Sea Water Baths) rose to prominence in the 1830s when its visitors discovered the restorative benefits of the salt plains’ mud and water. In modern times, it has become a popular destination for social gatherings and relaxation.
Keyhaven Nature Reserve Walk
From beyond the marina, there is a clearly designated walk along the shore that leads to Keyhaven Natural Reserve. Lagoons, reed beds, salt marshes, and mud flats provide a natural sanctuary throughout the walk.
There are several endangered plant species that thrive there, and a large variety of birds use the area as a source of food and cover. This path offers stunning vistas of the Island of Wight and The Solent.
The quaint community of Brockenhurst, whose name means “Badger’s Wood,” can be found a few miles south of Lyndhurst in some of the most beautiful woodland areas you’ll ever see.
The New Forest ponies and donkeys of this settlement are famous across the New Forest, and it is not uncommon to have to “shoo” them away so that you may make your way to Tesco.
There are a number of great places to eat and drink in Brockenhurst, as well as unique stores and warm cafes. Around Brockenhurst, in the month of July, you may visit the New Forest and Hampshire County Show.
Brockenhurst is a great site to set up camp for your next New Forest vacation because of its proximity to major highways and convenient access to a mainline train route.
SenSpa at Carey’s Manor offers the perfect opportunity for a relaxing break from your other New Forest activities. Perhaps you deserve a reward.
Rhinefield Ornamental Drive
The Rhinefield Ornamental Drive is a lovely path that connects Brockenhurst with the A35. Don’t forget to carry your camera as you go down this road lined with flowering shrubs and towering trees.
Stroll Towards Balmer Lawn
Balmer Lawn is a great place to go for a stroll. Here and in the surrounding Standing Hat Woods, you may find the beginnings of several of the local trails.
The New Forest is a lovely spot to visit and see the native ponies. You should use the short, circular path, which is accessible to people of all fitness levels.
Lyndhurst, located in the center of the New Forest, is one of the most picturesque communities in the region. There are several nice places to eat and shop, and the New Forest Centre is a great place to learn about the area’s rich history and culture.
The New Forest Centre is also home to a welcoming and informative visitor center for the area. Make the most of your vacation by checking out the local markets, events, and maps that can be found there.
The New Forest Wildlife Park, located in the adjacent community of Ashurst, is also well worth a visit due to its 25 acres of pristine forest. See wolves, wallabies, and bison up close, and get up and personal with three distinct types of deer.
Leave Lyndhurst for the short journey to the bird-filled Pondhead Inclosure. You’ll go via White Moor’s undulating heathland and have a view of Longwater Lawn over the swamp on your way there.
In the picturesque community of Burley in the New Forest, semi-wild ponies and cattle are allowed to roam the streets at liberty, upholding a custom that dates back a thousand years.
The community is perfect for an active vacation with the whole family; just rent bikes at the local cycle shops or explore the various nearby hiking paths.
You may rent bikes and get started on your Burley biking journey at Forest Leisure Cycling. You may be out exploring the woods in no time at all, thanks to your proximity to the National Park’s trail system. Burley is a great spot to explore on two wheels any time of year.
Attractions And Shops
The hamlet has several nice gift stores to peruse if you find yourself with a spare few hours. With the region’s intriguing history with witchcraft, you may expect to come across many artifacts and souvenirs with a witchy theme.
If you’re looking for a luxurious way to experience the New Forest, you can take a trip in one of the Burley Wagons, which will take you on a 20-minute or 1.5-hour tour of the forest as you look out for the semi-wild New Forest ponies and deer.
Ashurst is a beautiful village located about 6 miles north of Southampton on the border of the New Forest National Park. It is conveniently located halfway between the shore and the country and is widely recognized as the entrance to the New Forest.
It’s ideal for a relaxing getaway from the bustle of the city, with its abundance of bars, restaurants, and shops, as well as its proximity to excellent walking paths.
Located in the picturesque town of Longdown, about two miles from Ashurst, lies the Longdown Activity Park, a family-run farm. Take a tractor ride around the farm, visit Farmer Bryan’s Chicken Site, and bottle feed the piglets, goat babies, and calves.
You may also get up and personal with lynx, owls, otters, and wolves at the New Forest Wildlife Park near Longdown. If you’d rather have a scaly experience, the New Forest Reptile Centre is conveniently located nearby.
A Walk In The Woods
The community spreads out into woodland, heathland, marshes, and the picturesque Beaulieu River, in addition to the woods that surround it. Keep an eye out for the alder and birch groves, which are home to a wide variety of animals, including squirrels, birds, and even the occasional wild pony.
Even if you’re not much of a walker, you can still enjoy the outdoors in this region by making use of the many paths and tracks that cater to people of varying fitness levels and interests.