See & Do
New Forest Towns & Villages
Visitors to The New Forest have the choice of pretty villages in the heart of the forest or bustling seaside towns.
There's a good safe beach in this seaside village, which has outstanding views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight.
Slow down for donkeys and ponies strolling around the narrow streets of this ancient village, best known for the National Motor Museum and Palace House, home to the Montagu family. The village, with tiny shops and a pub, is built around a wide tidal river, attracting all kinds of wildlife.
Small pretty village near Lymington with narrow lanes and a well-preserved 800 year old church.
Piper's Wait, the highest point in The New Forest is near Bramshaw. In the village, visitors can enjoy the church, built over the centuries in a variety of architectural styles.
There's a busy railway station here, the main bus/train interchange in The New Forest. The village itself is peaceful with a pretty green often full of grazing ponies and cattle. Many of the main walks and cycle trails through The New Forest start in Brockenhurst, which is set in some of the loveliest scenery in the district.
Legends concerning dragons, witches and smuggling abound in this traditional village. Today you can go riding on horseback, in a horse-drawn wagon or on cycles. There are also plenty of shops and tearooms here too.
You won't often get a chance to see a working tide mill in action, so it's worth a visit to the old quay where you'll find the Mill and Heritage Centre. There are good walks along the reed-lined river as well.
A small village on the bank's of the Beaulieu River. This is where you'll find the world famous woodland Exbury Gardens with it's steam railway.
The medieval stone bridge with its seven fine arches provides the crossing point in this small ancient town on the banks of the Avon. There are plenty of shops, pubs and cafes to keep you entertained, while children will love the riverside playground.
The Royal Oak pub in this small village on the northern edge of The New Forest is called the forest "parliament".
A train ride along the Victorian pier is a treat before you catch the ferry across to Southampton. You'll get a wonderful view of the great ocean liners coming up Southampton Water and you can enjoy a walk around the old part of Hythe which is full of attractive Victorian and Georgian buildings.
Full of lively shops, Lymington's high street leads to the busy quay and marina where fishing boats and yachtsmen mingle, fresh fish is sold and people come to enjoy the atmosphere. The narrow streets are lined with pretty period cottages and houses. Just out of town is the car ferry to the Isle of Wight.
This village became the natural 'capital' of The New Forest when William the Conqueror established his hunting grounds here. Now there's much to keep you busy, from the museum in the New Forest Visitor Centre to shops, pubs and cafes. Don't miss the grave of the original Alice in Wonderland (Alice Liddell, later Hargreaves) in the churchyard. The imposing building next to the church is Queen's House, headquarters of the Forestry Commission and containing the 14th century Verderers' Hall.
There are wonderful views of the Needles and Christchurch Bay from this seaside village with its shingle beach, a favourite place with sea anglers. There are lots of shops, cafes and pubs in the village which has a traditional green.
You'll find the grave of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the churchyard while inside All Saints Church is an unusual tiered pulpit.
One of the larger towns, New Milton has excellent shops and is close to both the coast and open forest.
For centuries the forest's main market town, with a charter dating back to 1226, Ringwood stands on the western edge of The New Forest at a crossing point of the River Avon. The town has a mixture of modern shops, historic inns and thatched cottages and provides an ideal touring base.