It’s been called ‘Blue Mind’ – the wonderful effect that you get from being by water – and with more than 40 miles of coast, plus rivers, streams, ponds and lakes here in the magical New Forest, we couldn’t agree more.

The concept of Blue Mind was discussed by marine biologist Wallace J Nichols in his 2014 book of the same name and large-scale population surveys show that people living near the coast tend to have better wellbeing than those living further away.

Image - Visit Milford on Sea

With that in mind, here’s a few ideas from us on how to enjoy these precious benefits in the New Forest.

Start with a little paddle in the Solent– perhaps at the tiny Tanners Beach near Lymington or at Milford on Sea. Or maybe take it up a notch and go for a full on swim in the sea? LepeCalshot, and Barton on Sea are just a few of our beautiful beachesPlease remember, many beaches do not have lifeguards and may be subject to currents or other dangers so you must do your own research and take advice before deciding whether to go in.

Plus we have many wonderful coastal walking routes too, so you can explore miles of our incredible coast while taking a stroll and enjoying some exercise and fresh air. 

Image - Lepe Beach

Remember, too, that you can still derive huge wellbeing benefits by simply being close to water so, for the experience of a lifetime, why not book one of Escape Yachting’s lunchtime or evening sails? Departing from Lymington, you can get involved in sailing their luxury yacht under the guidance of a friendly skipper – or sit back and let the crew do all the work – it’s up to you!

Dream away the hours, relax on deck and sip your welcome glass of champagne – then prepare to eat a luxury lunch or a divine dinner, depending on which package you’d prefer.

Or why not consider a paddleboarding session? The New Forest Paddle Sport Company is based in tranquil Keyhaven and offers a variety of experiences, from exploring the Keyhaven river and salt marshes, to lessons for beginners, to see if you’ll enjoy this popular water activity. (We bet you will!)

Image - The New Forest Paddle Sport Company

You can also kayak the same routes with The New Forest Paddle Sport Company or opt for the Canadian-style canoe and kayak trips along the tranquil Beaulieu River organised by New Forest Activities.

If you really want to create a splash, don’t forget to check out New Forest Water Park at Fordingbridge. They have plenty of amazing things to do, including a giant aqua obstacle course.

Image - New Forest Water Park

Fancy a stay with a sea view? Of course you do, and we have plenty of them! One of our faves is 53 Sea Road in Milford on Sea. This modern beach house has views across the Solent – perfect for a bracing paddle or for beach-side yoga and meditation.

We also have a number of other places which are close to the water, including beautiful Undercastle Cottage at Fordingbridge. It comes with fishing rights plus the opportunity to spot otters right outside your front door.

Image - 53 Sea Road

The Master Builders’ Hotel in Bucklers Hard offers beautiful accommodation, a fabulous menu and the chance to be close to the Beaulieu River. Or, if you want to take the family, Shorefield Country Park at Milford on Sea is close to the coast with comfy accommodation and plenty of things to entertain you and the kids if the weather doesn’t play ball.

Image - The Master Builder's House Hotel

Plan your New Forest visit around our stunning coast and waters and feel relaxed and rejuvenated.

For all our other amazing places to stay plus yet more ideas on how to get close to the water, visit