If you are feeling the pinch after Christmas but are still eager to get out and about then we’re on hand to help you with some great ideas for value for money days out here in the New Forest.

With free things to do as well as those that are budget friendly, find out how you can maximise your money here in the New Forest.

Free activities and things to do in the New Forest

It’s easy to have some free days out here in the New Forest as there’s so much of the great outdoors ready to explore. Why not take on one of our beautiful New Forest walks? Choose from ambles in the woodland through to coastal jaunts taking in the views across the Solent. Take a look at our interactive walking routes for some inspiration. Wild New Forest are holding some brilliant Wildlife Explorer Walk throughout the whole of this year - fun guided walks for kids aged 10-16 and they're free to join! 

Bring along your bikes and cycle some of the gravel tracks in an off-road adventure. Take your pick from family-friendly routes to those that will challenge you a little more. If you don’t have your own bikes, then our bike hire centres are on-hand and often run special offers on hire costs during off-peak times.

Winter family cycling

If you’d like to get to grips with the New Forest’s amazing history, then be sure to pop into the New Forest Heritage Centre in the heart of Lyndhurst. Here, you'll find a fascinating museum, reference library, exhibition gallery, gift shop, café and friendly staff to answer all your questions about the New Forest and how to best enjoy it.

Visit the wonderful animals at Hockey's Farm! You will find lovely alpacas, donkeys, piglets, chickens, ducks, sheep and more on site - they also have a lovely cafe and farm shop too, so make sure you visit both while you're there too.

sheep at hockeys farm

Wildlife spotting is one of the great activities you can do here in the New Forest all year round. Look out for some of our famous residents including the New Forest Ponies, the often-cheeky donkeys, cattle and during the autumn months, pigs. A great place to spot deer is at the Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary and between April-September, you can catch the deer being fed by rangers each day. Please remember to follow the New Forest Code and do not touch or feed the free-roaming animals.  And if you are planning to visit during the summer months, then pop along to the New Forest Reptile Centre to learn more about the UK’s native reptiles. Here, you can also see unique wildlife viewed in ‘pods’ at the Centre, such as the reptiles and amphibians native to the New Forest.

Reptile Centre Discovery Trail

Grab your buckets and spades and head to the New Forest’s beaches for some family fun. Build sandcastles on the sandy areas at Barton on Sea or go in search of wildlife along the shoreline at Lepe Country Park.

Travelling around the New Forest by bus

The Government has extended the capped £2 bus fare until December 2024 as a way to help the cost of living crisis. So why not travel into the New Forest from one of the Bluestar buses from Southampton? Bluestar buses 6, 8 and 9 all travel into different places within the New Forest National Park, saving you not only money but benefiting our local environment too.

Save money with the Go New Forest Card

The Go New Forest Card is the official discount card for the New Forest. For just £10, you can unlock a whole host of discounts across the New Forest including money off days out, pubs, coffee shops and off overnight stays too. Check out some of the 2024 offers including money off at New Forest Activities, New Forest Cycling Tours and at the Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum, to name just a few. Purchase your Go New Forest Card today to save £s.

2024 Go New Forest CardFree and great value events

Look out for a whole host of events taking place across the New Forest this year by keeping an eye on our events listings. There are often free or low-cost activities for families during school holidays, free exhibitions and events that won’t break the bank.

Although admission charges apply, we would recommend heading to some of our larger shows too as these can offer great value for money, with plenty to see and do making a full day out. Plus, shows such as the New Forest & Hampshire County Show often offer discounted, early bird tickets.

Want to know more?

Find out more about free days out in the New Forest, keep an eye on our special offers for discounts and savings on days out and activities and keep checking our events listings for what’s going on in the New Forest; events are added regularly.