We are all feeling the pinch at the moment and even more so after all the festive activities. However, there are lots of budget-friendly things you can do here in the New Forest so whether you have booked a holiday or fancy some low-cost days out, we have plenty of ideas of what you can see and do here whilst keeping the costs low.
1. Don those walking boots
Our landscape lends itself to some amazing walks. Whether criss-crossing our woodland or navigating your way along our coastal paths. We have walks to suit all abilities so whether you are looking for a short jaunt with a toddler-in-tow or a long-distance hike you can be sure of plenty of choice here! Take a look at our walking pages to find out more.
Image - Walking in the New Forest
2. Check out some of our free attractions
Discover more about the New Forest by visiting the New Forest Heritage Centre in Lyndhurst. Here, you can learn about some of the unique ways of living and traditions of this area. There are also regular art and photography exhibitions. Entry to the New Forest Heritage Centre is free, although donations are welcome.
The peaceful and stunning Furzey Gardens offer a lovely day out. Look for hidden fairy doors, weave your way past native and foreign trees and shrubs and soak up the atmosphere in the tea room. Entry to Furzey is by suggested donation.
Image - Furzey Gardens
Experience ‘A date with nature’ at the New Forest Reptile Centre, near Lyndhurst. Open seasonally (usually from around April-September), the centre offers ‘pods’ where you may get to glimpse at some of the UK’s native snakes and reptiles. Hear from the Rangers about these fascinating animals as well as some of the other flora and fauna of the New Forest.
From building sandcastles on the beach to discovering relics of WWII, Lepe Country Park, near Exbury offers plenty of fun for all ages. Entry to the country park is free, however parking charges apply. Let little ones loose on the adventure playground, fly kites on the cliff top, and explore the wild corners of the park. You can even take part in a seaside scavenger hunt or explore seasonal events and activities. Look out for regular events run throughout the year here too (some are free).
Image - Lepe Country Park
3. Do some nature spotting!
From spotting our New Forest Ponies with their young in the spring months through to looking for the pannage pigs in the autumn – there’s never a dull moment when it comes to nature spotting here in the New Forest!
Keen birders will also love the varying landscapes which lend themselves to the habitats of different species. Nightjars can be found nesting on the heathland in the late spring and the wetlands at Lymington and Keyhaven Marshes Nature Reserve welcome waders and other migrant birds.
Want to see some deer? Park up a Bolderwood car park and take the short stroll down to the Deer Sanctuary. Head to the platform from April to September and you can see the deer being fed by the rangers each day.
Image - Deer in the New Forest
If you would like to learn more about some of the wildlife and nature of the New Forest, then Wild New Forest offer guided nature walks for a reasonable cost.
4. Take a swim (or a paddle) in the sea
Fancy a dip in the sea? Then head to some of the New Forest’s beaches. Barton on Sea, Milford on Sea and Lepe Country Park (see above) are some of the best spots for sea swimming or paddling.
5. Create family memories
If you are visiting with children then the New Forest is a great place to create some amazing family memories. A game of Pooh sticks is a must do when at Puttles Bridge, near Rhinefield, for example!
Take to the trails on bike with the whole family and enjoy our wonderful National Park while discovering beautiful flowers and seeing free-roaming wildlife wandering by.
Image - Family Cycling in the New Forest (Photo credit - New Forest Cycling)
6. Book a camping adventure
A way to save costs on accommodation can be to book a camping trip. Why not go off-grid and ditch the technology for a bit at some of our wild camping sites? Here, you can go back to basics and feel really close to nature. It’s also a great opportunity for a spot of late-night star gazing too! If you don’t fancy going totally without luxury then glamping options can be another alternative. Here, you get all the fun of camping but with added extras!
Image - Avon Tyrrell Camping
7. Check out some of our free or low-cost events
The New Forest has a busy events calendar and although we have some big-name events and festivals, you’ll find many events which are free or low-cost. Take a look at our events listings for details of what’s on when you plan on visiting. Don’t forget to check back as well as events are added all the time.
8. Invest in a Go New Forest Card
To help save you money off a variety of businesses across the New Forest, we’d recommend you purchase a Go New Forest Card.
You’ll find discounts off food and drink, activities, days out, shopping and even accommodation when you use your card. If you are here for a few days, the card will easily pay for itself in the discounts you could save.
The Go New Forest Card can be bought online or from selected retailers across the forest.
Image - Go New Forest Card
To find out more about the New Forest and for other ideas on what you can see and do, explore our website www.thenewforest.co.uk further.