Summer comes just once a year and there’s still time to have your best one yet – by grabbing a last minute summer break in the beautiful New Forest.
Imagine being able to explore more than 140,000 acres of heathland and forests, with trees so old, they date back to Tudor times. Treat yourself to a little forest bathing; taking in the sights, sounds and scents of this unique part of the world, where more than 5,000 ancient-breed ponies and donkeys still roam and wander.
Image - Bramble and Beach Photography
Or challenge yourself to a long distance walk - the 30-mile Avon Valley Path from Salisbury to Christchurch is great for this. Prefer two wheels to two legs? Around 98 per cent of our cycle routes are off-road and will take you to the kind of places that car drivers never see.
Along with the jaw-dropping beauty of the New Forest’s interior, we also have a ‘secret coast’ - more than 40 miles of quiet beaches and shoreline. From Calshot and Lepe on our eastern tip, to Barton on Sea and Milford on Sea, you’ll find some excellent bathing spots as well as places to launch your paddleboard or kayak.
If you’re looking to re-wild your kids this summer, there is nowhere better than the New Forest because so many of the activities they can enjoy are free!
From wildlife spotting to tree-climbing and beach-combing, there are endless ways to get them involved with nature. Wake them up early and watch the sunrise. Or wait up late and gaze into the night sky. Nearly 90 per cent of the skies above the New Forest National Park fall in the three darkest categories, which means it’s the ideal place to star gaze – you might even catch your first glimpse of the Milky Way or the Perseid meteor shower, which takes place during late July and August.
A late summer break will also give you the opportunity to release your inner David Attenborough because we’re one of the UK’s largest Sites of Special Scientific Interest, packed with wildlife; from magnificent Red deer, to owls, foxes and rare lizards.
Create your own safari by taking the New Forest Tour, which operates a fantastic open top bus tour experience on three routes. Travel a little further afield to Marwell Zoo near Winchester and you’ll be able to see all manner of endangered and exotic creatures, roaming in outdoor pens.
While you’re with us, use your break to visit Paulton’s Park, voted the UK’s favourite family theme park. They have more than 70 rides to suit all ages, from tots to teens, and they are also home to the UK’s only Peppa Pig World.
Don’t forget, too, that you can book adventures for older kids and adults at our amazing New Forest activity providers. Ever wondered what it must be like to fly through a tree canopy on a zip wire, or to wobble your way across a rope bridge? Book an adventure day at Avon Tyrrell Outdoor Centre and you’ll wonder no more. Or try your luck at the New Forest Water Park near Fordingbridge – two giant water-based obstacle courses for you to enjoy, plus plenty of other watersports.
If you’re here over August 5 and 6 you can hit the New Forest Food Festival, taking place at Hinton Admiral on the Forest’s western side. Come earlier still – from July 14-16 and you can join the annual Lymington Seafood Festival, which will be showcasing the amazing producers we have in this part of the world.
Did we mention that the New Forest is a foodie’s paradise? From 5* restaurants, to cafes selling sumptuous cakes, colossal cream teas and excellent pub grub, you’ll never go hungry in this part of the world. Look for local produce too and you’ll be helping producers and farmers as well as treating yourself to some of the best food around.
Experience ultimate comfort and stay in one of our wonderful boutique hotels. Whether you’re craving 5* luxe, a hip haven or a spa retreat, the magical New Forest has it all.
The warmth and mostly dry weather so far means that this could be the perfect year to try camping. We have dozens of beautiful campsites, ranging from those with every facility you could wish for – think indoor and outdoor pools, sports opportunities and kids clubs – to the ultimate in natural stays.
If you don’t fancy nights under nylon, check out our selection of glamping venues, from trad bell tents, to teepees, to shepherd huts, cabins and pods.
If you’re bringing your camper van, you may want to look at some of our most natural sites, where there are no showers or toilets, just places for you to pitch and park, overlooking the beautiful views.
And, whether your visit is short or long, don’t forget that our beautiful B&Bs, holiday parks and self-catering cottages are also waiting to welcome you for a last-minute break, so take a look at our website for all of the awesome places to stay in the New Forest!
Wherever you decide to stay, and whatever you plan to do for some unforgettable days in the New Forest, you’ll be sure to have an incredible time in the great outdoors. Book your break today!