Yippee! It’s nearly the Summer Holidays (or if you’re lucky, you might be on them already!)… and where better to spend the 6 weeks holidays with your family than in the New Forest? Staycations are the perfect way to get away this year to create some unforgettable summer memories, and after a different and sometimes difficult few months with home schooling, everyone will need to get away! The New Forest is full of brilliant family friendly places to stay, things to do, locations to explore and places to eat.
From hotels with creches, games rooms and specially decorated bedrooms for the kids, to holiday parks with fantastic onsite activities and entertainment for the whole family, plus family friendly bed & breakfasts, self catering cottages and campsites, you definitely won’t be stuck for a place to stay! Take a look at New Park Manor, where the happiness of every member of the family is very important. This gorgeous country hotel is stylish, comfortable and full of character, yet they put the children first, with daily activities, a cinema room, fun child’s bedrooms and fantastic menus for the little ones in their onsite restaurant. Other hotels with great child friendly facilities include Bartley Lodge Hotel, Balmer Lawn, Forest Park Hotel, Passford House Hotel and loads more. Our wonderful holiday parks include Shorefield Country Park, Sandy Balls Holiday Village and Hoburne Bashley, all with amazing onsite activities, some including indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, table tennis and even archery. There are other fabulous holiday parks in the New Forest too.
A brilliant way to stay as a family is camping out amongst our wonderful nature and wildlife in the New Forest! There are lots of campsites that are open this summer and are ready to welcome you to stay, these include Green Hill Farm, Long Meadow, New Park Farm Camping, Chapelfield Camping, Shamba Holidays and more. Some campsites only operate for specific dates during the summer, so ensure you check to see when you can book before you plan your holiday.
Enjoy a distanced holiday, with your very own self-catering cottage or apartment for the family. The New Forest is home to a huge range of different self-catering properties, with large gardens, perfect for the kids to run around in, lovely living spaces and in brilliant locations, with easy access to the forest and our secret coast. Or stay in a lovely bed and breakfast, with a warm welcome, cosy bedrooms and a delicious local produce breakfast to start your days off!
Whichever type of accommodation you choose, make sure you plan ahead and book before you travel! And book direct for the best rate, and if you book with those businesses who are part of Book Direct The New Forest, as well as the best rate guaranteed you will also receive another treat, which may include use of a Go New Forest Card, giving you access to hundreds of discounts and offers at businesses around the forest and even a welcome hamper or a free breakfast.
Once you’ve sorted your accommodation, you’ll want to start planning your days out in the New Forest. Of course, you don’t want to miss out seeing our magical woodland, heathland, especially our bright heather during the summer months, and our free roaming animals, including our famous New Forest ponies, cattle, donkeys and even pigs and sheep. The perfect way to experience the pure beauty of our National Park is on a walk, whether you fancy a short stroll or a long adventure, we have lots of suggested walking routes for you and your family dotted around the New Forest. Make sure you visit our secret coast while you’re here too! Enjoy a stroll along the promenade or set your family up for a day of relaxing on the beach and splashing in the sea.
Take on the forest on 2 wheels and enjoy a refreshing bike ride along our paths. Bring your bikes along with you, or hire some from our brilliant cycle hire shops in the forest, including Forest Leisure Cycling in Burley, Cyclexperience in Brockenhurst and The Woods Cyclery in Lyndhurst, where you can hire adults mountains bikes, electric bikes, children’s bikes and some of our cycle hire shops even have children’s seats and tag-a-longs available to hire too. Hop on the bikes, start pedaling and explore some of the 140 miles worth of approved off-road cycle tracks in the forest waiting for you!
As well as walking and cycling, there are lots of other activities for you and your family to take part in, try and enjoy in the New Forest. Explore the beautiful Beaulieu River in a canoe or a kayak with New Forest Activities, take on the coast on a paddleboarding adventure with The New Forest Paddle Sport Company, bounce around on the huge aqua park at New Forest Water Park, compete in archery, axe throwing or crossbows with Insight Activities or climb through the trees and fly across the zip wire at Avon Tyrrell Outdoor Activity Centre. Take a family tour of the New Forest and choose how you’d like to do so, take a private tour with New Forest Platinum Tours, hop onboard the amazing New Forest Tour bus or do it more traditionally on a horse drawn wagon ride with N&J Heavy Horses.
Keep the whole family entertained at our incredible visitor attractions! Whether you’re a family of thrill-seekers, petrol heads, gardeners or animal lovers, you will all be sure to have a memorable day out in the forest. From the magnificent Paultons Park, Home of Peppa Pig World, to Adventure Wonderland, where you can ride rollercoasters, meet the famous characters around the parks, whizz around in teacups and have loads of fun. Visit some of the finest collections of vehicles at the world famous National Motor Museum in Beaulieu or Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum or learn about the history of some parts of the New Forest at Hurst Castle, Breamore House, Rockbourne Roman Villa and Eling Tide Mill. Wander around gorgeous flowers, plants and trees at our fabulous garden attractions in the New Forest, including 200-acre Exbury Gardens and the magical Furzey Gardens, or meet some furry friends at local farms and even animals from all over the world at Longdown Activity Farm, Hockeys Farm, New Forest Wildlife Park and nearby Marwell Zoo. Interactively learn more about the heritage of the New Forest and our wonderful towns, villages and coast at the New Forest Heritage Centre and St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery.
Make sure you also check out our events calendar for some great events that are taking place this summer, all at a social distance. Including lots of brilliant ‘Simply’ car rallies at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu and Lymington Seafood Festival taking place on August Bank Holiday Weekend, where you can try, buy and enjoy a day of local food and drink while chilling by the coast.
Support our local food and drink businesses while you’re in the New Forest too and feed those hungry tums. We are famous for our huge selection of traditional country pubs here in the forest, from thatched roofs, beautiful gardens and rustic décor inside, they complete the real New Forest experience. Try some of our local drinks, including ales from Ringwood Brewery (for the adults!), and delicious pub classics, there’s even great menus for the little ones too. Try lots of different cuisines at restaurants in the New Forest, including Italian, French and Indian, making for great places for everyone to eat something different than usual! And make sure you visit our quaint cafes and tea rooms in the forest, for a tasty breakfast, brunch or lunch, or just for a lovely cup of tea and slice of homemade cake. The majority of eateries in the New Forest try to use local produce where possible, including vegetables, fruit, flour, meat and herbs. Speaking of local produce, buy some to take home with you, head to Burley where you can try and buy delicious homemade fudge from Burley Fudge Shop or apple juice and cider from New Forest Cider. Or enjoy a couple of hours picking your own strawberries, raspberries or other seasonal fruit and vegetables at Cat and Fiddle Pick Your Own or Sopley Farm Pick Your Own.
If you want to bring the whole family along, including your pooches, there are lots of fantastic dog friendly places to stay, eat and play in the New Forest, and the forest is a doggy paradise, so they’d definitely enjoy the staycation too.
Remember to always plan ahead and book before you travel, including accommodation, most attractions and activities and also some pubs, restaurants and cafes too. Check out each businesses new rules and regulations before you visit too, that are in place for your safety and always social distance when you’re out and about.
We ask for all visitors to be forest friendly as well and follow the New Forest Code, including keeping your distance from our free roaming animals, picking up and taking your litter home, parking only in forest car parks and not on the verges and in front of gates. Please also note that fires and bbqs aren’t allowed in the New Forest, due to the forest being on high fire risk and wild camping and overnight parking is also not permitted in the New Forest.
How ever you choose to spend your summer in the New Forest, you are guaranteed to have a magical experience and a holiday you will never forget with your family!