Here in the magical New Forest, our problem isn’t finding the top ten beauty spots, it’s whittling them down to just the ten. However, from beaches to beech woodland, from heathland to hilltops, we think we’ve done it! See if you agree…
1. Blackwater, Rhinefield – From the unmissable Giant Sequoias to the famous Douglas Firs, this wonderful area of the New Forest has a lot to offer. You’re bound to see a pony roaming the paths or a deer hiding in the deep forest.
2. Exbury Gardens - One guest described these internationally-renowned gardens as ‘heaven with the gates open’ and if you visit Exbury Gardens in the spring, when the Rothschilds’ outstanding collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and rare trees are in bloom, you’ll understand why. Autumn and summer are just as grand!
3. Soarley Beeches – Just south east of Brackley Inclosure, near Bolderwood, you’ll find a stand of some of our finest ancient beech trees. These majestic trees are our version of St Paul’s Cathedral, precious, beautiful and home to millions of living organisms. They offer year-round wonder – from their dark silhouettes against the winter snow, to the flaring orange of autumn, and the deepening greens of spring.
4. Rockford and Ibsley Commons - The beautiful commons and heaths at the National Trust’s Rockford and Ibsley Commons are two of the best commons in the New Forest. Located in the north of the forest, take a walk between the two and discover some brilliant history along the way, including the Huff Duff! If you want to meditate on a view or watch the sun rise or set, this is the perfect spot to do it.
5. Frogham – With a viewpoint that’ll take your breath away, you have to have a visit to Frogham! The high location makes for a wonderful outlook across incredible heathland and grassland, it’s also a great place for spotting lots of free roaming animals!
6. Tanners Lane Beach - It’s where the New Forest ponies like to take their holidays, and no wonder. This minuscule scrap of beach at the end of Tanners Lane near Lymington can only be approached on foot or by bike and, if you time it right, it’ll be just you, the sea and the sky. More than just the view, it’s beauty for the ears, too, as there are times when it’s almost silent.
7. Beaulieu Mill Pond – Swans? Check. Ducks? Check. Donkeys? Usually! From the moment you catch your first glimpse of the Mill Pond you’ll understand why it’s on our list! With beautiful wildlife in and surrounding the pond, and views across the Pond of the quaint village of Beaulieu and Palace House. And the beauty continues up the Beaulieu River, too, where you can walk, book a boat trip or paddle.
8. The tip of Hurst Spit – it may be a bit of a walk, especially if the wind’s blowing. But, if you keep going to the very end, you’ll be rewarded with breath-taking views of the Isle of Wight, so near you feel you could touch it. It’s also a marvellous place to view any liners which are about, as well as the annual Round the Island Yacht Race, when the waters are filled with boats in full sail.
9. Bolderwood – There is no where better to see the majestic deer in the New Forest than at Bolderwood. With a viewing platform and daily feeds, you don’t want to miss out on the chance of seeing these magical creatures so close up (as usually they are hiding away!). And with deep forest, open heathland and a lovely picnic area here too, it’s a great place to relax in the New Forest.
10. Lepe Country Park and Beach – It’s easy to understand why Lepe Country Park and Beach is popular with both those visiting and those living in the New Forest. With a mile of amazing, spacious beach, wildflower meadows, woods, pine fringed cliffs and historic D-Day remains, it’s a wonderful place to be and watch the world go by.