With some experts calculating that our average time on Planet Earth is just 4,000 weeks, it’s no surprise that so many of us have a Bucket List of things we want to see and do before it’s time to go.

Bucket Lists help us focus on what’s really important to us but the ideas on them don’t have to be grandiose or even cost money.

That’s why we’ve compiled a special one just for you - 15 unique experiences you can enjoy, right here in the magical New Forest.

And, with the long days and warm nights of summer finally with us, there’s no better time to start ticking off your New Forest Bucket List before the autumn beckons.


  1. See the New Forest ponies – Take the train to Brockenhurst or Beaulieu Road and wander onto lonely Yew Tree Heath and around to the Drift Inn, a popular stopping-off place for our world-famous roaming ponies. Other secret spots are the bend in the middle of Beaulieu village, Brockenhurst Watersplash, and Hatchet Pond although, because of their nature and number – around 5,000 – New Forest ponies can be found anywhere within the National Park. Keep a respectful distance, do not approach their young and NEVER attempt to feed or touch them and you may be rewarded with a few minutes to capture some truly amazing shots.

Ponies wandering through heathland

  1. Take a steam train trip through Exbury Gardens – The 1.5-mile, narrow-gauge Rhododendron Line takes you on an enchanting journey through the jaw-droppingly beautiful gardens, just as it did for its most famous passenger, Queen Elizabeth II. She named the locomotive then surprised the driver by hopping in the cab for a ride!


  1. Visit Peppa Pig World – There’s only one place in Britain you can catch up with the world’s most famous pig – and that’s at Paulton’s Park. Make the most of your time at this top-rated family theme park because there are more than 70 rides and attractions for you to enjoy.

Exbury Gardens - family with dog on steam railwayImage - Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway

  1. Gaze upon the Milky Way – Nearly 90 per cent of the New Forest’s skies fall into the three darkest categories which means you stand a far greater chance of witnessing the magnificent Milky Way and the annual Perseid Meteor Shower in late July. You’ll find dark spots at Bolderwood and Blackwater Arboretum but, whatever you do, take care when driving at night - our animals have no road sense - and always take a torch and a phone, in case of emergencies.


  1. Stay in a Shepherd’s Hut – More comfortable than camping, but just as close to nature, you’ll find beautiful huts at Back of Beyond, just over the border into Dorset on the Forest’s western fringe; Green Hill Holiday Village near Landford and Red Shoot Camping Park.

Exterior of Safari Tent at Green Hill Farm Holiday Village in the New ForestImage - Green Hill Farm Holiday Village 

  1. Bliss out at SenSpa –There’s a reason you haven’t escaped the hype over this world-class, Thai-inspired institution, situated in the village of Brockenhurst. Expect to be gently wrapped in a cocoon of comforting treatments delivered in tranquil surroundings and to leave floating on air, that’s all we’re saying!


  1. Visit the Queen of the Forest – You don’t have to call her Your Majesty but you won’t fail to be impressed by the Knightwood Oak, the New Forest’s oldest tree. A possible 600 years old – some say just over 400 - she has a 24ft girth and is still growing!


  1. Spot a Pannage Pig - Common of Mast, or Pannage is an ancient right enjoyed by pig-owners in the New Forest, who turn their porkers out once a year for around 60 days to eat the acorns in the woodlands. You’ll have to wait until September but, for around 60 days from then, you can enjoy this truly unique local spectacle.

Pannage pigs walking in the New Forest

  1. Walk the Avon Valley Path – No, it’s not as long as the Pennine Way. But, at 34-miles, this trail is a fantastic way to tick off a long-distance walk, as well as view the beauty of the New Forest, as you wend your way from the cathedral city of Salisbury to Christchurch Priory and the sea.


  1. See the real Bambi –The Disney version of the world’s most popular deer story was based on the American White-Tailed species but the nearest we have to that – with the distinctive white spotted pattern – are fallow deer. Visit Bolderwood Inclosure and its viewing platform to watch the rangers feed them every day. Info on feeding times (which can alter) can be found on the New Forest National Park’s website.

Fallow Deer in the New Forest

  1. Get up close to the world’s fastest car– Donald Campbell’s iconic Proteus Bluebird CN7 – which achieved the world-record 403mph speed 60 years ago this summer – lives at Beaulieu Motor Museum. A day ticket buys you the chance to view more than 250 historic and celebrity cars, including Del Boy Trotter’s Reliant Regal.


  1. Enjoy the ultimate Afternoon Tea - Smoked salmon, Dorset ham, warm scones smothered in clotted cream and delicious strawberry jam, as well as delicate cakes hand-prepared in the kitchens where TV sensation James Martin worked as the junior pastry chef. If you’re looking for a truly 5-star way to experience one of Britain’s most cherished institutions, the Chewton Glen Hotel at New Milton is it!

Chewton GlenImage - Chewton Glen Hotel

  1. Marvel at the Ancient Woodlands - The New Forest has the highest concentration of ancient trees in Western Europe. Visit Brackley Inclosure near Bolderwood to see why these magnificent specimens have been described as a ‘living St Paul’s Cathedral’.


  1. Try stand-up paddleboarding – This gentle watersport is said to increase feelings of mindfulness and wellbeing. To see what the fuss is about, book a session with New Forest Activities, who can safely introduce you to this popular Bucket List activity.


  1.  Visit the Verderer’s Court - It was in 1079 that William The Conqueror named this area his ‘new hunting forest' and the ancient and unique system he established to protect and manage it is still in place today, through the efforts of Verderers, Agisters and Commoners. The New Forest is the only place in the world that you can see the Verderer’s Court in action, once a month at the Queen’s House, Lyndhurst. For court dates, see the Verderers’ website verderers.org.uk