Fancy something a little but different in 2022? We know what you mean! Here are our top ten fun and unusual things to do in the magical New Forest...
1. Walking with donkeys. Why do donkeys have big ears? Some say it’s to listen to our problems or worries without making a judgement! If you fancy giving this a try – or you’d just love to get closer to these gentle, comforting beasts - Brockenhurst Donkey Walks can help you. Tucked away in the forest with no roads to cross, just gravel tracks, heath land and ancient woodland to meander, it’s the perfect day out. Whilst walking you should see the forest ponies grazing in their natural habitat and it’s a wonderful way to enjoy the peace of the New Forest.
2. Stay in the Chewton Glen Treehouses. There are treehouses – and there are the Chewton Glen Treehouses. The ultimate private getaway, Chewton Glen’s treehouses have private balconies and panoramic views and you can either arrange to dine in the magnificent, 5* hotel or have the food – and even spa treatments – come to you in your leafy hideaway.
3. Hire a classic car. Take your loved-one for a spin in ‘the most beautiful car ever made’ an iconic Jaguar E-type. Or maybe you fancy running out through the Forest in an Austin Healey convertible or a classic Cobra? (and while you’re at it, why not make your day even more special with a picnic devised by the Forest Foodie?) Whatever, whenever, New Forest Classic Car Hire will give you the driving treat of a lifetime.
4. Hunt for Fairy Doors. There are said to be more than 40 of these tiny, exquisite doors at the Minstead Trust’s beautiful Furzey Gardens. Take your little ones for a fun day out, trying to discover them all. Along with the doors you’ll find Furzey’s charming thatched tea rooms serving drinks, cakes and light snacks, plus ten acres of gardens and a lake with a duckhouse to explore.
5. Take a carriage ride. Why should the Queen have all the fun? Book a carriage ride through the New Forest and see our unique landscape at a horse’s pace. Burley Wagon Rides - N & J Heavy Horses can help you to experience the New Forest this way, taking you along the roads and tracks at a gentle pace, with plenty of time to see nature at its best.
6. Glamping. Get all the benefits of being away from the 21st century with none of the discomfort; that’s what glamping’s all about and we are experts at it! Sleep closer to nature but surrounded by luxury with some of our beautiful New Forest glamping spots. Stay in a glamping tent, tepee, yurt or hut that’s already set up for you. You’ll find lots of facilities available to use inside, usually including a bed, cosy blankets, cooking facilities, a kettle and loads more.
7. Head out on a sunset SUP and picnic on our coast. The New Forest Paddle Sport Company have coupled up with a local Italian restaurant to create an unforgettable stand-up paddleboarding experience at Keyhaven – where you will enjoy a relaxed paddle to the beach to dive into your homemade picnic and watch the sunset, and then paddle back in moonlight.
8. Book a nature walk. Wild New Forest are expert in these wildlife wanders and their day-time discovery walks can take you to the strangest of places, enabling all on them to learn more about our amazing surroundings. Private walks can be arranged, too, so why not ask about a twilight trek to take in the owls or bats, later in the year?
9. Create a bigger splash. How? By organising a trip to New Forest Water Park, near Fordingbridge. Enjoy their giant, inflatable obstacle course for swimmers and one thing’s guaranteed – you’re going to get wet! And have a lot of laughs, trying to beat each other. (Check opening times for the start of the new season.)
10. Let the tiny train take the strain. Hop on the Exbury Gardens miniature steam train for a nostalgic trip through some of the world’s most beautiful garden landscapes. Spring and summer see Exbury in full and incredible bloom and this delightful little ride allows you to enjoy it from a great, new perspective. Even HM the Queen is a fan!
*Please note, many of the above attractions and experiences are subject to change, due to weather or other circumstances. Always check with the venue before booking and before arriving