Do you need some inspiration on how to have lots of family fun but save those pennies at the same time? From miles of walking and cycling trails to explore, to unforgettable visits to farms and picnics surrounded by nature, we have lots of excellent family friendly free things to do in the New Forest.

  1. Family walks

Get the little ones in their wellies and head out on a family walk! There’s always a puddle to splash in, animals to see and flowers to identify – making it so much more fun for all the family while on a forest stroll. We have some great suggested routes; with lots of locations and distances to choose from, there’s something for all ages and abilities! And best of all, there is no cost to walking in the New Forest – even our forest car parks are free.

Even better, if your child is aged 10-16, book them onto a Young Explorer Wildlife Club guided walk with Wild New Forest. It’s free to attend and there are various dates throughout the year to join in with!  

Family by water on walk in the New Forest

  1. Cycling adventures together

Experience the thrill of family bike rides in the New Forest, a haven for cyclists of all ages! Grab your bikes and take to the pathways – there are over 100 miles of them in the forest. Pedal at your own pace as you pass by amazing wildlife and nature on two wheels, enjoying the shared moments together. We have a fantastic list of family cycle routes on our website, plus our forest car parks are free to park in.

All our walking and cycling routes on our website are interactive, with step-by-step (or pedal-by-pedal) directions along the way, plus they can be opened in Google Maps!

Family cycling down pathway during winter in the New Forest - Cycling Fam Insp

  1. Visit local farms

For a taste of rural life, visit Hockey’s Farm, a terrific family-run farm that offers a unique experience without costing a penny. Explore the farm and say hello to the farm animals, including sheep, donkeys, piglets and more! It’s an ideal spot for families, providing an educational and entertaining outing. There is a lovely café and farm shop on-site too!

Another gem for a free day out is Sopley Farm. Wander through fields of orchards and wildflowers and delight in the wonderful farm and its countryside views. For low-cost activities, you can also pick your own produce here, you’ll just have to pay for your punnet! At Sopley Farm, you can also find a farm shop and bakery.

  1. Learn at New Forest Heritage Centre

Be amazed at the incredible history and culture of the New Forest at the New Forest Heritage Centre in Lyndhurst. The interactive exhibits and interesting displays will engage all those who enter, no matter what age or interest! Admission is free, plus there is a great gift shop and café onsite too.

New Forest Heritage Centre
Image - New Forest Heritage Centre

  1. Pack up a picnic

Pack a basket, grab a blanket and head to the New Forest for an idyllic family picnic. Choose from shady glades by a stream, or views across grassland and heathland from the top of a hill, the options are endless. There is nowhere better for a picnic in The Great Outdoors than the New Forest! It’s free to park in our Forestry England car parks, too, which all have direct access onto the forest.

  1. Days by the seaside

The New Forest isn’t just about the woodlands, it’s also home to over 40 miles of stunning coastline. Explore the beaches, where you can engage in activities like fossil hunting, building sandcastles and even a paddle in the water. Or you can simply relax and enjoy the sound of waves crashing on the shore.

Family sitting on the shore at beach in the New Forest

  1. Weekly markets

Everyone will love the hustle and bustle of the weekly markets dotted across the New Forest. Wander and browse through brilliant stalls, showcasing artisan crafts and local produce, interact with locals and get a glimpse of our vibrant communities. And if you do buy something, you’ll be supporting a local business!

As well as all these fantastic ideas, keep in mind that lots of our local attractions and events also let kids in for free! Take a look at their individual details and find your ideal days out in the New Forest.

However you choose to spend your time as a family, have the best time creating wonderful memories for everyone in the New Forest – and save money while doing it!