It’s a well-known fact that nature calms the mind. If you are looking for ways to relax then make the New Forest your go to destination! Step away from the stresses of life and make time for yourself by enjoying all that there is here.
Make time for the great outdoors
Enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures here in the New Forest. Take some time out to relax in our inviting forest, take strolls along our beaches and explore our heathlands.
The New Forest is criss-crossed with footpaths, making the area ideal for a relaxing walk. Browse our walking routes and pick a walk that’s ideal for you. Discover a slower pace of life, look for changes in the seasons and see if you can spot any of our local wildlife including our famous New Forest ponies. If you are looking for a bit of inspiration on where to start, a guided walk can be a great starting point. Our local guides can show you some of the New Forest’s highlights as well as taking you to places off the beaten track, take a look at Wild New Forest’s fantastic guided walks.
Grab your picnic blanket and stop for a relaxing time with those that are close to you. Some of our top places to stop for a picnic are Lepe Beach and Country Park (near Exbury), Bolton’s Bench (Lyndhurst) and Rockford Common (Ringwood). If you don’t fancy sorting out your own food and drink then The Forest Foodie puts together pre-made hampers with lots of local delights or pop along to some of our farm shops for some further inspiration.
Cycling can be a great way to destress too so be sure to take a look at our recommended cycling routes! To stop the stress of having to bring your bikes with you, there are many places in the New Forest where you can hire bikes for your chilled cycling adventures.
Other activities to relax your mind
Exploring the New Forest from the back of a horse can be an adventure in itself. There are several horse riding stables across the forest to suit a wide range of experience levels.
Or, if being on the water is a way that you unwind then hire a canoe or kayak and paddle up the Beaulieu River (ideal for wildlife spotting too) or head out onto the Solent on a paddleboard. Discover more of our water activities on our website.
For something slightly more alternative there’s forest bathing. Forest bathing is an ancient Japanese process of relaxation. It involves the practice of slowing down and immersing yourself in the forest atmosphere in a mindful way. And where better to try this than in the New Forest?
Spa days and stays
For the ultimate in relaxation and indulgence, book yourself a spa day or a short break at one of our spa hotels. Handpick your favourite treatments, soak away those aches and pains in the warming waters and perhaps enjoy a massage too. Many of our spa hotels offer days or stays combined with healthy food and drink to help you restore your mind and body.
Escape the rush at some of our tranquil gardens. Exbury Gardens is absolutely breath-taking all year round, Furzey Gardens is a smaller and more intimate garden and the grounds and gardens of Beaulieu make for picture-perfect scenes with sculptures and water-side views.
If you love to be beside the sea then take a stroll along our beaches at Lepe, Milford-on-sea and Barton-on-sea or walk along the spit towards Hurst Castle for breath-taking views across to the Isle of Wight.
Combine your day out with a pit stop at one of our friendly country pubs where you can enjoy a laid-back lunch with a pint or glass of something.