Kids are on the countdown… it’s really not long now until the school summer holidays begin (and for some, they have already begun!). If you’ve planned to stay here in the New Forest, or perhaps are looking for some inspiration on some top family days out, then this blog will give you lots of ideas for making the most of your summer.
Get that adrenalin pumping
Burn off some of that excess energy by booking onto some of our heart-racing activities.
Why not book one of Calshot Activities Centre’s ‘Action Adventure Days’ or experiences? There’s a fantastic range of activities available, including climbing through the Aero Trek obstacle course suspended six metres in the air. You can also have great fun zooming down the ski slopes in an inflatable ring or learn how to windsurf here.
Image - Calshot Activities Centre
Join Insight Activities this summer for some fun, memorable, and authentic experiences. Book their Medieval Trio and enjoy a combination of archery, crossbows, and axe throwing. For those keen to be at one with nature, there’s also their bushcraft sessions.
Negotiate your way through the inflatable obstacle course at the New Forest Water Park. You can also try your hand at wakeboarding here too.
Image - New Forest Water Park
Although not an activity as such, another way to get that adrenalin pumping is by trying out the various rides found at Paultons Park – rollercoasters… bring them on!
For those chill out days
Fancy something a bit more sedate? New Forest Activities can't wait to invite you onto the serene Beaulieu River for their 'Family Canoeing' sessions. Join their expert instructors as you learn to paddle your canoe and spot the wildlife along the way.
Image - New Forest Activities
For a relaxing day out that all the family can enjoy, hire bikes from Cyclexperience, or one of our other bike hire centres. Cyclexperience will provide you with everything you may need, including helmets, toolkits and maps that mention all of the best places to eat and visit.
Chill out at Lepe Country Park and beach or follow the forest boardwalk to the bird hide and spot rare wetland wildlife. Lepe’s BBQ spots are ideal for get togethers, and the sensory gardens and exciting play equipment nearby will keep the little ones happy too.
Image - Lepe Country Park
Another great option for a relaxing day out is to take the ferry from Keyhaven across to King Henry VIII’s Tudor fort; Hurst Castle. Included in the castle admission, throughout the holidays, is a family trail for all to enjoy, complete and win a reward! Also, look out for the site’s Tudor Tuesdays taking place on 26 July 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 August where you can enjoy arts, crafts and Tudor stories!
Family-friendly days out
We’ve touched on some of the attractions you can visit as a family above, but there are lots more you can choose from.
Be in awe of the vast array of cars on display at Beaulieu’s National Motor Museum (little ones will also love Little Beaulieu, the adventure play area here), meet the animals at Longdown Activity Farm, spot the hidden fairy doors at Furzey Gardens or travel in style around Exbury Gardens aboard the miniature steam railway.
Image - Exbury Gardens
Nearby to the New Forest, you can spot the dinosaurs lurking around Marwell Zoo as part of the BRICKOSAURS! Evolution event this summer. The impressive collection includes a mosasaur emerging from the water, seven-metre-long Spinosaurus and a Brachiosaurus who towers over the zoo – the tallest brick sculpture Marwell has had. Plus, spot hundreds of exotic animals along the way!
Image - Marwell Zoo
Take a look at our Family Friendly things to do page for lots of other ideas in and around the New Forest.
Free or low-cost activities
If your budget is tight, then make the most of some of the free or low-cost activities on offer in the New Forest.
Head to our walking pages for some family-friendly routes, ideal if combined with a picnic. Ever-popular to visit is the Bolderwood Deer Watch Trail. At just 0.3 miles, this walk is ideal for younger children. Look out for the deer feeding which takes place daily during the summer from the feeding platform.
Image - Walking at Bolderwood
Pop along to the New Forest Reptile Centre, near Lyndhurst and learn about Britain’s native reptile species. It’s free to visit here, with a small donation requested for car parking. Or head to our coastline for some sandcastle making, wildlife watching and the inevitable ice cream eating!
Look out for low-cost activities and events taking place throughout the summer – take a look at our events listings now to discover what’s on when you plan on visiting. Don't miss the New Forest Show, Ellingham Show, Summer Time @ Sunnyfields Farm or Sunflower Picking & Maze at Picking Patch in Fordingbridge. You’ll find all kinds happening including ‘Dinosaurs on your Doorstep’ at the St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery and gardening activities for children at Fairweather’s Garden Centre.
Image - Ellingham Show
You may also want to look at investing in a Go New Forest Card. For just £10, you can save money off at hundreds of different businesses across the forest.
We hope we’ve given you lots of ideas for what to do over the holidays. Do keep a look out on our website for other ideas and keep an eye on our social media feeds too for lots of ideas to help plan your summer holidays.