Summer is well and truly on here now making July a perfect time for lots of outdoor adventures. With acres of forest to explore, a gorgeous coastline and an abundance of footpaths and bridleways to follow, what’s stopping you from visiting the New Forest?

Take a look at some of the top things to do and highlights for you to enjoy this July…

Nature-related events

If you enjoy spending time in nature, or would like to learn a bit more about the special flora and fauna of the New Forest, then there are some fantastic nature-related events taking place this month.

Kicking off at the start of the month will be a Conservation Awareness Day held at Buckler’s Hard, near Beaulieu. With representatives from different conservation charities and organisations, this free event (small car parking charges apply) will include fun-filled activities and games for the children.

On several dates in July, also at Buckler’s Hard, there will be Beaulieu River Boat Tours on the Lazy Daze. These 2.5-hour cruises follow along the Beaulieu River out towards the Solent. This low-tide cruise will enable you to watch a great variety of birds and other wildlife (perhaps even a seal!) from the unique viewpoint of the river, while operating at a safe and responsible distance to ensure there is no disturbance.

Seal on Beaulieu River
Image - Wild New Forest

Over 1-2 July, Furzey Gardens will be holding a Bioblitz. Nature walks, pond dipping, nature-spotting sheets and bug hunting are all part of the activities on offer.

In addition to these events, keep an eye on activities taking place at Lepe Country Park and ranger-led nature-based events at Moors Valley Country Park too.

Lepe Country Park Event
Image - Lepe Country Park

Opportunities to explore the big outdoors

Children aged 8+ that have a head for heights will love the Woodland Adventure Activity with New Forest Activities. Start your session off with some archery before heading into the trees for the ropes course. Sessions take place regularly throughout July however pre-booking is strongly recommended.

Archery at New Forest Activities
Image - New Forest Activities

Take the pressure off from navigating the footpaths by booking onto a New Forest Discovery Walk. Wild New Forest offer a selection of guided tours throughout different areas of the forest, from the wetlands and marshes surrounding Lymington to the open heathlands and ancient woodlands of Hampton Ridge.

If you love taking to the water, then hop aboard the Steamship Shieldhall for one of its cruises. Join at Southampton docks and cruise along the Solent to watch the Fastnet Race and events taking place as part of Cowes Week. You’ll also get some amazing views of the New Forest coastline from a different perspective.

Sailing event view from Steamship Sheildhall
Image - Steamship Sheildhall

We also have lots of cycling opportunities here in the New Forest, whether you have your own bike and fancy following some tried and tested routes, hire a bike from one of our cycle hire centres or join in with a guided cycle tour, it’s a fun and relaxing way to explore our National Park.

Outdoor events

Summer provides a great time to make the most of the longer days and those balmy nights. There are some great outdoor events taking place this July including Twelfth Night, an outdoor theatre production at the stunning Exbury Gardens (7 July).

On 8 July, Smoked and Uncut will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in the fields surrounding Lime Wood Hotel. An open-air party for everyone, grab your party pals, dig into some seriously good field food, sip on something chilled and dance the day away. This year, the headline acts will be Kelis and Gabrielle.

July Things to Do Blog - Smoked & Uncut - 2023
Image - Smoked & Uncut

Anyone with a passion for seafood should add the Lymington Seafood Festival to their diaries. Three days of tasty seafood and live music along with some of the region’s best wines and tipples. This year, the festival runs 14-16 July.

Steam engine fanatics will love the Netley Marsh Steam & Craft Show (21-23 July) and one of the flagship events in the New Forest’s calendar is the annual New Forest & Hampshire County Show (25-27 July). Both shows feature a range of exhibits and craft areas. The New Forest Show has a big agricultural element with animal displays, dressage competitions as well as plenty of chances to try some fantastic local produce.

New Forest Show Horse Jumping
Image - New Forest & Hampshire County Show

School holiday fun

With the Hampshire schools breaking up on Friday 21 July, there will be plenty of opportunities for family fun here in the New Forest. Keep an eye on our events listings for lots of events and activities aimed at children including the Pirates! Fact and Fiction exhibition being held at St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery and the Summer Camp Holiday Clubs run throughout the majority of the holidays at Foxlease Activity Centre.

You’ll find plenty of days out aimed at children here, from building sandcastles on the beach to trips to Paultons Park, National Motor Museum and meeting the animals at the New Forest Wildlife Park, to name just a few. Find out more about family friendly days out.

Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World
Image - Paultons Park, Home of Peppa Pig World

Camp under the stars

With the (hopefully) warmer weather, July makes an excellent time to go camping. Grab your tent and pitch up at one of the New Forest’s rustic campsites where ponies and other New Forest Wildlife may wander past your pitch.

Red Shoot Camping Park
Image - Red Shoot Camping Park

Book a stay at one of our holiday parks if you’d prefer additional facilities such as site shops, electric hook-ups, bars or easy access to some of our attractions.

Or, if you like to style it up a bit more then check out some of our glamping choices and pick from safari tents, shepherd huts or cosy wooden lodges.

Make the most of your summer

To make the most of your stay this summer, we’d recommend booking accommodation early, especially over key weekends such as when the New Forest Show is running.

Look out for discounts on offer across various New Forest-based businesses for holders of the Go New Forest Card.

Plus, don’t forget to take a wider look at our website for loads more great ideas for days out, places to eat and much more.