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.


Calshot Activities Centre
Activity Provider
Calshot Activities Centre

In a prime location on the shores of the Solent, Calshot Activities Centre is one of the largest outdoor adventure centres in Britain. We offer a wide range of exciting water and land based activities, for all abilities and ages throughout the year, either indoors within our historic hangars which accommodate a climbing complex, an indoor velodrome and a dry ski slope or outdoors on land or the water. Journey into the past at Calshot Castle, stay beside the seaside and enjoy a gentle stroll along Calshot’s beach or explore the Solent shore and enjoy our café with a view. With spectacular views across the Solent, you can explore Calshot Spit, a hidden gem on the edge of the New Forest whilst enjoying a range of exciting activities.

Archery in the New Forest, woodland based
outdoor activities New Forest

Insight Activities provide authentic outdoor activities from a gorgeous private woodland in the New Forest - We specialise in beginner Archery sessions, Crossbow shooting, Axe Throwing and Bushcraft skills. We provide activities for couples, families, stag and hen groups. Our rustic ranges are based in a beautiful forest setting. Consistently rated by Tripadvisor as one of the best things to do in the New Forest. Pre booking is required. We are a small authentic woodland company with outstanding customer feedback, please see our Tripadvisor page. Certificate of excellence 2016 - 2022.

New Forest Water Park
New Forest Water Park

Learn to waterski or wakeboard. Experience the inflatable banana and tyre rides. The South's 1st WakeBoard Cable System.

Paultons Park, Home of Peppa Pig World
Theme Park
Storm Chaser rollercoaster in Tornado Springs at Paultons Park

Paultons Park, home to the UK's only Peppa Pig World, has more than 70 wonderful rides and attractions included in the admission price.

New Forest Activities
Outdoor Pursuits Centre
New Forest Activities

Create memories to last a lifetime and make the most of your time with loved ones in the great outdoors. From Canoeing and Kayaking on the stunning Beaulieu River, to Archery and BattleZone, tucked away in the beautiful New Forest woodland; there really is an adventure for everyone!

Cyclexperience Bike Hire
Cycle Hire
Cyclexperience Bike Hire

Cyclexperience are open as normal, 7 days a week throughout the Summer Holidays. If you would like to book a bike ride through the New Forest this Summer we would recommend booking in advance on our website We provide maps, helmets, locks and toolkits free of charge.

Lepe Country Park
Country Park
The front of the Lepe Lookout on a cloudy autumn day

With over a mile of beach, pine fringed cliffs, wildflower meadows, woods and historic D-Day remains, Lepe Country Park is the ideal place to relax and watch the world go by.

Hurst Castle & Hurst Castle Ferry
Museum - Military
Hurst Castle & Hurst Castle Ferry

Come and discover this artillery fortress, built by Henry VIII in 1544, at the seaward end of a coastal spit, which was once a prison of Charles 1st. Castle takeaway is open daily. Frequent ferry service from Keyhaven Quay.

National Motor Museum Beaulieu
Museum - Motor
Looking at exhibits at National Motor Museum in Beaulieu in the New Forest

Beaulieu featuring the world-famous National Motor Museum, Palace House home of the Montagu family and Abbey Ruins containing an exhibition of monastic life.

Longdown Activity Farm
The bumpy tractor ride at Longdown Activity Farm

Fun for all ages with a schedule of activities every day including bottle-feeding calves and kid goats, and duck feeding. Lots of outdoor playtime fun. Tearoom, kiosk, and farm produce shop.

Furzey Gardens
Couple enjoying the lake at Furzey Gardens

Furzey Gardens is open seven days a week, our tea rooms reopen on Saturday 19 February 10am - 4pm. Pre-book your visit online at Furzey Gardens is an informal woodland garden nestled in a tranquil New Forest setting, full of dozens of fairy doors to enchant visitors of all ages. Furzey Gardens is now open to visitors.  The garden is well known for its riotous spring colour and stunning autumn leaves, as well as its charming thatched tea rooms serving drinks, cakes and light snacks. It is run by local charity Minstead Trust, providing training and work experience for people with learning disabilities.

Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway
Aerial view of summer garden | Centenary Garden | Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway | New Forest attraction | Hampshire

Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway is now open! More than 100 years in the making, Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway is a spectacular collection of landscaped woodland, herbaceous, contemporary and formal gardens, in a unique riverside location. Exbury also boasts a narrow-gauge steam railway that travels through the gardens, plus a play area, fantastic restaurant, plus much more!

Marwell Zoo
penguins at marwell zoo

Marwell Wildlife, set in 140 acres of beautiful Hampshire parkland, has an incredible range of exotic and endangered species.

New Forest Reptile Centre
Wildlife Park
A group of lizards close together on a log.

A Date with Nature based at the New Forest Reptile Centre, near Lyndhurst. Come and learn about the native animals of the Forest and see some of them in our 'pods'. Opening times of the Reptile Centre are seasonal. Please see the Forestry England website for up to date opening days and times.

New Forest and Hampshire County Show 2022
Country Show
New Forest and Hampshire County Show 2022

Create a lifetime of memories at the New Forest and Hampshire County Show. The New Forest Show is a three-day celebration of Farming, Food and Fun which is rated among the top agricultural shows in the country. From food and flowers, music and main ring attractions to cooking, crafts and county pursuits. You’re guaranteed to find something different in every corner of the showground Join us on 26th, 27th & 28th July 2022 in the heart of the New Forest National Park. Visit to find out more.

Ellingham Show 2022
Country Show
Ellingham Show 2022
Summer Time @ Sunnyfields Farm 2022
Half Term Event
Summer Time @ Sunnyfields Farm 2022

The “Summer Time @ Sunnyfields Farm” event will run every day of the summer holidays and will include things like tractor and trailer rides, flowers, a hunt, straw bales, willow maze etc.

St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery
Outside on the terrace at St Barbe

St Barbe is the focal point for arts and heritage in this area. It has a modern museum telling the story of Lymington and the surrounding area, and the highest standard galleries that exhibit unique exhibitions.

Fairweather's Garden Centre
plants at fairweather's garden centre in the new forest

Using passion and expertise Fairweather’s have created a unique Plant and Garden Centre in the heart of Beaulieu.



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