1) Best thing to do in the New Forest: Moors Valley Country Park
Dog friendly, baby friendly, child friendly, adult friendly, family… you get the picture. This is a great day out in the New Forest for all and sundry. Walkers can walk to their hearts content, thrill seekers can swing through the trees and Go Ape, little ones can discover the great outdoors with adventure trails and play parks and there’s even a steam train for railway enthusiasts. With enough facilities to cater for a day’s worth of outing, it comes highly recommended by everyone we know who’ve been there.
2) Best thing to do in the New Forest: New Forest Wildlife Park
Zoos can be a bit hit and miss, caged off animals that inconveniently hide from view and you’ve always just missed the feeding time, next one in three hours… But then there’s the New Forest Wildlife Park, a much more natural experience where you have the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the animals. And it’s not just the normal woodland creatures we sadly take for granted, but wolves and bison alongside, interspersed with fascinating talks and fun playparks. Even in winter, there’s enough to get your ticket’s worth, but better weather allows for picnics prettier photos.
3) Best thing to do in the New Forest: The Solent Way Walk
We’re in no way suggesting you should tackle the entire 60 miles between Milford-on-Sea and Emsworth harbour, but it has been chopped up into handy bite-size chunks. If you love a good day’s walking you could string one or two of them together, but however you choose to tackle the route, one thing’s for sure. There’s some fine sight-seeing to enjoy. Not only is it a feast for the eyes, but depending on your chosen section, there are maritime explorations, rare wildlife habitats to sneak past and picnic spots, riverside pubs, bucket and spade stops…
4) Best thing to do in the New Forest: Hurst Castle
A year-round walk if you’re fully mobile, but bear in mind the castle itself is only open peak season, from April to the end of October. It is worth it mind, striding out along the shingle spit to be surrounded by the Solent. Spectacular views to the Needles and out over the Keyhaven Marsh Nature Reserve makes for plenty of photo opportunities and there’s lots of English history to learn about once you get there – with Henry VIII there is never a dull moment. If the walk and the wind prove too much, there is are ferries back to the mainland so you won’t have to spend the night incarcerated a la King Charles I.
5) Best thing to do in the New Forest: Bucklers Hard
An unusual attraction but surprisingly enjoyable in its absurdity. It’s effectively a maritime museum but it’s more than a room full of glass cases. Wander around the preserved village as if you were a shipwright, learn a load with the kiddy question sheet and take a cruise along the Beaulieu River. Stop for lunch in the grounds and set on to walk off the teacakes through the woodlands. It’s a little bit of history masquerading as a family attraction and fully lives up to its Top 5 reputation.
With so much to do, you'll never get bored when you stay in the New Forest.