We’re lucky to live fairly close to the New Forest and visit quite often throughout the year. There are so many family-friendly places to visit in the New Forest that you’ll always discover something new. It’s a fab place to go for a walk and the bonus is that it’s completely free! Wherever you park up you can walk for miles and always find great scenery, ponies, country pubs and plenty of fresh air.
I get a lot of people on Instagram asking whereabouts in the New Forest my photos are taken so I thought I’d share my top 5 places to visit in the New Forest. If you’re looking for a quiet place to go for a walk in the New Forest, somewhere safe for the kids to paddle, or a chance to see New Forest ponies, here are some good suggestions…
We’ve only recently discovered Fritham and it’s a great place for a day out with kids . There’s the tiniest pub with fairy doors and an ice cream hut in the garden. Then if you walk a little way into the forest there’s a lake that’s great for kids to paddle in and having a picnic next to. Watch out for cows on the road!
Lyndhurst is a little English village right in the middle of the New Forest with lots of coffee shops, pubs, gift shops, a museum and lots of New Forest ponies. It’s a lovely place to go for a wander, browse the gift shops, and have a stroll in the countryside. You can walk for miles into the forest and head back for cake or a pub lunch afterwards. This is usually our winter walk destination and we warm up with a hot chocolate afterwards.
Another place in the New Forest that’s good for kids to paddle is Hatchet Pond just past Beaulieu. The sign says no swimming but it’s ok for children to paddle at the edge. There’s always some friendly donkeys or ponies nearby, swans swimming in the lake, and there’s usually an ice cream van parked in the car park. It’s very close to Beaulieu if you want to head there for a drink afterwards.
Burley is another great village in the New Forest. Burley isn’t a very big place but has pubs, ice cream shops, cafes, a cider farm and lots of gift shops. Keep an eye out for all of the associations with witchcraft on shop signs and in the windows – apparently, a white witch lived there in the 1800s. There are New Forest ponies wandering around everywhere, stood in the middle of the pavements which can be quite funny if you’re not used to it.
Next to the Balmer Lawn hotel just outside Brockenhurst is a fab place for a picnic, it’s also one of the best New Forest streams for paddling. There’s a big grassy area right next to a shallow stream that’s always full of kids paddling whatever the weather. As with most places in the New Forest, there’s lots of ponies wandering around, as well as a few cows.
Have you visited any of these New Forest gems? Where are your favourite places to visit in the New Forest and Hampshire with children?