There’s nowhere quite like the New Forest. With its enchanting woodlands, famous ponies and vibrant villages, it’s no surprise that it’s been a majestic backdrop to countless holidays throughout the ages. As the UK’s largest national park, it’s an ideal destination whatever the time of year, with each season bringing its own unique delights. Book your self-catering escape in the New Forest and choose from cottages, log cabins and much, much more.
Locals say that the best way to see the New Forest is by bike. Plenty of places offer affordable bike rental for you and all the family, so hop on and spend a day or two discovering the hidden corners of this national park.
With endless walking routes and trails, you can also encounter woodland, streams and gorse at your own pace. Set off, breathe in the clean air and be at one with nature.
History buffs will be keen to visit Rufus Stone, home to one of the UK’s most peculiar mysteries. King William II, otherwise known as William Rufus, was shot and killed while hunting in the New Forest back in 1100. The crime remains a mystery to this day. The Rufus Stone, a small memorial in the heart of the New Forest, is the spot where he allegedly fell to his death.
To learn more about the New Forest’s rich history, guided walks are held throughout the year.
Many people picture trees and ponies when thinking of the New Forest. But don’t forget the fabulous coastline that’s also well worth your attention. You can wander beside saltwater lagoons, enjoy stunning views across the Solent and Isle of Wight and even take a ferry to historical Hurst Castle, an artillery fort established by Henry VIII between 1541 and 1544.
For a magical experience, head to Bolderwood, located just west of Lyndhurst. You’ll discover a discreet viewing platform that overlooks a large meadow, where deer can be spotted from April through to September. Why not pack a picnic and spend the day exploring? With plenty of benches and barbecue equipment nearby, it’s sure to be an afternoon well spent.
No guide to the New Forest would be complete without mentioning the area’s eponymous ponies. If you want to try a horseback tour, plenty of specialist companies will be more than happy to help.
On the woodland trail lies the quaint villages of Brockenhurst, Lyndhurst, Sway and (witchcraft central) Burley. Each is nestled by areas of truly outstanding natural beauty, boasting an array of colourful heathlands, mighty oaks and lofty pines. Ponies and cattle roam freely throughout each village, allowing every visitor - human or not - to enjoy the tranquility of the area.