Things To Do On Your Family Break In The New Forest

The New Forest is one of the most enchanting destinations in the UK, with this ancient forest having stood mostly untouched for centuries. Located in the south of the country, this expanse of woodlands and heathlands offers plenty of opportunities for exploration and relaxation.

From memorable outdoor activities and wildlife encounters to historical and cultural experiences, there’s no shortage of ways to occupy the family on your visit. So, let’s take a look at just a few of the things there are to do in the New Forest on your family breaks UK.

Exploring on foot or bike

Naturally, the New Forest is the perfect destination for walkers and cyclists alike. With more than 140 miles of well-marked trails, bridleways and paths, you’ll be spoilt for choice. No matter what ages and abilities in your family, you can choose from gentle strolls along riversides and more challenging routes through the wilder areas of the forest.

Plenty of the routes are sprinkled with convenient stopping points, from picnic spots to pretty villages, so don’t be afraid to take things at your own pace. And, if you can’t bring bikes along, there are many rental locations to choose from throughout the New Forest.

new forest

Particular spots to visit are the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive, which is a scenic route lined with a variety of the forest’s most majestic trees, and the Knightwood Oak, which holds the title as one of the oldest known trees in the area at more than 500 years of age.

Meeting the wildlife

One of the most distinctive features of the New Forest area is the wandering wild ponies that visitors can encounter throughout the region. There are currently more than 5,000 of the ponies who graze the grassy plains and roam beneath the trees. As well as ponies, your family could spot deer, wild pigs and a variety of bird species that call the forest their home.

But do be wary of getting too close, as these are not tame animals and are not to be petted or fed by strangers.

For a closer encounter with wildlife, you can take a trip to the New Forest Wildlife Park. Many of the animals here can be met up close under guidance, from otters and owls to wild boar.

Visiting historic locations and gardens

Among the trees of the New Forest, there is a wealth of rich history and heritage to uncover. The village of Beaulieu offers a whole range of activities, including the ruins of a medieval abbey, a Victorian manor house and the National Motor Museum with its impressive collection of classic cars. There’s definitely something here for every member of the family!

Another excellent day out can be found at Exbury Gardens, a stunning 200-acre estate that is filled with woodland walks and immaculately landscaped gardens. It’s a lovely contrast to the natural, wilder woods you’ll see throughout your visit. And the miniature steam railway that runs through the gardens means that you can enjoy the botanical sights while giving your feet a rest.

Seeking outdoor adventures

The New Forest is also home to a range of exciting outdoor activities and adventure pursuits. Families looking for some adrenaline-fueled fun can take to the tops of the trees with the high ropes course and zip-lining activities on offer at Go Ape Moors Valley.

For a slightly wetter adventure, the calm waters of the Beaulieu River are the ideal location to try out kayaking, paddleboarding or even a spot of sailing. And there’s truly no better way to explore the New Forest than from the back of a horse, with many stables around the region offering lessons or guided treks.

Whether you’re a family of adventurers or prefer a slower holiday pace, the New Forest has many activities to enjoy. So, what things are you tempted to try out on your next family break?