Thursday, 18 August 2016

Free Things To Do in the New Forest

Walk, cycle and run!

There are over 143 miles of cycle tracks in the New Forest’s 193,000 acres and hundreds, if not thousands of unmarked trails. Grab a map and discover why the New Forest is such a special and beautiful place to explore.

Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary

Deer are timid animals, especially if you go looking for them! A heard of Fallow Deer gather on the meadow at Bolderwood, mainly because they are fed every day from April through to September. There’s a viewing platform, so you can get some great photos and watch the deer in their natural habitat. It’s worth noting that these are wild deer, so you’re not guaranteed a sighting, but more often than not, you’ll be rewarded by their presence.  The main car park is close by with a large lawn, picnic tables and BBQ area.

Swim and sunbathe

There are some gorgeous beaches along the New Forest Coastline and lovely spots for swimming.
Highlights include Highcliffe beach, Milford on sea and Barton on Sea.

Hampshire Open Studios

20th – 29th August 2016 you can visit studios, art galleries and meet the artists from the New Forest and Hampshire region who are exhibiting original artwork. For a brochure email

Go Geocaching!

The New Forest is a brilliant destination for Geocaching. For those that don’t know, Geocaching is like a treasure hunt for all age groups using GPS. It’s a great way to see the area and great fun. You’ll need to register on the Geocaching website first. When you get to the forest, navigate GPS coordinates and hunt for the hidden ‘Geocache’ container.

Fossil Hunting

Receive a free gift from thousands of years ago, in the form of a beautiful fossil from the New Forest. There are lots of spots along the coastline, the best being Barton Sea for gastropods and sharks’ teeth. Milford on sea is good for ironstones containing bivalves and gastropods. 

Lepe Country Park
Come here for the amazing views, lovely walk, WWII landmarks and some good old fashioned rest and relaxation. There’s a play area for smaller children and a large grassy lawn for picnics (there’s also a cafĂ©/restaurant). Views are mesmerising from Lepe. The shoreline is about a mile to the Isle of Wight, and Southampton Water is a hive of activity with cruise ships and huge tankards navigating their way to and from the famous docks. To the left of the park are the remains and defences from the D-Day invasions with plaques describing the role the area played during WWII. A fantastic spot for watching Cowes Week.
Note: this isn’t a good spot for swimming due to the strong currents.

The Knightwood Oak

This huge and mighty tree is said to be the oldest in the forest – and it’s certainly gigantic. It’s estimated to be up to 600 years old and has a width of over seven metres. This area is also a nice place to stop with a blanket and picnic and soak up the atmosphere of this ancient forest.


Hours of fun and thrills can be spent crabbing, and there are two particular locations that are spot on. Lymington Quay and Keyhaven harbour are both busy little marine hotspots, great for watching the boats coming in and out of the harbour and people watching.   

Pootle about in your Dingy

Keyhaven and Christchurch harbour are wonderful expanses of water where you can spend hours bobbing about in your dingy.  Keep away from the busy entrances and boat traffic, and you’ll be rewarded by getting up close and personal with the entertaining wildlife and birds.  

Famous Graves

The New Forest has been, and still is home to some very famous folks. Head to the pretty church in Minstead village and you’ll find the grave of crime fiction writer and creator of famous Detective Sherlock Homes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1869-1930).
It’s said that the inspiration behind author Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’, is thought to be local girl, Alice Liddell (1852-1934). Her grave is in the churchyard of Lyndhurst church.

Famous founder of modern nursing, social reformer and statistician - Florence Nightingale (1820 – 1910) is buried in St Margaret’s churchyard at East Wellow. In the church you’ll find a fibreglass replica (the original was stolen) of a Scutari Cross, which was made of bullets from the Crimea that was hanging in Florence’s bedroom when she died.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

What's on this summer

What's on in the New Forest - summer 2016

There are so many summer Events, Shows and Festivals in the New Forest at this time of year, we could fill up a daily calendar!

So we thought we’d make a list of our personal favourites. As the forest is quite small, you’re never more than a short drive away. If you’d prefer to be within an area of a particular event, show or festival, or even walking distance - we’ve added links to some of the properties close by.

5th June 2016
Roydon Woods Woodfair
Roydon Woods, Sandy Down, Setley near Brockenhurst
An annual event from The Wildlife Trust in partnership with the New Forest National Park - Lots of crafts and activities for all ages and the obligatory beer tent!                    

All year
Events at Highcliffe Castle
Rothesay Drive, Highcliffe.
The former home of Mr Selfridge himself (as appeared on the TV series), opens its doors to events in the stunning grounds throughout the year, including:
Wed 8th June, 7pm. Outdoor Theatre Hamlet performed by The Festival Players
Sunday 12th June, 2pm to 4pm Love Soul Choir
Sunday 3rd July Classic Cars on the Prom 11am-4pm (outdoors)
Sunday 4th September Swing Unlimited Big Band and the 3 Counties Car Club 1pm-4pm (Outdoors)
Sunday 6th November Grandma's Attic Antiques Fair 11am-4pm (Indoors)
Wednesday 14th December Christmas Carol Concert 7:30pm (Indoors)

10, 11 & 12 June
Hurst Dubfest
Lower Pennington Lane, Lymington
Lovely family festival, themed around VW vintage campervans and beetle cars! Music, craft, dance, food and drink with competitions and fun for little ones as well as the adults.

2 July
Round the Island Race
The largest race of its kind in the world with approx. 16,000 sailors - both professional and amateur, taking part from the UK, Europe and the USA. See 1,700 beautiful yachts battling to be first around the Isle of Wight.                               

3rd July
Lymington Italian Festival & Food Market
Lymington town High Street
Come and be wowed at the sight of some 50 or so Ferrari Cars in the High Street from midday to 4pm. There’s music and entertainment for all ages, and an Italian Market brimming with scrumptious continental foods.

6 to 10 July
New Forest Folk Festival
Salisbury Road, Plaitford, Romsey
A truly family run festival with delicious home-made food hosted by the Curtis Family and friends! There’s a great vibe with music, sing-a-rounds and Morris Dancing.  Don’t forget to bring your folding chair! Sit back and enjoy the sound of budding and famous folk artists who mingle in the fields and bar tents, chatting to the friendly crowd – many of whom travel great distances to attend.

7 - 9 July
Lymington Arts Festival
This festival is a stunning collection of arts and activities. You’ll see art, crafts, dance, drama, embroidery, floristry, music, photography, poetry, sculpture, quilts and textiles. There will be galleries, workshops and displays at various venues around the town each day.

10 July
Giant Water Slide down Lymington High Street!
Whether you’re an onlooker or participant, this event promises to be full of fun to ride a huge waterslide down Lymington High Street! If you take part, you’ll be wet at the end - so come prepared! Fun outfits and fancy dress are fully encouraged! For more info and to get an allotted time, email This is a one off event charity event! First slide starts at 11am.

10 July
Ringwood Pedal Car Grand Prix
This annual race is one of the biggest of its kind, and attracts around fifty pedal-powered competitors. There’s lots of fun filled spirit and plenty of crashes. The junior event takes ninety minutes, and precedes the open class for adults which lasts a gruelling two hours! Teams take turns powering their home-made creations around the 1km course. Great fun to watch and competition is fierce!                            

16 July
Fordingbridge Summer Festival
Recreation Ground, Fordingbridge
Flower tents, craft village, steam engines, vintage cars, heavy horses and dog displays are just some of the attractions featured. This is a festival for all ages with lots of things to see and do – including the famous ‘Duck Race’.

22 to 24 July
Curious Arts Festival
East End, Lymington SO41 5SJ
The boutique festival (which wins rave reviews) has a huge and eclectic mix of literature, music, snail races, opera, stand-up comedy and unforgettable experiences for grown–ups and children alike. Plus some lovely food and drink!

26 – 28 July
New Forest and Hampshire County Show
New Park, Brockenhurst
A fantastic show focused around traditional country pursuits and visited by thousands of visitors. There’s so much to see and do, such as: show jumping, art and cookery demonstrations, a show farm, tug of war with a tractor and even pottery making. As you’d expect, there are oodles of food and drink stalls and a food hall to browse and buy delicious, artisan produce. Not to be missed.

6 to 13 August
Cowes Week
Cowes Week is the longest-running sailing regatta in the world. The event is held on the Solent – between the Hampshire coast and Isle of Wight. The area is a hive of activity, and seascape studded with boats of all shapes and sizes.

13 August
Ellingham & Ringwood Agricultural Show
Somerley Park, Ellingham, Ringwood
A lovely show full of countryside tradition. The livestock area is a firm favourite – especially for children. Lots of handicrafts including lace making and spinning. There are over 100 trade stands, food, drink, home-made produce, locally made toys and children’s entertainment makes for a great day out.

13-14 August
New Forest Fairy Festival
Burley village
For all things Fairy and Elf this is a fun and friendly magical place to visit, but not just for children – though they’ll love it! Expect a weekend of entertainment and workshops for the whole family around the magical fairy theme. Handmade arts and crafts, artwork, live music, bands, story-telling, belly dancing and more. If you arrive (as many do) in Fairy and Elf Costumes, you’ll be sprinkled with New Forest Fairy dust!

10th September
Romsey Agricultural and Horse Show
Broadlands, Romsey
This substantial show is one of the oldest in England, held annually since 1842. Showcasing the best of British farming, it is a vital part of the County’s social calendar.  Cattle and sheep from across the region compete for glory in the livestock classes. Hundreds of horses are entered in a huge number of equine events that range from show jumping and heavy horses to side saddle and best donkey.

28th September
Beaulieu Road Pony Sales
Across the road from Beaulieu Road railway station
Sales start at 10.30am. The Beaulieu Road Sales yard is used primarily by commoners (owners of the ponies on the New Forest) to sell their ponies by auction.                    

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Find time for the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive

Walking fanatics? Scenic lovers? Or maybe you just enjoy being in the great outdoors?

The New Forest is the ideal location for a break outside of the hustle and bustle of city life. Just 90 minutes from London Waterloo, The New Forest is an enchanting area on the south coast of England, where wild ponies roam freely across the 218 square miles of heathland, moorland and woodland.

If you have a day, a week, or even just a few hours you must visit the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive.

The Rhinefield Ornamental Drive, which starts at Whitefield Moor in Brockenhurst and finishes in Bolderwood, is a fantastic drive with some lovely walks and beautiful scenery along the way.

Start out at Whitefield Moor (location and map can be found here) park in the car park for free with toilet facilities; where the New Forest ice cream van can be found during the busier season. Enjoy spectacular views across the moorland for miles, where you can see dozens of ponies and cattle (weather permitting; if it rains they’ll be hiding amongst the trees!).

Jump back in the car and drive along the narrow road for about a mile into the woodland towards the heart of Rhinefield. Drive amongst the trees and shade, passing the beautiful Rhinefield House Hotel on your left, the perfect pit stop for afternoon tea.

Arrive at Blackwater car park on your right. Park again for free with toilet facilities; an ideal place to stop for a picnic, with many benches and also an opportunity for a barbecue. Walk along the Tall Trees Trail where you can see some of the tallest and oldest Douglas fir trees in Britain as well as two enormous redwoods visible from the path.

Take one final drive across the A35 and into Bolderwood passing the Knightwood Oak on route, the largest and most famous oak tree in the New Forest with a 7.4 metre girth - it’s definitely some tree!
Your final destination on this route is Bolderwood car park and deer sanctuary. Park up in the free car park and walk across the road to the deer viewing platform where a lovely family of fallow deer will be waiting to greet you. The area has way marked trails for you to explore ending a perfect day out in the New Forest.

Thirsty for more? Why not make a week of it and enjoy what else the forest has to offer in one of our charming holiday cottages.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

New Forest Trust - We Love the New Forest

What is the New Forest Trust?

Formed in 2003, The New Forest Trust is the New Forest’s Conservation Charity. Supporting, assisting and actively educating both visitors and locals on the importance of the landscape, wildlife and all that live in the forest.

What do they do?

The New Forest Trust actively secure the well-being of all who live in the forest including the conservation of livestock, woodland, open forest, flora and fauna. The Trust actively educates visitors and locals across the New Forest to ensure better understanding of how the forest works.

Whilst driving around the New Forest you may have noticed the reflective collars some livestock are now wearing. Unfortunately as many as 100 animals are killed each year in the New Forest, so by fitting one of these collars we are greatly reducing the risk of animals being hit during the night.

Bats are not an animal commonly thought about in the New Forest, however the New Forest Trust have been supporting the Hampshire Bat Group in the study of two rare species in the New Forest, the Bechstein’s and Barbastelle bats, providing bat boxes and funding radio transmitters.

How do we support the New Forest Trust?

New Forest Cottages have been donating to the New Forest Trust for over a year and have so far donated over £1000 in total. We take great pride in supporting the New Forest Trust here at New Forest Cottages. This small area of the British countryside needs much support in order to maintain the unique livestock, terrain and natural beauty, to ensure it remains at its best for all future generations to enjoy, just as much as we do.

How to get involved

Whether you’re a business, organisation or just an individual it’s easy to get involved with the New Forest Trust. You can make a simple donation; become a ‘friend’, volunteer or sponsor.

To find out how you can get involved and for further information please visit

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Fun in the New Forest this half term

Can you believe we are nearing February half term already? The first few weeks of the year are now behind us and we can start to look forward to sunnier and more fun times ahead, and why not start with a trip to the New Forest this half term.

The forest has plenty to entertain for all ages from exciting attractions, miles of cycle and walking routes and plenty of good cosy New Forest pubs. The New Forest National Park is a unique holiday destination with miles of open moorland, heathland and woodland and not forgetting our furry friends that roam freely across the New Forest National Park, the New Forest ponies along with many other species of wildlife.

There are a few events happening across the New Forest this half term. Beaulieu Motor Museum is a great attraction to visit whilst you are visiting the area. The museum is holding a get ‘Hand’s on’ event over the half term week with interactive activities for the whole family. Available from Saturday 14th to Sunday 22nd February.

St Barbe Museum in Lymington is offering a Fantastic Fossils workshop for children on Wednesday 18th February, creating your very own fossil out of plaster of paris. The workshop is just £3.00 per child for a good couple of hours of fun!

If it’s just the two of you looking for a little adventure over the Valentines weekend then visit Beaulieu where New Forest Activities offer a wide range of great activities such as canoeing, kayaking and cycle hire. This Valentine’s Day they are offering 20% off all activities for couples. Call their booking office for details 01590 612377.

And whilst you are planning all of these fun filled activities over the week, you’ll need a cosy base to go back to after a long day out and about. Here are just a few of our remaining cottages available over the half term week:

An ideal couples retreat, with one of the best views in Lymington. This lovely one bedroom apartment is close to amenities and has lovely views across Lymington Town Quay and Lymington River.
This delightful, detached cottage is ideal for a large family. Criddlestyle Cottage has 5 bedrooms and is all on one level, ideal for those with limited mobility.

Peacefully located in the north of the New Forest National Park, Orchardside has direct forest access and is just 5 miles from the well renowned Peppa Pig World.

For more properties visit our website.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Find love in the New Forest this Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day falls on a weekend this year and what better way to make the most of it, than a weekend break in the New Forest. The New Forest National Park provides a perfect backdrop to any romantic break away offering incredible scenery, beautiful walks and an abundance of wildlife. Relax in front of a wood burning stove with a glass of wine or rustle up a romantic feast for two in a beautiful bespoke kitchen in one of our cosy New Forest holiday cottages.

We have a variety of properties of all shapes and sizes, to suit any budget. Here are just a few of our remaining available properties this Valentine’s weekend:

This delightful one bedroom apartment overlooks the popular Lymington Quay. Right in the hub of Lymington, sit and watch the world go by or venture out and explore the many pubs, restaurants and boutiques that Lymington has to offer.

Tucked away in the North West of the New Forest, this one bedroom cottage has a delightful rural outlook, an ideal hideaway for couples. Just 8 miles south of Salisbury, the cottage makes an excellent base for exploring the New Forest and surrounding county of Wiltshire.

Coachmans Cottage is situated on the Ladycross Estate, tucked in amongst the trees in the heart of the New Forest National Park with direct forest access right from the estate gates. The property boasts an open fire and three bedrooms, should you wish to bring friends or the rest of the family.

There is plenty to see and do whilst here in the New Forest. Take romantic strolls through the woodland, along the coast and through the quaint villages. Hire bikes and explore and there’s always a good pub ready to cosy up at with some excellent local produce, perfect after that chilly day out in the forest.

So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and whisk your loved one away to the New Forest this Valentines.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Visit Peppa Pig, Paultons Park whilst on your holiday with New Forest Cottages

With the New Forest Pannage season now well and truly over, there is only one very special pig still available to see in the New Forest – and that’s Peppa Pig of course!

Heads up everyone, the home of Peppa Pig, Paultons Park, opens on Sunday 15 February (see for specific opening times), and you can buy reduced price tickets directly from us at New Forest Cottages when you make a booking at one of our cottages in 2015! Tickets for adults and for children over 1 metre will cost £28 if bought on the day at the Park, however we can offer these for only £23, offering a massive saving if you’re buying for the whole family!

For the uninitiated, or for those who have been living in a rabbit hole for the last ten years, Peppa Pig is a sweet animated cartoon pig who lives with her mum, dad and brother George and enjoys plenty of adventures with her friends and family.

Paultons Park is set in around 140 acres of parkland to the north of the New Forest, with more than 60 theme park rides and attractions and a fabulous range of gardens to wander around, and birds and animals to see. Plus, new for 2015 is ‘Critter Creek’ land, which opens at Easter, and a new 4D Sherlock Holmes adventure film which you can enjoy from February half term.

Please note that tickets are only valid during the Park’s advertised opening times and until 2nd November 2015. For details, please visit Tickets bought through New Forest Cottages are non-refundable. Please telephone the office to purchase your tickets.

For those more interested in the real porcine experience, Pannage season, when domestic pigs are released into the New Forest to feed on the acorns, beechmast and chestnuts from the forest floor, will happen again in the Autumn!

To book your New Forest Cottages holiday click here

Written by Hilary Short