5 Reasons to Visit The New Forest 



I’m fortunate to have The New Forest a 20 minute drive from where I live, and I think it’s possibly one of the most beautiful areas in the country to GetOutside 🙂

​If you’re looking for steep inclines, scrambling and climbs then you won’t find it here, but if you want to walk in stunning scenery, with a beautiful coastline and some unique sights along the way, then you won’t be disappointed…

Here are 5 reasons I think everyone should visit this wonderful area of Hampshire!

1. The locals are very friendly…

But beware, they can bite, so don’t touch or feed them.

​They are known to have a habit of walking right in front of you, or sleeping in the road as well, so drive carefully.

Aside from that? They’re basically supermodels and will be more than happy to pose for a photo.

They’ve even been known to take over some of the local hotels on occasion…

2. Incredible sunsets…

Seriously, I think these could rival some of the sunsets I’ve seen abroad.

​The New Forest is beautiful, come rain or shine, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a sucker for a good sunset.

3. The beaches aren’t bad either.

Lepe Beach is my absolute favourite in the New Forest, and I wrote a whole post on it – here – not only is it beautiful, but it’s also steeped in history. Thousands of troops along with their equipment and supplies left Lepe Beach as part of Operation Overlord. They sailed to Normandy for the D-Day Landings. Today, you can still see where the ‘Mulberry Harbours’ were constructed and launched. As well as this, you have views all across the Solent to Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

If watersports are more your thing, then definitely visit Calshot. Not only can you see all the way up Southampton Water, but there is a huge activity centre there, where you can sail, canoe, windsurf or even ski and rock climb.

Prefer to sit on the beach, then you can walk along the beach, past rows of colourful beach huts at Calshot, or head over to Milford on Sea, for stunning views across to The Needles on the Isle of Wight!

4. It’s full of history

Starting as far back as 1079, when William the Conqueror created the New Forest as a hunting ground, it has a long past, with a lot of famous history. In the Tudor period, with Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries Beaulieu Abbey was demolished. A lot of the stone and even the lead from the abbey roof was removed and they built Calshot and Hurst Castle from this.
Buckler’s Hard was one of the most famous shipbuilding villages in the country, situated on the Beaulieu River, in a sheltered location. A number of Royal Navy ships were built here, including Horatio Nelson’s most favourite ship, HMS Agamemnon. Today, it’s a museum and a beautiful location to sit and watch the yachts sailing down the river. There’s a lovely boat trip, or if you’re feeling adventurous, a cycle and walking trail to Beaulieu along the river. I made this in to a long loop walk/bike ride, which you can check out –here– it can be adapted and made shorter if you don’t want a 10 mile weekend yomp 🙂 
 In the war, as I mentioned above, Lepe was heavily involved with Operation Overlord, but as well as this the New Forest was full of military camps and bases. Calshot was a naval air station, RAF Needs Oar Point was not far from Buckler’s Hard and some of the large houses on the Beaulieu River were used as makeshift bases for organisations such as the Hydrographic Office and homes for some of the Commando units.

Southampton Water is one of the largest natural harbours in the world, and because of this it’s been used as a strategic settlement location from the prehistoric ages to the present day, it’s now home to some of the largest cruise ships in the world and an important cargo port. You can get a brilliant view of this working port from Marchwood, on the edge of the New Forest.

5. There’s something for everyone…

Enjoy walking, cycling, horse riding? The New Forest has it all. Even an open top bus ride!

With 146 miles of paths for walking, over 100 miles of cycle routes, 35 miles of bridleways and 103 sq miles of publicly accessible land, you’ll be hard pushed not to find somewhere to GetOutside!

The New Forest website – here –  has a whole page dedicated to routes in the forest – here –  or why not check out the Ordnance Survey OS Maps website, where people have managed to input their favourite walks. A quick search brings up a lot of both walking and cycling routes, so you really are spoilt for choice!

Source: OS Maps – osmaps.ordnancesurvey.co.uk

How do I get to the New Forest?

The New Forest covers a large area of Hampshire, so it really depends which are you want to visit, but you can drive, fly to Southampton, get the train or even cycle if you’re feeling energetic. The road links are wonderful an there are a number of train stations within the forest. Beaulieu Road, Ashurst and Brockenhurst to name a few! You could also get the ferry to Portsmouth and the train, or the ferry from the Isle of Wight to Lymington.

There are so many options available to you.

In terms of accommodation, there are hundreds of B&B’s, Campsites and hotels in and around the New Forest.

For food and drink? There are shops, cafes, restaurants and some fantastic pubs (some of which are a great start and end point to a walk)

The only downside?

Traffic can be a real nightmare…
 Why not get thinking of your summer holiday now? Or even a weekend away from it all.

These are just a few of the reasons I love the New Forest, and I hope some of you will fall in love with it too!

Have you visited the New Forest? What do you love about it? What would you recommend for people visiting?