It’s no secret that I have a slight appreciation for the New Forest, Hampshire, and get asked quite often for recommendations on where to visit. I figured a New Forest exploring guide would make for quite an interesting blog post, should you be visiting the area or just fancy having a gander at where I spend the majority of my free time.
This obviously isn’t an extensive guide, as the New Forest occupies over 571 km², but here’s a few of my favourite spots that I feel like you shouldn’t miss. If you’ve got any recommendations yourself, leave them in the comments section below, as I’d love to discover somewhere new in my favourite forest!
It won’t be surprising to some that I’ve put Burley right at the top of my list (Kieran and I love it so much that we’ll be getting married at Burley Manor in 2019!).
Burley Manor’s beautiful conservatory restaurant, which offers stunning views of the front groundsIf you’re into your history, Burley is renowned as being home to self styled white witch Sybil Leeks in the 1950’s and has an appropriately titled gift shop, Coven of Witches, that cater to all of your spellbinding needs. It’s my go to for crystals and incense sticks!
Stunning walks and interesting history aside, Burley is also home to my favourite pub, The White Buck which, with its cosy heritage atmosphere, is a must after your outdoor excursions.
Rhienfield Ornamental Drive, which is situated between Brockenhurst and the A35, is another firm favourite of both Kieran and I. Rhinefield is home to the tallest and oldest Douglas firs and redwoods in the New Forest, and is a beautiful spot to visit whatever the weather. I think one of my favourite walks was here in the pouring rain, wrapped up in waterproofs and wellies, with two overly excited pups!
Not too long ago, Kieran treated me to a trip to the New Forest Wildlife Park, as I had never been before. Shortly after we took his niece and nephew along for a second visit! This amazing wildlife park, which contributes towards the conservation of endangered animals and works closely with the RSPCA, is perfect for families and animal lovers alike. With a resident lynx called Munchkin, bisons, deer and wolves, as well as a cafe, gift shop and picnic tables, there’s plenty to see and do to keep everyone, from little (and big) kids alike, occupied.
We stayed at Aldridge Hill the night before the New Forest Fairy Festival in August of this year, but would happily make a return visit just for the camping itself. With stunning views of the woodland, this camp site is a must for those after a more remote camping experience.
There are no on site facilities, meaning you need to bring along your own portable toilet and shower tent, but that added to the charm of going completely out in the sticks… especially with a herd of horses contentedly grazing a stones throw away. We booked our trip with Camping in the Forest, who offer numerous camping sites with different facilities.