The New Forest Wildlife Park is home to an abundance of wildlife creatures, including red deer stag, wild boar, European bison, owls, lynx, otters… the list goes on. Set in a sprawling expanse of parkland, there’s no missing the wolf enclosure or wallaby wood; the keepers will tell you all sorts of fun facts about the animals while they undertake their daily feeding rounds. you’ll also find out so much more about the animals
One of the best New Forest tourist attractions, if not in the whole of the UK, is the National Motor Museum. This world-renowned museum has over 285 vehicles on display, from former F1 cars to 19th century vehicles. It attracts car enthusiasts from across the world, or those who simply want to find out more about the motoring industry and its heritage. Get into the nitty gritty details of mechanical engineering, marvel at the multimedia displays and take in a recreated 1930s-style garage.
The New Forest is one of the most picturesque parts of the south of England, so why not make the most of it with a forest friendly cycle ride? The 14-mile route starts and ends at two quaint villages, Ashurst and Lyndhurst, and the route is mostly by road. This route allows you to take in wide-sweeping views of the countryside, tall trees and perhaps even a famed New Forest pony. Take in the fresh air and quaint ambience and reward yourself with a cup of tea and a slice of cake, in whichever village you choose to end the route at.
Seeing as the New Forest is home to over 3000 native ponies, one of the best New Forest attractions is to take a horse riding tour through the national park. There are plenty of bridleways and tracks that zig zag across the heathland, wrapping around coastal trails or weaving through the open countryside. Whether you’re a beginner or pro, hop into the saddle for an authentic New Forest experience. New Forest hotels don’t come more quintessential than a horse-ride through the national park – or even just spotting a New Forest Pony will suffice!
A firm family favourite, Paultons Park has a whole host of rides and attractions, set in 140 acres of parkland on the edge of the New Forest. Most of the rides are suitable for children under 14: think caterpillar rollercoasters, Grampy Rabbit’s Sailing Club and The Dinosaur Tour. It’s also home to Peppa Pig World, a theme park dedicated to the popular pink character. Aside from the rides, walk along the Discovery Trail and pause in the Japanese Garden
Located along Beaulieu River and steeped in maritime history, Buckler’s Hard is a popular stop-off point for sailing enthusiasts, although it’s also reachable from other land points. While you’re here, take in the two rows of houses that slope down towards the river. You’ll notice the wide space between the two rows; this was because trees were cut from the forest at the top, and then rolled down to the riverside for boatbuilding. You can find out more about its history at the likes of the Maritime Museum, Buckler’s Hard Village and Shipwright’s Cottage, to feel like you’ve truly stepped back in time.