Where to Stay in New Forest
From coastal villages to woodland hideaways our guide to the New Forest will help you plan the perfect stay in one of the UK’s favourite national parks.
The New Forest is a sprawling woodland in Hampshire on England’s south coast. With its heathland, forest trails and native ponies the New Forest is perfect for a relaxing weekend getaway from London. Make sure to bring the bicycles and pack a sturdy pair of walking shoes as there are miles and miles of stunning landscapes to roam. With plenty of beautiful homes to choose from on Plum Guide, we explore where to stay in New Forest and what to do in this idyllic part of England.
The coastal town of Lymington is chock full of charm from the marina to the seawater lido. What’s a lido we hear you ask? Lidos are outdoor swimming pools often by the coast and take their name from the Italian for “beach”. Lymington’s lido also happens to be the oldest in the country. Left your swimming costume at home? Don’t despair, there are lots of attractions on dry land too, including St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery and Quay Hill, a charming cobbled street lined with tearooms, restaurants and wine cellars.
The New Forest is famed for wild ponies which roam the woodland. There’s a good chance you’ll spot these little fellas around Brockenhurst. Take your pick of trails including 'Castleman’s Corkscrew', a disused railway line, Hawkhill Trail and Whitefield Moor. Experience a wide variety of ecosystems and get closer to nature. Don’t worry if you can’t bring your own bikes as there are plenty of rental companies to choose from. If you prefer four legs to two wheels then check out Brockenhurst Riding Stables and Ford Farm Stables for guided rides.
Beaulieu is a small village located on the southeastern edge of the New Forest national park. It’s top two attractions are Palace House and the National Motor Museum, which includes the World of Top Gear exhibition based on the popular car show. Palace House is a stately home which has been in the same family for around 500 years. Take a guided tour of the building, once the gatehouse of the medieval Beaulieu Abbey. The Abbey itself was destroyed by King Henry VIII during the dissolution of the monasteries in the mid-sixteenth century, but you can still explore the atmospheric ruins and aromatic herb gardens.
Looking for a characterful holiday home near Beaulieu? Look no further than Hare & Hound for the perfect option when picking where to stay in New Forest. The peaceful surroundings, historic art and quirky garden tent for outdoor entertaining earned it a nomination for this year’s Plum Guide award.
Saddle up and ride the Woodland Explorer Food Trail taking in sights like the Canadian War Memorial. Detour along the Deer Watch trail where these usually reclusive creatures are fed every day from April until September. The trail takes you past plenty of pubs, restaurants and picnic spots. If you’ve come to the New Forest looking for nature then look no further than the New Forest Reptile Centre. Created for kids but no less fascinating for the young at heart, the centre houses a unique collection of native lizards, snakes, frogs and toads, including the adder, the only venomous species of snake living in Britain.
When it comes to picking where to stay in New Forest, you might be after a little more action rather than rest and relaxation. Get your adrenaline pumping with a visit to the archery and axe throwing centre and unleash your inner Medieval warrior. Then head to the New Forest Water Park for wakeboarding and water skiing. Take a well-earned break at The Three Lions, a bistro pub founded by a former Michelin starred chef. If trying local brews is your thing then don’t miss Ringwood Brewery which has been making craft beers in the heart of the forest for nearly 50 years.
After an action-packed day in Fordingbridge, you’ll need a place to rest your head. Riverside Chronicles is a gorgeous holiday home with nature literally on its doorstep. Set on a small lake by the River Avon, there’s even a secluded glamping pod for those who really want to leave the hustle and bustle of city life behind.
Being close to Bournemouth means Sopley has the best of both worlds. Enjoy the seclusion of the New Forest while being a stone’s throw from the urban south coast. The sleepy village of Sopley has a cute farm shop with homegrown produce perfect for self-catering. Take a short drive to Bournemouth for activities including 4x4 off-roading courses and clay pigeon shooting, for those who like to play lord and lady of the manor.
Make a stay in Sopley even more appealing by booking Bell Hatch, a cosy country cottage built nearly 200 years ago. The neighbouring church, local pub and river create an idyllic scenery that immerses you in village life.
If our list of places to stay in the New Forest has you planning your visit then browse our selection of handpicked vacation homes to make your stay that bit more special. Need more inspiration for choosing places to visit in England? Look no further than our guide to some of the country’s best-loved spots.