A history of witches and smugglers awaits you in the New Forest village of Burley; a location surrounded by glorious open heathland and wildlife. The village is a fascinating place, and still practices the thousand-year-old New Forest tradition of “commoning” – whereby ponies and cattle freely roam around the village. This has even led Burley Fire Station to insert a cattle grid at its entrance, ensuring no uninvited guests are getting in the way of the firefighters!
And while it’s certainly enchanting to wander amongst the friendly New Forest ponies, there’s even more magic to be found in this quirky village, with witchcraft playing a large role in its history. Britain’s most famous witch, Sybil Leek, lived here in the 1950s and opened a shop called A Coven of Witches which still exists today, alongside a variety of other shops with a magical theme.
Burley is a wonderful base for an active holiday, with cycle shops and a golf club offering some fantastic New Forest activities, while you’ll also find all the amenities you need in everyday life. A post office, newsagents, and village stores are all in the village, alongside a few rather special places we’ll uncover in this guide. Plus, if you’d like to browse our cosy collection of Burley cottages, just click the button below.
👉 Things to do
👉 Where to eat
👉 What’s on
👉 Where to stay
👉 How to get here
THINGS TO DO IN BURLEY
New Forest leisure cycling
There aren’t many better ways to get around the New Forest than by bicycle – and Burley is the perfect place to start your two-wheeled journey. Based right the heart of Burley village is Forest Leisure Cycling, a wonderful New Forest cycle shop and hire centre which has everything you need to start your bike ride. It’s close to the huge network of National Park trails, and the staff there are wonderfully helpful, ready to answer any questions you may have.
Burley Wagon Rides
If you’d rather someone else did the work on your foray around the area, may we suggest Burley Wagon Rides? One of the top things to do in Burley, New Forest, you can explore the scenery at a leisurely pace, with horse-drawn rides venturing through the village and into the nearby woodland. There are options of 20-minute drives to up to an-hour-and-a-half, and, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of fallow deer, red deer and New Forest ponies.
Burley Golf Club
Just outside the village, you’ll find Burley Golf Club, which welcomes visitors to come and enjoy its nine-hole course. Described as “The Friendly Club” in the New Forest, the location of the course is breathtaking, with views across the heathland where you can spot local wildlife as you play.
Shopping in Burley
There is a great variety of Burley shops to dip in and out of during your visit. One of the finest is Face The Music, which sells wonderful music-related gifts, while Burley Fudge offers a delicious assortment of homemade sweet treats which make wonderful presents for friends and family back home.
It’s also not unusual to see witch-related paraphernalia and ornaments in other shops. This is due to the village having a long connection with witches; most recently, during the 1950s, a self-style ‘white’ witch named Sybil Leek lived in the village and was often seen walking around with her pet jackdaw on her shoulder! Discover more about the Burley witches by visiting A Coven of Witches, Sybil’s original shop, as well as the Witchcraft Gift Shop.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK IN BURLEY
When it comes to lovely eateries, Burley has plenty of unique choices. As well as some great Burley pubs and restaurants, we wanted to showcase a handful of smaller places to eat in Burley, New Forest, each of which has a unique offering.
Best for local cider
At The Cider Pantry, you can of course sample some delicious New Forest Cider! If it’s a quick bite you’re after to refuel before heading off to explore, we recommend a cream tea too; scones with raisin and cider, with clotted cream and jam.
Best for coffee and cake
Another great pitstop is Burley Licious, whose homemade cakes are delivered in generous portions, while The Old Farmhouse Restaurant and Old Station Tea Rooms at Holmsley are also well worth a visit to whet your whistle or cure any hunger pangs.
Best for sweet treats
If you have a sweet tooth, Burley Fudge should be the first place on your list. Their handmade confectionary offers up everything from traditional clotted cream fudge, all the way through to more adventurous flavours including chilli chocolate.
Best for a Sunday roast
The pubs and Burley restaurants in the New Forest are equally as inviting, with plenty of history to boot. The Burley Inn serves food from noon up until 9pm with a fantastic roast on Sundays, Alternatively, The White Buck in Burley, New Forest, is a charming country house which offers a range of beers, ciders, wines and soft drinks, with an extensive menu catering for all ages and tastes.
Best for traditional pub grub
The village was previously a haunt for smugglers, and during recent renovation work, a secret cellar was found in The Queens Head pub! Pistols, coins, and other unusual items were discovered in the establishment, which dates to 1685. One of the best pubs in Burley, New Forest, its main menu has plenty of homely dishes, perfect for a relaxed evening meal.
Best for something a little fancy
When it comes to Burley restaurants, Burley Manor in the New Forest is a top choice for a meal to remember. Fresh, seasonal ingredients from the New Forest are used to create delicious dishes inspired by the Mediterranean, such as Sirloin steak a la plancha served with paprika fritas, oak leaf, and salsa verde.
WHAT’S ON IN BURLEY
For a small village, there’s a host of events in Burley throughout the year, from food to fairy festivals. Here are some of our favourite festivals in Burley, Hampshire.
New Forest Fairy Festival
The Burley New Forest Fairy Festival takes place every August and is a packed weekend of entertainment and workshops for the whole family. Dressed in your finest fairy and elf attire, you can enjoy live music, storytelling, belly dancing, craft stalls, tea parties, circus skills, a healing area, and even a dog show.
The Burley Food, Art and Drink Festival
Experience a jam-packed weekend of artisan food, drink and artistic creations, with the backdrop of the very best local musicians at the Burley Festival. Set in beautiful Manor Park, there will be stalls overflowing with local cheeses, meats and breads, as well as gins, real ales and ciders. You’ll also find local crafts, and cookery and arts workshops where you can learn fun new skills.
WHERE TO STAY IN BURLEY
From luxury houses for the whole family to cosy hideaways for you and your loved one, the perfect property is waiting for you right here in Burley. Many are dog-friendly, ensuring you won’t need to leave your pet at home, while there is also plenty of accommodation with beautiful countryside views. Here are some of our favourite places to stay in Burley, New Forest. You can also check out our full range of Burley cottages by clicking the button below.
After a wonderful day exploring the local walking trails, this romantic haven offers a blazing wood burner to snuggle beside. The beautiful interiors provide a calming space to relax and enjoy each other’s company and on a sunny day, there’s no better place to be than sat outside in the flower-filled garden while the BBQ sizzles away.
This cosy country cottage offers a warm welcome to families eager to explore the New Forest. Chilly wintry days are perfect for enjoying family boardgames beside the glow of the wood burner inside, while warm summer days will have the excitable kids racing around the large enclosed garden.
For an extra indulgent break away, this five-star retreat features decadent interiors and enjoys a sought-after spot in Burley, with a variety of walks direct from the garden gate. A cosy snug beckons children with its collection of toys, while adults can make the most of the wood burner, baskets of books, and luxurious king-size beds.
HOW TO GET TO BURLEY
Burley is on the western edge of the New Forest, 5 miles south-east of Ringwood. It has excellent access from both the A31 and A35 – just enter BH24 4AB in your satnav to head for the centre of the village.
Direct trains run to the New Forest from London Waterloo, Basingstoke, Winchester, Southampton, Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth. The nearest stations are Sway, Hinton Admiral and New Milton, all of which have busses running regularly to Burley.
Coaches also regularly drive through the New Forest, with National Express services stopping at Lyndhurst, Lymington and Ringwood. Again, from here you’ll need to catch a bus to Burley.
Map of Burley, New Forest
We hope you've found some inspiration for a memorable holiday in Burley. If you want to explore further, here's our guide to making the most out of your New Forest holiday. And if you’d like to see our full collection of holiday cottages in Burley, just click the button below.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.