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Top New Forest attractions holiday cottages

Top New Forest attractions

The New Forest is a top attraction itself. A true natural wonder with its acres of woodlands and heathlands, it has been enhanced with some great places to go for days out. Whether you’re a historian or into sports, or have a whole family in tow, the New Forest has something for you. Take a look at what to do below.

Paulton’s Park and Peppa Pig World

For young families, Paulton’s Park and Peppa Pig World is bound to be the highlight of the week. It's one of the best days out in the New Forest for babies, toddlers and young children, and great whether the sun's out or it's a rainy day. Peppa Pig World features themed rides, like a ride in a car with Daddy Pig, fly in the clouds to Windy Castle or whizz around in Miss Rabbit’s helicopter. Elsewhere, the kids can meet the real Peppa Pig and her family, whilst playing in her house and other scenes made famous by her wonderful books and TV show.

Besides Peppa Pig World there is a whole host of rides and games for all the family throughout Paulton’s Park at large. See a live Justin Fletcher show, or check out Paulton’s newest spectacle, The Lost Kingdom Dinosaur Theme Park. It houses two large rollercoasters, animatronic dinosaurs, prehistoric-style family rides and a Jurassic period-inspired adventure playground. If Peppa Pig is key to your family holiday, take a look at our cottages near Peppa Pig World and you'll be just down the road from Peppa and her friends.

Visitor information

  • Prices: Adults and children 1m and over £31.75, seniors £29.25, family tickets from £92.75, children under 1m free
  • Opening times vary - check website for full details
  • Wheelchair-friendly with many rides offering wheelchair access
  • Restaurants and gift shops on site
  • Toilets and baby changing facilities on site
  • Assistance dogs welcome only

Bucklers Hard Museum

Buckler’s Hard Maritime Museum is the best preserved example of an 18th century shipbuilding village in the world. Located on the banks of the Beaulieu River, it’s a grand day out for anyone with an interest in Maritime history, and a great rainy day activity.

Buckler’s Hard is regarded as the birthplace of the British naval vessel. Many of Admiral Nelson’s Trafalgar fleet was built from oak trees felled in the New Forest. Much of the village's heritage can still be seen in the terrace of former shipbuilders' houses. Catch a boat down river to birdwatch at the neighbouring North Solent National Nature Reserve too, if you have time. A guaranteed, excellent educational day for the whole family.

Visitor information

  • Prices: Adults £6.90, seniors (60+) £6.40, children (5-17) £4.70, family tickets £19.70
  • Opening times: 10am-5pm from 25th March to 30th September, 10am-4.30pm from 1st October to 24th March
  • See accessibility statement on website for full accessibility details
  • Restaurant, cafes, shops and picnic areas on site
  • Toilets and baby changing facilities on site
  • Dogs welcome outdoors only

Beaulieu – National Motor Museum & Estate

Beaulieu – National Motor Museum & Estate is home to one of the best and largest collections of automobiles in the world and that alone makes it one of the best family days out in the New Forest. Among its collection of prestigious cars include vehicles from film and TV, including the Trotters' van, and the World of Top Gear exhibit.

Besides its vast collection of motor vehicles, the museum is located in gorgeous, landscaped gardens. You can also visit Palace House and the ruins of the local abbey. The estate has a monorail and a vintage double decker bus to ferry you about the large estate if you don’t fancy walking. There are some great paths meandering in and out of the woodlands and walled gardens. Be sure to include a trip out to Beaulieu – a great destination for gardeners, kids and petrol heads alike.

Visitor information

  • Prices: Adults £24.75, over-60s and students £23.75, children £12.50, under-5s free, family tickets £64
  • Opening times: 10am-6pm in summer, 10am-5pm in winter
  • Wheelchair-friendly, with mobility scooters for hire
  • Restaurants, cafes, shops and picnic areas on site
  • Toilets and baby changing facilities on site
  • Dogs welcome in the grounds on a lead

New Forest Waterpark

Looking for something active for the whole family? The New Forest Water Park is the best place in the region to get involved in a bunch of water-based activities. These include wakeboarding, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, inflatable floating obstacle courses and more. It makes for a great all-weather day out.

Close to Ringwood and Fordingbridge, it’s within an hour’s drive from anywhere in the New Forest National Park area.

Visitor information

  • Prices vary depending on activity
  • Opening times vary - see website for full details
  • Disabled access
  • Cafe on site
  • Toilets on site
  • No dogs

Exbury Gardens

Exbury Gardens is a beautiful spot to spend a couple of hours, wandering among colourful blooms and getting lost along its 20 miles of pathways. Close to the Beaulieu River, the gardens are home to the Rothschild collection of plants and flowers. There are no less than three separate woods to explore and a collection of ponds with carp and pretty water insects too. If you feel like giving your feet a rest, ride the 12-gauge steam train along Exbury’s park railway and through the beautiful grounds. The tea rooms at Mr Eddy’s are also worth paying a visit to for refreshments.

Whether you're a garden enthusiast or simply want to admire some beautiful natural scenery, Exbury Gardens is a great day out for young and old alike.

Visitor information

  • Price: Adults from £11.50, children from £3.65, family tickets from £26.65, under-3s free
  • Opening times: 10am-5.30pm, from 20th March until 5th November only.
  • Dogs are welcome on the lead
  • Wheelchair-friendly, with a buggy service offered to help explore the gardens
  • Shop, cafe and picnic areas on site
  • Toilets and baby changing facilities available

Marwell Zoo

Located just outside of the New Forest, Marwell Zoo, near Winchester, is a fun-packed family day out with plenty of fantastic wildlife to see. Spread across 140 acres, there are hundreds of different animals to meet, including rhinos, penguins, meerkats, snow leopards, cheetahs, hippos and tigers. The zoo has now opened a new exhibit, the Lemur Loop, where you can get up close to four different kinds of lemurs.

There's also plenty of other things to do, from strolling through the gardens to a scenic train ride and letting the kids run free in the five adventure playgrounds. The Zoo continues to make strides in conversation and expansion, with a Tropical House planned to open in 2018.

Visitor information

  • Prices: Adults £19, children £15, under-2s free, students and seniors £16.50, family tickets £63
  • Opening times: open from 10am, closing times vary - see website for full details
  • Assistance dogs welcome only
  • Wheelchair friendly, carers go free
  • Cafes, kiosks, picnic areas and shop on site
  • Toilets and baby changing facilities available

If you're looking to stay close by and explore these attractions and the rest of what the National Park has to offer, take a look at our full collection of cottages in the New Forest for some inspiration on where to base your next holiday.

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