New Forest
 - Explorers
New Forest
Explorers Guide
Places to stay composite image
Pony near Hampton Ridge
For comprehensive information about the New Forest National Park
For comprehensive information about the New Forest National Park

New Forest places to stay - an introduction

New Forest donkeys are a popular sight with visitors to the area
New Forest donkeys are a
popular sight with visitors to the area

The larger New Forest villages - Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Burley, Lyndhurst and Sway - offer a wide choice of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets, whilst many of the smaller hamlets provide attractive places to stay for those who prefer to be a little ‘off-the-beaten-track’.

Caravan and campsites are also well-spread around the area and include those on the Crown Lands managed by 'Camping in the Forest', and a further range of privately owned sites.

New Forest places to stay - the larger villages at a glance

Lyndhurst (A)

Lyndhurst, often considered to be the capital of the New Forest, is an ever-popular destination for visitors attracted, in part, by its many and varied shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. Access to the open Forest is readily available, including via Bolton’s Bench, an area of grassland on the village outskirts ideal for kite flying, football and cricket, and for simply relaxing in the fresh air. The New Forest Centre, situated off the main car park, provides a fascinating glimpse of Forest life in days-gone-by, whilst the popular Community Centre hosts a range of events and activities.

Brockenhurst (B)

Brockenhurst, a bustling but traditional village in the heart of the New Forest, provides direct access to extensive tracts of woodland and heathland so much appreciated by walkers, cyclists and those who simply want to relax in the countryside. The parish church of St. Nicholas is thought to be the oldest church in the New Forest. Lymington, an attractive Georgian market town from where a ferry can be taken for a day out on the Isle of Wight, is only 7 kilometres (4¼ miles) away; whilst the coastline between Lymington and Keyhaven offers further variety.

Beaulieu (C)

Beaulieu, a delightful village located in the south-east of the New Forest, grew up in the shadow of the nearby Cistercian Abbey, founded way back in 1204. Now the site of Palace House and the National Motor Museum – both open to the public throughout the year – the Abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1538. Nearby Buckler’s Hard provides a taste of 18th century living, the Montagu Arms Hotel in Beaulieu village centre offers fine food and wines, whilst the tidal mill-pool is home to a wide range of wildlife.

Burley (D)

Burley, set close to the western edge of the New Forest, is a picturesque village of modest size where ponies and other commoners’ animals wander the streets, just as they have from time immemorial. Conveniently located for forays into the relatively rugged, western and north-western sections of the New Forest, the village also provides a useful base for days out to the coast at Christchurch and Bournemouth, for visits to the nearby Avon valley for those who wish to experience rural tranquility away from the New Forest, and for a trip to the impressive cathedral city of Salisbury.

Sway (E)

Sway is around 4.5 kilometres (2¾ miles) south-west of Brockenhurst. A small(ish) village just outside the old New Forest perambulation, yet within the New Forest National Park, Sway has a railway station on the Weymouth / Bournemouth / Southampton / London Waterloo main line, and a number of shops, pubs, restaurants, bed and breakfast premises, hotels and numerous residential properties.

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New Forest seasonal highlights
Lesser celandine blooms illuminate woodlands, and heathland edges.
Fallow deer remain in single sex herds, the bucks at this time always separate from the does.
Curlews return from the coast to breed in and around the New Forest's wetter areas.

Red admiral butterflies are increasingly seen on bright, sunny days.

Redstarts are amongst the first returning, long distant migrant birds that arrive in April.
Large red damselflies take to the wing, the first of many such species that will soon be seen in the New Forest.
Bluebells blossom, sometimes in good numbers in ungrazed woodlands.
Badger cubs first appear above ground towards the end of the month.
New Forest ponies
New Forest ponies in the road
New Forest ponies, cattle, pigs, sheep and donkeys are a popular part of the New Forest scene, but in 2015, 55 were killed on the roads.
Always take care when driving
New Forest 'what's on' - a small
selection of local events and activities
March 2018
Saturday, 3rd - Lyndhurst Community Centre, New Forest Book Fair, 10.00am - 4.00pm.
Sunday, 11th March to Monday, 2nd April - Exbury Gardens, Lachenalia and Orchid Exhibition, 10.00am - 5.30pm (last admission 4.30pm).
Friday, 16th - Brockenhurst Village Hall, Film Night - Goodbye Christopher Robin (PG), 7.00pm - 10.30pm.
Saturday, 17th - Burley Village Hall, Burley Scouts' Quiz.

April 2018
Wednesday 4th and 11th - Wild Wednesday, New Forest Reptile Centre, 10.30am - 4.00pm.
Monday, 9th - Burley Village Hall, Film Night.
Thursday, 12th - Wild About Ponies, Bolton's Bench Car Park, 1.00pm - 2.00pm.
Sunday, 22nd - Exbury Gardens, Devoted to Dogs Day, 10.00am - 5.30pm.
For further details, view the full New Forest What's on programme.
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley