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Pony near Hampton Ridge
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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
June
Badgers can now often be watched above ground well before darkness falls.
Deer - fallow, red, roe, sika and muntjac deer are all present - give birth, although the youngsters are unlikely to be noticed until July.
Heath spotted-orchids add delicate pink colour to many of the heaths.
Hobbies, dashing birds of prey, can often be seen aloft, hawking for insects.

July
Silver-washed fritillary butterflies brighten many woodland rides.
Bird song subsides as the annual moult begins, old worn feathers are cast off and new replacements grown.
Wild gladiolus plants bloom. (In the UK, this species is found only in the New Forest).
Dragonflies and Damselflies take to the wing in ever increasing numbers.
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
June 2018
Saturday, 2nd - Burley Village Hall, Cycle Jumble.
Saturday, 9th - Blackwater, Sunset Safari (Forestry Commission), 8.30pm - 10.00pm, advance booking essential.
Friday, 15th - Brockenhurst Village Hall, Film Night - Darkest Hour (PG), 7.00pm - 10.30pm.
Saturday and Sunday, 16th and 17th - Exbury Gardens, Model Railway Expo, 10.00am - 5.30pm.

July 2018
Saturday, 21st April - Sunday, 8th July - New Forest Centre, Lyndhurst, Special Exhibition: Ancient and Remarkable Trees of the New Forest, 10.00am - 4.30pm.
Friday, 20th July - Brockenhurst Village Hall, Film Night - Walk Like a Panther (12A), 7.00pm - 10.30pm.
Wednesday, 25th July - Wild Wednesday, New Forest Reptile Centre, 10.30am - 4.00pm.
For further details, view the full New Forest What's on programme.
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley