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.
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, 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, 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, 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 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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