New Forest National Park

New Forest Ponies at Lepe, New Forest National Park, Hampshire, England
New Forest Ponies, New Forest National Park, Hants – by Geni © Wikipedia commons

The New Forest National Park is located in the counties of Hampshire and Wiltshire in south west England. Designated a national park in 2005, the New Forest is one of the most recent national parks in the UK, the area is known for its scenic landscapes, ancient trees, ponies, charming small towns and villages and for being a place of tranquillity located in built up south England. The majority of the national park is located in Hampshire with a small part in the north located in Wilshire, when designated in 2005 the New Forest incorporated the former South Hampshire Coast – Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) within its borders.

By area the New Forest is one of the more compact national parks in the UK, the area has a long history, plenty of charm and character and includes Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).

The area is popular for day trippers, horse riding, golf, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, yachting, walking and cycling with a number of routes to explore. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of the landscape and wildlife, take part in a number of activities and enjoy the tranquilly and peace of the area.

Quick Facts

New Forest National Park:

Year of Designation: 2005

Population: 34,400

Scheduled Ancient Monuments: 61

Conservation Areas: 18

Size in square kilometres: 570

Main Settlements: Brockenhurst, Burley, Lyndhurst and Lymington.
Located in: Hampshire and Wiltshire.
Highest Point: Telegraph Hill at 140 metres.


New Forest National Park is located mainly in the county of Hampshire with a small portion located in Wiltshire; the national park is an oasis of tranquillity and calm alongside the hustle and bustle and large cities and towns in southern England. Historically the New Forest dates back approx 1,000 years, created by King William the Conqueror in 1079 as a royal hunting forest, the area has witnessed a number of historical events that have over the years help to shape the cultural history and landscape in the national park. The coastal heritage includes thousands of years with changing landscapes and environments that include environments including open water, offshore sandbanks and tidal estuaries.

The location in the southern England in the counties of Hampshire and Wiltshire means visitors to New Forest increase in the summer months with many visitors and holiday makers visiting the region on holiday and short breaks. New Forest is located approx 90 miles from London, making it an accessible location for visitors from London, the south east, south west and midlands regions, the distance means visitors can enjoy a weekend or short break at the national park.

The area is famous for its large areas of heathland, variety of landscapes including a scenic coastline, a variety of habitats that supporting a range of wildlife and charming local towns and villages that are full of history and tradition. The New Forest does not include any major cities or towns within its borders, the main settlements include Brockenhurst, Burley, Lyndhurst and Lymington with a number of smaller villages and hamlets. The city of Southampton is located within 10 miles from the village of Lyndhurst located in the heart of the national park.

The Special qualities relating to the areas landscape, history, wildlife, natural beauty and biodiversity ensure New Forest is a special place. The qualities include its areas of woodland, ancient trees and heathland; that is unusual to find in southern England. The distinctive character, way of life, traditions and strong local communities evident in its towns, villages and hamlets, archaeology, historical cultural heritage and nature conservation and variety of wildlife including ponies, donkeys, cattle and pigs roaming free in the woods, make New Forest a special place.

Local accommodation includes a wide choice of hotels including luxury 5 star establishments and budget stays, B & B’s, Guest Houses, Self Catering houses, cottages, camping facilities and pub stays; there is accommodation available in Brockenhurst, Lyndhurst, Lymington, Woodlands and more that are all conveniently located for further exploring the New Forest. The city of Southampton offers a choice of accommodation, facilities, amenities and transport links making it a popular choice for visitors to base themselves from when exploring New Forest and the surrounding local area.

Visitor attractions in the area include Beaulieu located in the village of Beaulieu in the south east of the national park. There are a number of attractions for visitors to see here including the historic house, National Motor Museum, Abbey and Gardens offering something for everyone. The impressive palace house includes a number of interesting rooms and impressive collections including pictures and artefacts collected over the years.

Beaulieu Abbey dates back to the 13th century and there is a film and exhibition visitors can see to learn more about the daily life of the Abbey's founders. The National Motor Museum is one of the best known and most popular attractions at Beaulieu attracting a large number of visitors, there are over of 250 vehicles on show that cover every motoring period. The Gardens have been cared for by several generations of the Montagu family. The gardens include the Victoria Flower Garden known for its fragrance and the Wilderness Garden known as an informal garden.

Visitor Centres are located at locations across the New Forest. Visitor centres are located at Lyndhurst and Lymington, each has knowledgeable staff with local knowledge on local attractions, things to see and do, local tips and advice. The centres include books, maps, gifts, stationary and more. There are other visitor/information centres located at Hythe, Fawley, Fordingbridge (summer only), New Milton, Ringwood and Totton in the New Forest. A visit to the main centres and other visitor information points provide a good first port of call for visitors and can help to better plan, organise and enjoy your trip.

The New Forest Centre is located in Lyndhurst in the heart of the New Forest. Visitors can see the museum, library, exhibition gallery and visitor centre. The museum includes a number of displays, exhibitions and activities; there are displays on the history of the New Forest, displays and exhibitions relating to the areas geology, wildlife, conservation and local life. The gallery has a year round exhibition programme and is uses for lectures, workshops and demonstrations. The reference library contains the most comprehensive collection of books, maps and resources on the New Forest. The visitor information centre provides local help, knowledge and expertise to help make your visit to the area an enjoyable one.

New Forest Towns & Villages include Lymington located on the southern edge of the New Forest. The coastal town has a long and rich maritime history as a seaport and includes a Georgian High Street where visitors can find a street market on Saturdays. The market sells local craftwork, antiques and foods. The old town includes the distinctive cobbled streets adding to the touch of heritage and history in the town, the Quay is where visitors an see a number of fishing boats alongside luxurious yachts. Local attractions include boat trips to see both the near by Isle of Wight and the Solent, there is also a nature reserve located close by. The St Barbe Museum and art gallery explores the history of Lymington and the New Forest incorporating a number of displays, exhibitions, artefacts and events. The town offers a range of shops, restaurants and amenities making it a popular place for visitors to base themselves when exploring the New Forest and the surrounding areas.

Brockenhurst is a village located 5 miles north of Lymington, one of the largest villages in the New Forest, the village retains its character and charm making it a popular place for visitors. The village centre includes a range of shops, cafes and restaurants, the village is well known for its unfenced village centre where visitors may see local animals such as ponies and donkeys walking around. The watersplash is located close by to the centre of the village where visitors can see animals come and have a drink. Next to the village there is plenty of open heathland and woodland offering the opportunity to enjoy a number of fantastic, scenic walks.

Burley is a village located in the south west of the New Forest. Burley has all the hallmarks of a traditional village of the area with art galleries, gift shops, tea rooms to enjoy hot and cold refreshments and snacks. The village is known for its old world charm, there are thatched cottages with cattle and ponies’ roaming around the village, Burley retains its distinctive character and history. The village includes a number of shops, cider farm and art galleries, where is a feeling of peace and tranquillity here making it a great place to relax and enjoy a stroll in scenic surroundings. The heathland located close by is ideal for walking, riding and cycling enthusiasts, visitors can enjoy a tractor ride in Burley Park and catch a glimpse of the red deer.

Lyndhurst is a charming village located in the heart of the New Forest, its central location makes it an ideal place from which to explore the national park. The village has royal connections with monarchs staying at the Royal Manor throughout the centuries. Lyndhurst includes a choice of shops and a choice of eateries including cafes, tea rooms, restaurants and charming traditional pubs offering a range of foods and drinks. Local attractions include the St. Michael and All Angels noted for being built from bricks of different colours, the Church of the Assumption and St Edward the Confessor, an impressive catholic church and the Queen’s House thought to date back to the 13th century. The New Forest Centre is a museum, library and visitor centre. Other attractions located close by are the Longdown Activity Farm and the New Forest Wildlife Park.

Guided Walks & Activities are available in New Forest, with professional, knowledgeable guides visitors can benefit from local knowledge and expertise. Guided walks and activities are available from private guides and organised walking events that are held throughout the year; visitors can take part in a number of walks, trails and a range of activities with a number of talks and workshops where visitors can learn more about the national park, its landscape, wildlife and much more. Walking picnics are popular offering visitors with a great way to explore the national park and see the best in the varied wildlife and natural beauty of the park. The activities and walks cater for people of all abilities, with a range of things to see, so and experience, there is something for most tastes and interests.

For visitors the New Forest has plenty to offer, it is a popular destination for day trippers, weekend and short breaks enjoying good transport links and being easily assessable from London and southern England. The range of landscapes including a scenic coastline, natural beauty, charming villages and hamlets makes the New Forest a great place to relax and enjoy the great outdoors away from the stresses and strains of everyday life.

How to Get There

The New Forest is accessible by both car and public transport.

By Car:

The New Forest is located just under 90 miles from central London. From London, take the A4, then the M4 motorway up to junction 4b. Then at junction 4b take the M25 S towards Heathrow and Gatwick Airport. Continue on the M25 until junction 12 and take the M3 towards Southampton. At junction 13 of the M3 exit towards Southampton Docks/Bournemouth and merge on to the M27 motorway take goes to the New Forest. The approx journey time is 1 hour 35 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes depending on traffic and time of day.

By Train:

The train station at Brockenhurst is located in the heart of the New Forest, there are regular services from London Waterloo the journey time is approx 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on service and time of day. There are services from London Paddington via Reading that go to Brokenhurst too, the approx journey time is 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on service, time of day and connections. The other train stations located inside the national park are Ashurst, Beaulieu Road and Sway.

By Bus/Coach:

There are regular coaches available from London Victoria Coach station to Lymington. The approx journey times are 3 hours to 3 hours 45 minutes, depending on service, traffic and time of day. Coach services are provided by National Express

Contact Details

New Forest Park Authority
Lymington Town Hall
Avenue Road
SO41 9ZG

Telephone: +44 (0)1590 646600

Website: New Forest National Park Authority


View Larger Map

For Local Search and Directions see: New Forest National Park Map

Tips & Other Considerations

The weather and climate can be unpredictable, there can be elements of all four seasons in one day. Ensure you check the weather forecast before you travel and have the correct clothing and footwear including comfortable walking shoes, fleece, raincoat and umbrella.

Follow travel advice and remain alert, vigilant and aware of your belongings at all times especially your wallet/purse and valuables and ensure they are hidden away from public view. If you have a bag try to use a shoulder bag with a good quality, strong strap, that is put across your shoulder not on your shoulder making it more difficult for anyone to take your bag.

If you are travelling by car to the New Forest ensure you are well prepared with maps and Sat Nav to aid your journey, particularly if you are not familiar with the local area and roads. Use the journey planner for door to door directions. Check traffic updates before you travel.

If you are looking for car parking in and around the national park, ensure you fully understand the rules, regulations & charges for car parks and street parking. The rules & regulations can be complex & confusing if you are unclear, it is wise not to park there.

If you are travelling by public transport, check for service updates prior to beginning your journey for any delays, disruption or cancellations to services that may impact on your journey. Ensure you have the service timetables for the trains, trams, buses and coaches. Remember when the last services are and ensure you make it to the train/bus/coach stops well in time to avoid missing the service.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Disclaimer: The information given in on this website is given in good faith and to the best of our knowledge. If there are any discrepancies in no way do we intend to mislead. Important travel details and arrangements should be confirmed and verified with the relevant authorities.
Copyright © 2024 Essential Travel Guide Ltd. All Rights Reserved. No part of this site may be reproduced in any form or by any means without our written permission.