New Forest Tourist Information and Tourism

(New Forest, Hampshire, England, UK)

Photograph of wild poniesWith National Park status, the New Forest in Hampshire is a beautiful combination of lush woodland, rolling countryside, open heathland, plentiful wildlife, small towns and charming villages. The wild New Forest ponies graze at the side of the road and wander free into towns, appearing quite oblivious to any traffic.

One of the biggest expanses of natural flora existing in England, the New Forest is unusual in that it promotes tourism and encourages visitors to come here and enjoy its undeniable beauty, and each year, some seven million people do just that. Summer camping is extremely popular in the New Forest, particularly around the town of Lyndhurst, which is home to the main tourist information centre. Brockenhurst is another prominent town here, being home to a very noteworthy train station.

View of yachts at the Bucklers Hard waterfront

New Forest Tourist Information and Tourism: Top Sights

Camping is one of the most popular ways to holiday in the New Forest, and there are many official camping sites and caravan parks here, although it should be noted that you are not allowed to simply pitch a tent within the open forest. Designated campsites can be found around the towns of Brockenhurst, Lyndhurst and New Milton, and close to the villages of Ashurst, Beaulieu, Burley, Fritham, Holmsley and Sway. All camping sites are graded and usually come with good facilities and countryside views. For the more adventurous, outdoor bushcraft survival courses are gaining quite a following. More information about New Forest Camping.

Different picture of waterfront at Bucklers HardThe reasons that so many people now visit the New Forest are varied, and whilst many come to soak up the tranquility and enjoy a picnic with the ponies, others come here to cycle, trek and to explore the various towns and villages. Beaulieu is a good starting point for families and is home to an enormous estate, complete with stately home (Palace House), ancient monastery, mono train rides and a world-famous motor museum. Tourists in the New Forest also favour the principal towns of Brockenhurst and Lyndhurst, where shops, restaurants and place to stay are plentiful, while other favour the witchcraft heritage of Burley, the quay and marina at Lymington, and the gorgeous gardens and steam railway at Exbury. More information about New Forest Tourist Attractions.

Countryside image, showing pathwayApart from the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, there are a number of additional attractions of a cultural nature spread around the New Forest. One particular must-see is Bucklers Hard, which is a gathering of historical red-brick cottages and once the site of a major shipbuilding industry. Information about the rich heritage of Bucklers Hard is to be found at the hamlet's resident Maritime Museum. The New Forest Museum and Visitor Centre is another good place to come and contains not only information about the park itself, but exhibits relating to conservation work, forestry, wildlife and local Hampshire art work. More information about New Forest Museums.

Countryside view, showing grazing poniesThe New Forest National Park has ample tourist attractions to keep even the most avid sightseer fully occupied during a long holiday. However, there are enticing day trips available in every single direction, with the cities of Salisbury and Southampton being located to the north-east and east respectively. To the south-west, the coastal resorts of Bournemouth, Poole and even Swanage are all within easy reach of the New Forest. Many tourists like to jump aboard one of the regular ferries departing from Lymington and head on over to the Isle of Wight for a day or two. Close to Lymington, the beaches around Milford on Sea and Highcliffe are particularly close and inviting, particularly when the summer sunshine is strong. More information about New Forest Attractions Nearby.

More New Forest Information / Fast Facts and Orientation