New Forest Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing

(New Forest, Hampshire, England, UK)

Photo of Palace House at BeaulieuVisitors to the New Forest really do have an enormous selection of tourist attractions to choose between, ranging from picture-postcard villages surrounded by gorgeous countryside, to busy seaside towns and beaches. As you explore the area, you will soon discover that it is the views and wildlife that are as big an attraction as anything, with New Forest ponies openly grazing in unfenced paddocks and often wandering across roads and into towns.

The New Forest Tour is a must for sightseers and this popular bus tour transports tourists around the main places of interest and attractions, such as Beaulieu, Brockenhurst and Lyndhurst. Alternatively, there are lots of pathways, cycle trails and horse riding opportunities should you wish to ditch your car. For children, a day out at either Beaulieu, Exbury Gardens or Paultons Park will be a day to remember for a long time.

Further view of Beaulieu's Palace House


Address: Beaulieu, New Forest, Hampshire, England, UK
Tel: +44 01590 612345
One of the biggest tourist attractions in the whole of the New Forest, Beaulieu stands out and draws visitors from well outside of the park's boundaries. This magnificent estate began its life at the beginning of the 13th century, when a group of monks founded an important Cistercian monastery. In the early part of the 16th century, the Beaulieu Estate changed hands, being purchased by the ancestors of today's Montague family. Attractions here include the Beaulieu Light Railway and its monorail train rides, the historic abbey and Palace House, which features an unusual mixture of 14th-century Gothic architecture and 19th-century Scottish Baronial features. Guided tours of the Palace House allow you to learn more about the history of this grand residence and the surrounding estate. However, it is the Beaulieu National Motor Museum that serves as the star attraction here. Beaulieu has so much to offer that it will easily fill an entire day, and if you are left wanting more, then keep hold of your tickets, since they allow you to return at anytime over the next six days.
Open hours: daily, May to September - 10:00 to 18:00, October to April - 10:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts for children

Cycle trail photo

Outdoor Activities

Address: New Forest, Hampshire, England, UK
The New Forest is abound with outdoor activities and possibilities, particularly during the summer months, when the various pathways and walking trails really do come into their own. Cycling is one of the main recreational attractions here, with cycle shops a plenty. If you wish to hire a bicycle, then there are cycle shops in both Brockenhurst and Lyndhurst. Cycle route maps are available at these bike shops, as well as at the visitors centres. Horse riding in another appealing way to explore this national park, with riders of all abilities being welcomed at the Sandy Balls Stables in Godshill, and at the Burley Villa School of Riding, close to New Milton.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free, charge for horse riding and cycle rental

Lyndhurst photo of town centre


Address: Lyndhurst, New Forest, Hampshire, England, UK
Lyndhurst enjoys a central setting in the New Forest and as such, is widely considered to be the park's principal town and capital. An especially pretty town, Lyndhurst offers many attractions, which come in the form of shops, sumptuous hotels and highly recommended restaurants, a number of which are considered to be gourmet haunts. Lyndhurst is a rather wealthy and affluent town, with a swanky Ferrari dealership located on the High Street. The New Forest Museum and Visitor Centre is yet another highlight here, where you can learn more about the native ponies, herds of deer and other wildlife.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Image of wild ponies at Brockenhurst


Address: Brockenhurst, New Forest, Hampshire, England, UK
Brockenhurst is another must-see town in the New Forest, although it does rather tend to play second fiddle to Lyndhurst. Located on the southern side of the park, Brockenhurst is a convenient transport hub, being home to a busy train station. Many of the most noteworthy walking trails and cycle paths tend to begin at Brockenhurst and regularly draw large crowds, passing by open green spaces, where cattle and ponies graze freely. Close by, the North and South Weirs join together to form a small stream, which meanders through much of Brockenhurst and often flows right across Brookley Road, where it is known as 'The Splash'.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Photograph of Witchcraft shop at Burley


Address: Burley, New Forest, Hampshire, England, UK
A charming village situated on the south-westerly side of the New Forest, close to Ringwood, Burley is known for its rich heritage and legends, which feature everything from witchcraft and dragons, to smuggling. Many of the gift shops in Burley capitalise on its association with witches and sell related souvenirs and ornaments. Tearooms are in good supply in Burley, although many tourists prefer to take a horse and carriage ride around the village.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Lymington waterfront view


Address: Lymington, New Forest, Hampshire, England, UK
Lymington lies on the far southerly outskirts of the New Forest and is full of vibrant shops and eateries. The high street is a prominent road in Lymington and leads towards the quayfront and marina. This waterfront is a very pleasant place to hang out, with lots of fishing boats and yachts to watch, as well as freshly caught fish being sold. The narrow lanes and streets are worth a look, since they are home to chocolate-box cottages, complete with meticulously thatched roofs and pretty gardens. Regular ferries connect Lymington with the attractions of the Isle of Wight, if you fancy a day trip to remember.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Central photo of Ringwood


Address: Ringwood, New Forest, Hampshire, England, UK
Standing on the western edge of the New Forest, Ringwood is close to Linford, Linwood and South Forley, next to the River Avon. For literally centuries, Ringwood served as an important market town and is known to date from at least the early 1200s. Ringwood is a convenient base for touring the New Forest and contains a good mixture of shops, historical pubs and inns, and traditional thatched cottages. Attractions here include the cask ales at the acclaimed Ringwood Brewery, and the regular stock car racing and motocross at the nearby Matchams Leisure Park.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Picture of steam train railway at Exbury


Address: Exbury, New Forest, Hampshire, England, UK
Just a short drive from Beaulieu and Bucklers Hard, Exbury is a village best known for its Rothschild estate, which is where the stunning Exbury Gardens reside. One of the most famous landscaped woodland gardens in the whole of Hampshire, the Exbury Gardens covers around 80 hectares / 200 acres and contains an enormous collection of flowering azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and Japanese maples. Further attractions at the Exbury Gardens include a rock garden on a grand scale, a hydrangea walk, many exotic plants, picnic areas, herbaceous borders and ponds. In 2001, the Exbury Steam Railway was opened here, on the north-eastern side of the gardens, and transports passengers along a 2-km / 1.5-mile circular route of themed gardens.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Bucklers Hard picture

Bucklers Hard

Address: Bucklers Hard, New Forest, Hampshire, England, UK
Bucklers Hard await visitors on the south-eastern corner of the New Forest and this unspoiled waterfront hamlet has remained virtually unchanged for centuries. An avenue of Georgian cottages head down to the riverside, where many historic British naval vessels were once built during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Bucklers Hard Maritime Museum is on hand should you wish to learn more about the hamlet's rich shipbuilding heritage. Alternatively, take a stroll down to the marina, sit on one of the benches and enjoy the serenity and beautiful views.
Open hours: daily
Admission: charge, discounts for children, seniors and family groups

Paultons Park picture, showing roller coaster

Paultons Park

Address: Ower, Near Romsey, New Forest, Hampshire, SO51 6AL, England, UK
Tel: +44 023 8081 4442
This incredibly popular family theme park is located in the village of Ower, close to Romsey and on the north-easterly side of the New Forest. Paultons Park has enjoyed great popularity of the past few years and has continually reinvested to improve facilities and rides. In total, Paultons Park now boasts in excess of 50 different attractions and rides, which include three exhilarating roller coasters (the Cobra, the Flying Frog and the Stinger), as well as two water rides (the Raging River Ride and the Wave Runner), a vertical-drop ride and a splash park. There is also a zoo sited within Paultons Park, where you can enjoy everything from penguins, toucans and birds of prey, to meerkats, tortoises and wallabies.
Open hours: mid-February to mid-December, seasonal variations
Admission: charge, discounts for children, seniors and family groups