Down in the South West tip of Hampshire, where the Solent starts to curve around the Isle of Wight, the diverse landscapes of the New Forest flourish. As well as a huge zone of ancient woodland, the New Forest contains Europe’s most extensive heathland area, a scenic coastline boasting bustling fishing villages, and sprawling farmland. For a tranquil stay, we have a wide selection of luxury cottages dotted throughout this wonderful region.
Whether you’re searching for romantic holiday homes for two, dog-friendly cottages for all the family or short breaks with a pool and a hot tub, our extensive collection has something to suit every need. Looking for that home from home feel? Our friendly team is on hand to help you choose the cottage of your dreams from our collection of romantic cottages in the New Forest. With options for every budget and flexible booking conditions, from cosy shepherd’s huts, to luxury cottages in the New Forest with a pool, the perfect holiday is just around the corner.
Although the name suggests otherwise, the New Forest is more than an area of woodland. Many communities thrive between the wild habitats, leaving visitors spoilt for choice. The charming village of Lyndhurst is a good place to start exploring, whether taking a bike through the forest or perusing the independent shops on the high street. Alternatively, if you prefer a coastal retreat, you may wish to consider a trip to the small seaside town of Milford on Sea.
Fordingbridge, near Ringwood
With an array of natural beauty, the most difficult decision is where to stay. To give you a helping hand, we’ve put together a list of our favourite locations in the New Forest.
Best for: Lovers of literature
Ever since William the Conqueror named Lyndhurst a royal hunting ground in 1071, it’s been known as the New Forest’s capital. As well as being home to the New Forest Heritage Centre, Lyndhurst also has some important literary connections. It was once the home of Alice Pleasant Liddell, the ‘Alice’ who provided the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s eponymous heroine.
Best for: Cycle rides on forest trails
Once holding the accolade of the UK’s ‘most beautiful place to live’, the traditional village of Brockenhurst is full of character. In the heart of the New Forest, it’s only 90 minutes from London by train; ideal for those seeking wild spaces without the luxury of a car. With bike hire available locally in the village and plenty of trails on offer, Brockenhurst is a great option for an active forest holiday.
Best for: Stately homes and gardens
Want a real trip back in time? Choose a stay in the small village of Beaulieu, where horses and donkeys have the right of way. The award-winning Beaulieu Estate dominates the area and it’s well worth spending a day or two discovering the 13th-century Cistercian Abbey, and the immaculate Beaulieu Palace House and Gardens.
Best for: Fresh fish and boat trips on the Solent
Visitors to lively Lymington will find it hard to get bored. Grab a coffee from one of the high street cafes and watch the fishermen come in with their catches. During summer the town hosts an annual seafood festival, which serves up the best of the local produce. The traditional Saturday market is a haven for shoppers, selling everything from antiques to local food.
Best for: Countryside walks
Known as the ‘northern gateway to the New Forest’, the riverside town of Fordingbridge is a great base from which to explore the area. The Avon Valley path passes right through the town, providing excellent countryside walking opportunities. Meanwhile, some of the New Forest national park’s expansive heathland is just on the doorstep at nearby Godshill.
Pack your hiking boots for a weekend in the New Forest. There are an abundance of muddy trails to discover, and we’ve picked five of our favourites.
Walk Length: Seven and a half miles
The famous New Forest ponies are easy to spot on the Lyndhurst Heath Circular walk, as they are commonly found grazing on the open grassland. There are plenty of alternative routes around the heath if you prefer a shorter walk.
Walk Length: One and a half miles
Although short, the Tall Trees Trail will introduce you to some of the most important woodland in the UK. You’ll pass majestic Douglas fir, conifers planted in the 1850s, and enormous redwoods, while sensory panels inform you along the way.
Walk Length: Two and a half miles
Beaulieu Heath and Hatchet Pond gives the New Forest visitor a snapshot of the national park’s diversity. Starting in a woodland glade, the path cuts through heathland and past Bronze Age burial mounds, on its way to the attractive banks of Hatchet Pond.
Walk Length: Four miles
For avid birdwaters, the Keyhaven Marsh Circular walk is a must do, with different species year round. Get a glimpse of the Isle of Wight in the distance on the South Coast section of the walk.
Walk Length: Three miles
Take in the spectacular views over the Avon Valley on this circular walk through rolling countryside and woodland. If you’re quiet, you may hear a woodpecker in Godshill Wood, and deer are a feature at various points along the route.
If by some miracle you’re bored of the New Forest’s natural beauty, get stuck into a bit of sightseeing. Try five of our favourite sights.
Best for: The whole family
No matter what your age, you’ll find something to love at Furzey Gardens. Let the kids search for fairies in the secret garden, while you marvel at the array of colourful and exotic displays of rhododendron and azalea in the tropical gardens.
Best for: Budding wine buffs
If wine tasting conjures up images of sipping a crisp white under a foreign sun, Setley Ridge proves that this is just as possible here in the UK. Take a full tour of the vineyard before settling down to sample the goods. It’s perfect for a romantic break.
Best for: Family friendly swimming in an unusual setting
Visit a lido with a difference at the Lymington Sea Water Baths. The oldest sea water baths in the UK, the waters date back to the 18th-century. There is an enormous pool for keen swimmers, and a family break will be enhanced by the large inflatable course and the stand up paddle lessons on offer.
Best for: Fans of a historical motor
The Beaulieu Estate is an absolute must-visit for anyone interested in motor car history and racing. The estate itself is home to several fascinating historical properties, but for vehicle fans the National Motor Museum is the draw.
Best for: History buffs
Although not quite comparable to the likes of sites in Italy and Greece, the Rockbourne Roman Villa clearly showcases Britain’s Roman roots. On site you’ll see the remains of a bath house, farm buildings and living quarters, as well as some mosaics and other excavated finds from the site.