You might peel back the curtains in the morning and find a New Forest pony grazing by your van!
Things To Do
Visit Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway, on the banks of the Beaulieu River. With more than 200 acres of gardens to discover, including the Rothschild’s Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and specimen trees, you’ll find spectacular swathes of colour to assault the senses throughout the spring, summer and autumn. For a lazy – but enjoyable – way to see the gardens, hop on the steam train for a 20-minute journey among the plants.
Families might want to hit Paulton’s Family Theme Park on the northeastern edge of the national park. There are family rides such as log flumes, pirate ships and rollercoasters to churn the stomach. For younger family members, this is home to Peppa Pig World, with seven rides just for little ones.
‘Hunt’ for deer at the Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary, three miles northwest of Lyndhurst. With a purpose-built viewing platform, it’s one of the best places in the New Forest to see the wild deer, particularly between April and September when forest rangers feed them (from 12.30pm to 2.30pm).
A must-do attraction of the New Forest is the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. In addition to major showcases such as the Top Gear Collection of battered and modified ‘vehicles’ (including the show’s homemade motorhomes and ‘Caravan Airship’) and famous cars, there’s the Caravan Club Collection, where you can view a wealth of exhibits and see how caravan holidays have changed since 1885 to the present day.
Visit the New Forest Pony Sale yard to witness the Beaulieu Road Pony Sale. This is where commoners sell their New Forest ponies by auction each year. Sales take place every May, September, October and November. The sale yard is three miles south of Lyndhurst on the B3056, adjacent to Beaulieu Road Station.
The M27, adjoining the A31 dual-carriageway, cuts east to west right through the New Forest National Park making access relatively simple from the remainder of the UK. Junction One of the M27 is the quickest exit to get to both the south of the Park – for Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst and Beaulieu, or to the lesser-known northern areas via the B3078.
Driving in the New Forest is a joy, whether or not you’re towing a caravan. There are wide, open roads and a maximum speed limit of 40mph for all drivers on unfenced forest roads. Remember that animals have right of way over motorists in the New Forest.