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Camping in the New Forest: All you need to know

Written by: Ann Lukkien

June 26th , 2022

Camping in the New Forest: All you need to know

Escape everyday life and fall in love with tranquil glades, ancient woodland, heathland and unspoilt coastline. Explore a new world where ponies, donkeys, cattle and deer roam free.

The New Forest is one of the largest remaining areas of open grazing land, heathland and forest in Southern England, covering southwest Hampshire, and southeast Wiltshire.  It is even home to some of the UK’s rarest birds and mammals.

Things to do in the New Forest

The New Forest boasts a truly impressive range of scenery. From vast canopies of trees, to crystal blue waters and meadows full of grazing, wild ponies and donkeys, there are plenty of places to visit in the New Forest.

1. New Forest National Park

There’s a huge range of stunning walks in the New Forest, known as a ‘world capital’ for wildlife and a place of outstanding natural beauty, you’re likely to spot a huge variety of rare plants and animals during your stay.  

When walking in the New Forest, you’ll see free-roaming ponies, cattle, pigs and donkeys as you explore the cast and tranquil wilderness of the New Forest National Park, an area that has remained largely untouched for hundreds of years.

2. New Forest bike hire

One of the best ways to explore the forest is by hiring a bike. New Forest cycling is an incredibly popular activity for visitors, so allow at least three hours to really make the most of this experience.  

We recommend visiting Cycleexperience Brockenhurst, which is a very prominent cycling hub in the New Forest. Hire a bike in the New Forest and begin your adventures to Beaulieu, the Ornamental Woods or even along the coast

3. Furzey Gardens

Furzey Gardens is a tranquil woodland garden in Lyndhurst, New Forest, which is celebrating its centenary in 2022. There’s also a tea room on site for a traditional English cream tea, a stunning arboretum and wildflower meadow too.

Not only are these beautiful gardens a joy to explore, it also hosts indoor and outdoor events for visitors to enjoy, like yoga, archeological digs, theatre and comedy.

4. Lepe Country Park

Lepe Country Park is a beautiful stretch of coastline to explore on your travels. There’s over a mile of beach, fringed with pine trees and wildflower meadows to enjoy too. You might even find some historic D-Day remains! It’s a wonderful day out, with impressive views of the Solent and the Isle of Wight on a clear day, it’s the perfect place to set up camp for the day, sink into our Snow Peak Low Beach Chairs and watch the world go by.

5. New Forest Water Park

If you’re feeling adventurous, spend a day or two at the New Forest Water Park, it offers a huge range of activities to suit everyone, including wakeboarding, kayaking and paddleboarding. There’s also an Aqua Park and offers camping on site.

Best campsites in the New Forest

New Forest campsites are some of the most beautiful in the UK, so we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite campsites in the New Forest.

1. Holmsley Campsite

Situated in the heart of the forest, this New Forest camping site is close to the rural villages of Burley and Bransgore and within walking distance of a bakery, chemist and Fish & Chip shop!

There’s direct access to walking and cycling tracks, and Holmsley Campsite offers hardstanding and grass pitches as well as Electric hook-up.

2. Setthorns Campsite

Setthorns Campsite is a really wild escape for an avid camper, with no toilet facilities and no showers, it’s the best place to take you back to nature. Full of cosy nooks and hidden pathways, enjoy one of the New Forest’s best kept secrets! With forest on all sides, Setthorns is the perfect place to base your adventures.

3. Ashurst Campsite

Beautifully dotted with ancient oaks on the edge of the forest, Ashurst Campsite has a range of pitches, from open and spacious, to peaceful and secluded. It’s just a five minute walk from the pretty village of Ashurst, bursting with lovely pubs and restaurants, too.

Where to eat in the New Forest

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best restaurants in the New Forest, for the nights when campsite cooking just doesn’t cut it!

1. The Pig

A beautiful setting and lively restaurant, The Pig is a special-occasion restaurant in the New Forest. Featured in the Michelin Guide, this lovely manor house aims to bring nature indoors, with the in-house gardener and forager collecting and cooking whatever they can find within a 25 mile radius. A truly special, local experience.

2. The Forage

The Forage is one of the best places to eat in the New Forest.  This New Forest Italian restaurant is well known for its excellent, attentive service and truly delicious Italian meals. It’s also a deli during the day, so it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a delicious meal, and collect a few snacks for later!

3. Offbeet New Forest

For truly stunning vegan food in the New Forest, look no further than Offbeet. The New Forest fine dining experience is nestled into the forest and boasts an intricate, thoughtful menu of local flavours and a comfortable environment to relax with your loved ones.