The Perfect Staycation Adventure: Things To Do In The New Forest



A couple of weeks ago, Stewart and I went to the New Forest for a little adventure. We had a week booked off at work and thought a few days away somewhere in the UK would make for a lovely little break. We didn't quite know where we wanted to go or what we wanted to do at first, but after my Nan told me tales of how she, my Grandad, Dad and Uncle camped in the New Forest in the early 70s and reminisced about how simple yet stunning the holidays were (along with telling some funny stories revolving around my Grandad), I knew I wanted to follow in their footsteps and go there myself. We chose to stay in the same village, Brockenhurst; perhaps for more sentimental reasons, but also because it's such a good location with connections to various parts of the New Forest. There are so many things to do in the New Forest that makes it the perfect mini-break for families, friends and couples.




We stayed in a B&B called the Blacksmith's House, located just a couple of minutes walk from the train station in Brockenhurst. It only took us two and a half hours to get there by train from Brighton, and although we thought about hiring a car, the cost of the train (£23 return per person) and the proximity of the B&B swayed us to opt for public transport. The Blacksmith's House was a lovely little B&B surrounded by cafes, restaurants and a mere 5 minutes walk into the village centre (which is more like a street) which has a few more restaurants, a lovely little bakery and some supermarket shops. Our room, named 'Mary Queen of Scots' was a good sized double- not the biggest of rooms but it was perfectly adequate for the length of our stay, was always clean, had tea and coffee making facilities and boasted a lovely roll-top bath which was heavenly to soak in after a long day cycling! The hosts, Sheila and Ken, had scones and biscuits available free of charge and prepared a lovely full English breakfast each morning (this was included in the cost of our stay). They also kindly recommended a range of activities and restaurants throughout our 3 day stay, and also offered guests some discounts and deals for local restaurants which came in very handy!












Things to do:

Hire a bike and go on an adventure

This was the first thing we did when we arrived in Brockenhurst (mainly because it was the only day we would have nice weather!). We hired bikes from Cyclexperience which is located right next to the train station and they only cost around £10 (£15 maximum) for the whole afternoon. They also have an app you can download which provides you with a range of trails, although maps are available and the staff in the shop are really knowledgeable and will recommend a trail depending on what you want. We did the 'ornamental forest' trail which took a few hours...including a pit stop at the Oak Inn for a cider and chips! The views were like something out of a film; it was so varied too, from red wood forest, to green rolling fields and relaxing lakes...the trail was the perfect way to get a glimpse of what the New Forest has to offer.













Go for a stroll and take in the countryside views

On our last day we went for a lovely walk into the Forest which vaguely roamed around the cycling trail we took a couple of days prior. Although it wasn't the sunniest of days, the views were still spectacular and it was so nice just to go on a nice walk, chat and spend some quality time together. We found the little lake that my Dad, Uncle and Grandad used to fish at 'back in the day', and I loved being able to visit somewhere I know so many special memories were made in my family. We love going on walks through the South Downs anyway when we're at home, but it was great to be able to explore somewhere new...the horses in the New Forest just roam alongside you so it's nice to make some friends too!














The New Forest Wildlife Park

Our only full day in the New Forest was filled with torrential rain, so we asked Ken and Sheila for recommendations on what to do! There is a motor museum in Beaulieu (right next to Brockenhurst)- a great indoors option if you need one- but as I don't really have an interest in cars etc we decided to give that a miss and try the Wildlife Park instead. Although this would be wonderful on a mildly drizzly day, unfortunately the sheer amount of rainfall flooded the park after about an hour of us being there! Regardless, we still got to see a wallaby, some otters and other creatures at the park and it would be very entertaining for those with young children. If you do go there from Brockenhurst, the number 6 bus drops you at the top of the road, although we got the train to Ashurst and then a taxi from the station to the Park. This worked out far cheaper than just getting a taxi straight there (£20 minimum one way for a 15 minute drive) so I would recommend taking this route if you do go- it isn't the easiest place to get to so do consider the options before you leave!








Where to eat:

Brockenhurst actually boasts quite a few places to eat, and the B&B was right in the middle of a great selection. Next door is the Snakecatcher (a pub on the pricier end of the scale but apparently the food is amazing...hello hot rocks), Albero (your standard Italian restaurant which would please everyone), the Foresters Arms (a friendly pub with lovely food for the most affordable prices we found in Brockenhurst) and Dynasty (an amazing Indian restaurant that we would definitely recommend). One thing we weren't really prepared for was how pricey the area was- you're looking at £10-15 for a main. This might be standard for some of you but we usually try to go a bit cheaper when back home. But hey, we were on holiday so thought we'd treat ourselves!

All in all it was a wonderful few days away and I would love to go back to visit someday. There are a few more things I wanted to do, including more cycling trails and perhaps a visit to local towns like Lymington. I just wish we could guarantee good weather as an outdoors holiday almost depends on it...that's never going to happen in the UK though, is it?!











Have you been to the New Forest? What did you get up to whilst you were there?



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