Things To Do

The New Forest

There is something for everyone in The New Forest, whether you’re looking to relax, explore or just enjoy, this is the ideal location.

There is a wealth of places to visit and explore from award winning gardens to museums, leisure and wildlife parks.

The New Forest is a haven for the cyclist, horse rider and walker and there is always something happening throughout the year.

The New Forest


Situated in the village of Ibsley, Dairy cottage was built in the early 1600’s and then rebuilt after a devastating fire in December 2004. The accommodation overlooks a nature reserve and lake that is frequented by bird watchers and is now home to over twenty endangered species.

When it was built Dairy Cottage was a type of dwelling known as a 'rough cottage'. It was the old dairyman's cottage and was originally part of Ibsley Farm before the buildings were allocated land and sold off as private homes.



The beaches in Dorset are fabulous and all have blue flags. We have the some of the best beaches in Britain here. There are many walks along the coast, as well as activities for the children. A good day out can be found all along the Dorset coast.

Bournemouth pier is a typical British pier that is very busy during the holiday season but is full of activities for the kids. There is a lovely park next to it that has crazy golf, a hot air balloon rides, plenty of shops and several restaurants.

Other seaside destinations include Mudeford Quay, Studland Bay, The Chines, Hengistbury Head, Poole Harbour, and Sandbanks.


Pubs & Restaurants

There are plenty of fabulous places to eat in and around The New Forest. There is something for everyone, catering to all tastes and budgets. There's family-friendly pubs with play areas, beach front bistros, and Michelin starred restaurants. We suggest that you use a search engine to look up more information such as reviews, menus, and directions before making a booking.

Royal Oak, Fritham
In our opinion, The Royal Oak is the best pub in the new forest. It was awarded ‘Best Country Pub in Britain’ in the Good Pub Guide 2009. The pub is an old thatched cottage dating back to the 1600s, with three small rooms and low beamed ceilings it has tons of character whilst being surprisingly light and airy. The food is simple and local, with a great Ploughman’s Lunch and award-winning local pork pies.

The Old Beams
Located on the corner within walking distance of the cottage, The Old Beams can be really good depending on the menu and the chef. Children are welcome and the outdoor patio area is lovely. Perfect for a Sunday lunch if you don’t want to travel far but please note it can be busy.

Other Pubs
The Alice Lisle*
The Royal Oak, Gorley*
The Red Shoot
The High Corner Inn*
The Foresters
The Horse In Groom, Woodgreen
The Lamb, Winkton

Prezzo, Ringwood
The Seven Fish, Ringwood
The Indian Cottage, Ringwood
Alisal Thai Restaurant, Ringwood
Little Mere, Gorley, New Forest
The Pig Restaurant & Hotel, Brockenhurst
Lime Wood, Restaurant & Hotel
Terra Vina, New Forest
Les Mirabelles, New Forest
Urban Beach and Reef, Boscombe**
Branksome, Branksome Chine**
Westbeach, Bournemouth Pier**
The Haven Hotel, Sandbanks**
Captains Club, Christchurch**
The Jetty, Christchurch**
The Edge, Alum Chine, Bournemouth**
Versuvio, Alum Chine**
The Print Room, Bournemouth
The Black Cat, Winchester

Pubs and restaurants marked with an asterisk (*) have a children’s play area. Pubs and restaurants marked with two asterisks (**) offer beach front dining.

Pubs Pubs Fine Dining

Baby & Child Friendly Activities

Along with walking, cycling and wildlife there are plenty of other activities available to keep children occupied. Within the forest there are some beautiful picnic spots – with many idyllic pond and lake locations.

Wild ponies can be found within walking distance of the cottage, and children love paddling in the ford or enjoying an ice cream on the sand dune.

Ibsley is near the coast, and enjoys the lovely summer sun. Doing things outside is most enjoyable, in the forest or at the beach – but on rainy days there is still something that will keep the little ones entertained.

Moors Valley
Very enjoyable with playgrounds for all ages, playtrails, lovely walks in the wood, a golf course, a lake with a great picnic area, and even a steam train for the kids.

Longdown Farm
A family run farm with lots of friendly farm animals to meet and with a daily schedule of hands-on activities there is plenty of opportunity to touch and feed them. Bottle-feeding kid goats and calves, small animal handling, duck feeding and meeting the pigs are just some of the activities on offer.

The New Forest Otter, Owl & Wildlife Park
Here you'll see some of Europe's largest gathering of otters, owls and other indigenous wildlife all in their natural surroundings including, pine martens, badgers, polecats, mink, foxes, Scottish wildcats, deer, lynx, wallabies and wild boar.

Adventure Wonderland
Suitable for most ages and helps to keep the little ones entertained, especially when the weather is bad.

Marwell Wildlife
A visit to Marwell Wildlife is a chance to get up close to the wonders of the natural world. A very good zoo.

Sandy Balls
120 acres of parks and woodland in the New Forest National Park offers a great getaway and has a variety of entertainment for the family including a good swimming pool. This is the best place to hire a bike in the local area.

Liberty’s Falconry
Liberty's Owl, Raptor and Reptile Centre is located in the town of Ringwood, close to the Hampshire Dorset border on the edge of the New Forest, and houses the largest collection of birds of prey in the area.

Monkey World
Monkey World is an award winning rehabilitation centre for primates and has been featured on TV on numerous occasions. It’s about an hour away (by car) so if you want to go be sure to spend at least three hours there. There is enough going on to keep the children entertained.

Paultons Park & Peppa Pig World
A family orientated theme park with plenty of attractions for toddlers and big kids alike - now the home of Peppa Pig World with 7 new rides and attractions.

The perfect solution for a rainy day, this popular marine life centre is based close to Bournemouth pier.

Indoor water park with a choice of eight fantastic rides. Each one with its own twists and turns generating a real buzz for the rider and loads of laughs, thrills and spills for all. Perfect for a rainy day.

The Rapids
Here you will find another great indoor water park with a comprehensive range of activities delivered in a fun, safe, and relaxed environment.

Local Swim & Play
Located in the local sports and recreation centre is a swimming pool and toddler pool. Upstairs is a fun playpen climbing area for toddlers and babies.

An outdoor dry slope ski centre based in a picturesque forest location over looking a lake and pine trees. Plenty to do for all ages with skiing, snow boarding, ringo’s, bobbing, sledges, etc.

Great family entertainment in the form of ten pin bowling coupled with freshly prepared food, a relaxed sports bar and excellent customer service.

Calshot Activities Centre
Calshot is one of the largest outdoor adventure centres in Britain and is run by Hampshire County Council. With water and land based activities including climbing and skiing.

Bournemouth International Centre
There’s always lots going on at the BIC throughout the year and it’s sometimes worth checking to see what’s on at the pavilion. Good family entertainment to be found.

Activities Activities Activities


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Photography by Chris Lopez and Neil Mackenzie Matthews