The chances of you running out of things to do in the New Forest are similar to the Queen running out of fetching pastel-coloured hats. First and foremost, you've come here to cycle and you've certainly come to the right place because there's a huge variety of easy to challenging trails criss-crossing the National Park, plus lots of cycle centres on hand if you need to rent a bike or gear.
Aside from cycling, the trails are perfect for long distance walks or short rambles into the woods, over purple heather and across babbling streams. There are group guided walking tours available if you fancy meeting new people, and of course horse riders are welcome to use the traffic-free trails, too.
Adrenaline junkies can whiten their knuckles at the outdoor activity centres offering mountain biking, kayaking, climbing, abseiling and archery. Or for a bit of sea air, why not try learning how to sail along the Lymington coast? The fun is non-stop for children, too – treat them to horse-drawn wagon rides, tractor safaris, steam train adventures and a bit of tree-swinging up high in the canopies.
Those of you with a more relaxed approach to life can while away the hours fishing in the lakes and rivers or discovering the history of this unique landscape in one of the National Park's museums. There's even lots to do on rainy days. Why not watch cheese being made in a New Forest dairy or turn your own pot on a proper potter's wheel in a local workshop?
Don't forget during the summer there is an open-top tourist bus service that you can hop on and off to explore the New Forest at your leisure. It even takes bikes. And to save you a bit of cash, consider getting a Brand New Forest card, which offers discounts at many attractions in the area.
A popular cycle hire service offering a range of bicycles (including new ‘electric bikes’) as well as guided tours. The website alsofeatures a range of manageable cycle routes including ‘Leafy Lanes’, a relaxing ride that explores the quiet lanes separating Brockenhurst, Boldre, Pilley and East End.
Address (click link to view on google maps): Downside car park, Brockenhurst train station, SO42 7TW.
Offering cycle hire, cycling day trips, weekend breaks as well as longer biking holidays from a converted railway carriage alongside the platform. An overview of Country Lanes' own cycle routes is available online.
This company specialises in guided bike rides of all types and levels of ability. Choose between core and intermediate riding skilllessons as well as a range of guided trips from nationally qualified mountain bike guides on routes vetted by the Forestry Commission.
Address: Contact: 07802 412 917
Based in Burley, Forest Leisure’s flagship route is the ‘Deer Sanctuary’ trail, which gives the chance to encounter deer, horses,various birds as you cycle up towards the Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary. Many other routes are available to view on the website.
Address (click link to view on google maps): Village Centre, Burley, New Forest, Hampshire, BH24 4AB
Offering riding lessons in both traditional and Western saddles ranging from 90 minute beginner lessons to adventure days and BBQ trails. Alternatively, there’s the chance to stay at Burley Villa B&B with 2 hour group riding sessions included.
Forest Park caters for all levels and each ride has several escorts so that everyone can ride to their own ability. 2-hour hacks are available for experienced riders and include several long canters through some spectacular scenery.
An established family business complete with outdoor riding school, show jumps and a number of practice Cross Country Fences. Bagnum also offers 1 or 2 hour hacks through the New Forest as well as half hour walk outs available for children.
Catering for both novice and experienced riders, Ford Farm also hold a regular children’s club on Saturdays as well as other days during the holidays.
Address (click link to view on google maps): Ford Farm Stables, Burley Road, Brockenhurst. SO42 7TB
Website: Ford Farm Stables
Try your hand at canoeing alongside trained professionals at the Beaulieu River Nature Reserve, learning the history andtraditions of the river along the way. Alternatively, be a little more adventurous and take part in a two-hour guided kayaking tour, exploring hidden creaks along the Beaulieu river.
Offering two lakes in which to take part in a range of water sports, the Water Parks also boasts a campsite for those looking to stay overnight. Learn to waterski or wakeboard or try the inflatable banana and tyre rides. Large groups can enjoy themselves on the water and then indulge in a local BBQ.
A gentle, self-guided walk around the town of Brockenhurst, offering the sites of not only the horses and donkeys that roam freely on the main street, but also of the interesting gravestones and Norman architecture at St Nicholas' Church, as well as the memorials to New Zealand and Indian soldiers laid to rest there.
Distance: Approx. 1.5 miles return
Time: Allow around 1 hour
Route map and further information
Wander alongside the banks of the Beaulieu River, the home of the Montagu family and the impressive Montagu Arms hotel, towards Bucklers Hard, a picturesque 18th century village where you can explore the chapel and shipwright's cottage.
Distance: Approx. 4.5 miles return
Time: Allow around 2 hours
Route map and further information
Discover the unique landscape with professional walk leader Phil Howe. A gentle walk will also include an explanation of the history and traditions of the forest and there's the option to depart from a number of different locations including Lyndhurst Visitor Centre and local railway stations.
Address: Numerous departure locations