Villages

There are so many pretty villages dotted about the 90,000 acres of New Forest it is hard to make a short list of suggestions as you will not really be disappointed wherever your journey takes you. Below are 5 villages are just a small personal selection of places I enjoy visiting and have a lot to offer:

Lyndhurst:

Known as the capital of The New Forest since William the Conqueror established it as a royal hunting ground in 1079. Lyndhurst has been visited by kings and queens staying at the Royal Manor throughout the centuries.

You will find plenty of car parking on the main car park in the middle of the village. From there you could pop into the New Forest Visitors Centre to pick up maps or other information about the area, relax with a hot drink and snack or explore the exhibition.

From the car park head towards the church. In the graveyard of St Michael and All Angels’ you will find the grave of one of the New Forest’s famous residents, Alice Pleasance Liddell. Alice was the little girl who inspired Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and ‘Through the Looking Glass’. Alice’s connection with the New Forest began in 1880 after she married wealthy Reginald Hargreaves, who had inherited the Cuffnells country estate, near the village. 

Close by to the church, you will find Queens House, which remains the property of the Crown. Today, Queens House provides offices for the Forestry Commission and is home to the Verderers Hall, where the Verderers meet monthly.

Heading down the High Street you will find lots of places to stop for morning coffee, lunch or afternoon tea along with wonderful shops offering everything from antiques to clothing. At the bottom end of the High Street you can hire bikes from Woods Cyclery and with the open forest only a short distance away at Bolton’s Bench it is a fabulous way to see the forest away from the roads.

Brockenhurst:

Declared Britain’s most beautiful place to live, Brockenhurst is a wonderful village to visit. You will find ponies and donkeys wandering up and down the High Street and a variety of shops and tea rooms to cater for the whole family.

You will find it easy to hire bikes at Cyclexperience near the railway station or with great rail links across the forest and beyond, if cycling isn’t your cup of tea, you can use Brockenhurst as a base to explore the forest by rail.

Lymington:

Lymington is not a village but is a large town full of character. The High Street offers a huge amount of shops, restaurants and cafes, with major retailers sitting alongside independent shops.

At the end of the High Street the pretty cobbled street of the Old Town will lead you to the Quay. Here you will be able to watch the yachts, boats and Isle of Wight ferry sail along the Beaulieu River and out to sea.

The sea water baths is great fun for the children and the very popular Saturday market is definitely worth a look.

Beaulieu:

Probably one of the most picturesque villages in the New Forest, Beaulieu is most famous for the Motor Museum, (see my Motor Museum page for more info)., but it has a lot more to offer too.

The High Street is narrow and cobbled, with a few shops offering souvenir gifts, chocolate and a post office amongst other things. At the top end, past the village school, you will find Fairweathers Garden Centre. Filled with everything you need for the garden along with quality gifts and food  this garden centre is worth visiting. There is a lovely coffee shop too selling very tasty breakfast, lunches and teas.

It is possible to walk from Beaulieu to Bucklers Hard, (please see my Bucklers Hard page), which is a scenic flat walk along the river.

Add a large hotel to the mix, Beaulieu has everything you need for a perfect forest visit.

Burley:

Witches, smuggling and dragons are also part of Burley's unique character. Thatched cottages are dotted around this beautiful village where you will find shops selling magical gifts along with souvenirs. An ice cream bought from lady situated outside The Magpie’s Nest shop is a must! A great choice of sauces and toppings lets you create your perfect cooling ice cream on a hot day!

There is plenty of car parking in the middle of the village and if you are lucky, just off the car park, you will find tractors rides to see deer. The cricket pitch is short walk up the hill and if you are a cricket fan you will usually find a match taking place at the weekends during the Summer months.

A pub and a few hotels along with a post office and cafes make up the very unique and fascinating village.