As we continue to celebrate 15 years of New Forest Activities, we thought we would put together our list of 15 of our favourite things to do in the great outdoors. As an outdoor activity centre we may be a little biased but there really is nothing better than heading outside for a few hours or a whole day of adventure!

It’s not just about having fun, that is a big part of it of course, but getting outside is good for the mind, body and soul, not to mention the stunning sights you may see. Here in Hampshire we are lucky to live by the coast and have an abundance of green space and forest to explore, meaning making the most of the great outdoors couldn’t be easier!


  1. Walking – Whether it’s a gentle stroll along the beach or wandering along a New Forest trail, walking is a great way to enjoy the outside world, spot the wildlife, and best of all it’s free!
  2. Cycling – Cover a greater distance and get some air into those lungs! If you don’t have your own bike it’s easy to hire one. Grab a map and make a plan, or just head out for a leisurely ride.
  3. Kayaking – Heading out on a river or the sea in a kayak is a fantastic way to enjoy the outdoors. You could enjoy a gentle paddle, master some waves, or even fish! If it takes your fancy why not learn how to kayak.
  4. Bushcraft – If you fancy yourself a bit of a survivor and really want to feel at one with nature, Bushcraft courses are a great way to learn the ropes. You’ll learn skills and feel immersed in the great outdoors.
  5. Hiking – We’ve talked about walking but hiking is the next level up! You’ll want to be a bit more prepared for a hike with plenty of water, food, and a map.
  6. Sailing – There’s no better way to get the most of the refreshing sea air than being out on the water. Whether you’re enjoying a bit of luxury on a chartered yacht or trying your hand at dingy sailing, you will feel fantastic!
  7. Canoeing – Similar to kayaking but this time you can paddle with a friend! A stable canoe is also a great way for a family to explore on the water. A guided canoe tour is a great way to start.
  8. Adventure activities – There are numerous outdoor adventure activities that will show you a good time whilst enjoying the great outdoors. Try your hand at something like Battlefield LIVE, Clay Pigeon Shooting, or a Ropes Course.
  9. Picnics – Particulary popular in forest areas and on the beach! Pack up a selection of your favourite foods and find a nice quiet spot to watch the world go by.
  10. Head to the beach – No matter how long you plan to spend on the beach there’s no place better for enjoying the sea, sand or stones. Enjoy a picnic, have a sunbathe and play in the sea. Or go a little further afield, perfect!
  11. Gardening – This one is another free and simple pleasure that most of us can enjoy fairly easily. It’s therapeutic and rewarding, especially when you can enjoy sitting in your well manicured garden afterwards.
  12. Wild swimming – Most of us enjoy a dip in the pool, but wild swimming takes place in the sea, river or a lake, it will certainly freshen you up! Just make sure you know the area is safe for swimming and you have someone with you.
  13. Archery – This activity can be both indoor and outdoor, but outdoors amongst a woodland backdrop is definitely the way to do it! You can enjoy learning the skill of Archery with family and friends.
  14. Horse riding – You’ll find plenty of riding schools in the New Forest and Hampshire. Join a trek and enjoy a slightly higher view than normal!
  15. Pub garden – Finally and simply, there is nothing better than a pub garden on a warm sunny day! You’ll find ample pubs around the New Forest, the perfect spots to sit back and relax in the great outdoors.

Have you got a photo of fun you’ve had in the great outdoors? Or a memory to share? Why not share with us on Instagram using #NewForestFun!