When the weekend comes around, it can only mean one thing. It’s time to start planning things to do and places to visit in The New Forest with those little adventurers! We’re so lucky to have the New Forest National Park on our doorsteps and even more so because it’s jam-packed with things to do together as a family.
If you’re a toss-the-kids-out-the-door kind of parent and are looking to pull them away from their computer screens and into the great outdoors, our Family Adventure Day could be just what you’re looking for. You’ll have an action-packed day which includes a 90-minute canoe tour on the Beaulieu River plus a full day’s bike hire to really make the adventure your own. We offer bikes for all ages as well as trailers, tag-a-longs and child seats, meaning even the little ones can come along for the ride!
The beauty of a Family Adventure Day is its flexibility. You can take part in your canoeing tour during the morning or afternoon, leaving the rest of the day for you to head out on your bikes and explore the local area at your own pace. And what’s more, there’re plenty of places to visit in The New Forest, local to Beaulieu to fill your day with fun. Here are our top 15 local places to visit (both on and off the water) during a Family Adventure Day with New Forest Activities.
Buckler’s Hard Riverside Walk
Follow the beautiful Buckler’s Hard riverside boardwalk all the way from our canoeing site in Bailey’s Hard to Buckler’s Hard. Be sure to read the information boards along the way explaining all about the wildlife that calls the Beaulieu River Nature Reserve home.
Get up really close and personal during your canoeing session at Kingfisher Creek. If you stay really quiet and keep your eyes peeled, you might just be lucky enough to spot one of these rare birds!
Beaulieu River Nature Reserve
A firm favourite whilst out paddling on the nature reserve is to scoop up a jellyfish or two! The Moon Jellyfish that reside in the Beaulieu River float gently with the tides and don’t have a sting. Just make sure you place them back afterwards.
Maze of Creeks
When the tide is high enough, your instructor will paddle out with you to the Maze of Creeks, a large cluster of waterways and hidden creeks that are exciting to explore and discover. At low tide, you can even hunt for oysters!
Buckler’s Hard Historic Dockyard
Why not swing by the historic dockyard at Buckler’s Hard? Meander around the Maritime Museum and exhibitions learning all about the ships that were built for Nelson’s Navy during the 18th Century. (Admission fees apply). The Masterbuilder’s Pub also makes a great refreshment stop.
Or alternatively, head in the opposite direction to Beaulieu Village. With plenty of quaint independent shops and cafes, it’s the perfect place to while away an afternoon.
Located just outside the village centre lies the very impressive Beaulieu Abbey. This 800-year-old Abbey, which was founded by King John in the 13th Century is now a tranquil conserved ruin and offers visitors an opportunity to step back in time and admire its scenic beauty.
Beaulieu Palace House
The grand Palace House, the ancestral home to Lord Montagu can be spotted in all its glory across the river. Based on the Beaulieu Estate, it resides inside the National Motor Museum which, if you’re a fan of cars through the ages, deserves its own day to visit.
Hatchet pond can be found on the outskirts of Beaulieu and is the largest body of water in The New Forest. Not only is it home to a wonderful array of wildlife, it also makes a great ice cream stop!
Furzey Lodge marks the start of the cycle route from Beaulieu to Brockenhurst. Tucked away and unbeknown to most, it makes for a popular dog walking spot. The small running river is also a great rest stop during your cycle ride (and the rope swing is good fun too!)
New Forest Cycle Network
If you’re planning to go a little further afield during your Family Adventure Day, the New Forest Cycle Network would be your best choice. With a variety of on and off-road tracks to choose from, you can cycle your own route and discover many hidden corners of the National Park along the way. Alternatively, we offer free cycle maps for all customers and can help plan out your day when you collect your bikes from us.
Brockenhurst is often considered the gateway to The New Forest, with trains direct to Southampton, Winchester and London. A quaint little village, it’s home to a collection of welcoming pubs and cafes. We recommend the village bakehouse which is one not to be missed!
Beaulieu Ancient Airfield
The New Forest made a major contribution to World War II and Beaulieu is home to quite a substantial airfield. Now, more than 60 years later, the airfield and its runways can still be seen. Today it has various uses including forming part of the cycle network as well as an area for flying model aircrafts.
The Turfcutters Arms, East Boldre
In the neighbouring village of East Boldre you’ll find The Turfcutter’s Arms. Serving a hearty menu full of pub favourites, it makes for the perfect lunch stop. You might even spot a donkey or two!
Patrick’s Patch, Beaulieu
As part of Fairweather’s Garden Centre in the village lies Patrick’s Patch, a free to enter, inspiring and productive vegetable garden. What’s more, all the produce that’s grown here is used in the popular garden centre café – Steph’s Kitchen.
The beauty of a Family Adventure Day is its flexibility.
These are just a few suggestions of places to visit in The New Forest and all are easily accessible from our base in Beaulieu. What’s more, our team will be able to help you plan out the perfect Family Adventure Day when you arrive to collect your bikes from us.