On our doorstep
You couldn't really ask for a better location than New Park Manor from which to explore the New Forest, situated as it is virtually in the centre of this National Park and just seven miles from the coast and The Solent.
The term "New Forest" does not denote the woodland area but harks back to the days of William the Conqueror when the Norman words “Nova Foresta” meant new hunting ground. Today it is a mixture of pasture, heathland and forest, notable for being one of largest remaining tracts of unenclosed land in the south east of England. It is not unusual to see ponies on the roads or ambling through a village, completely unconcerned by traffic, so beware!
A couple of miles north of New Park Manor is Lyndhurst, a popular tourist location with many independent shops, galleries, restaurants and pubs. Roughly the same distance to the south is Brockenhurst, another village of a similar size, but with a railway station. Southampton lies to the east and is about 11 miles away.
There are plenty of free activities to enjoy without travelling far, including wonderful bike rides and walks in the forest right on our doorstep, but something a bit different and close to Lyndhurst is the New Forest Reptile Centre. Free to enter but with a nominal fee for parking, the best chance of seeing these creatures is on a warm sunny day, when they will be basking to warm their blood. You can see two of Britain's rarest animal species – the smooth snake and sand lizard, although the latter's numbers are increasing after being very close to extinction, thanks to successful breed-and-release programmes.
There are also a number of beaches within quite easy reach, such as Lepe, about 30 mins drive away and is pebbly with some sand and some good rock pools at low tide. It has a café and toilets and good play park for toddlers to older children and this nature conservation area is also good for watching the liners and big container ships going out to sea. Barton-on-sea is is sandier and has a good fish and chip shop in the village and a lovely tea room while Avon Beach is good for younger children as you can park near the beach and there is a café and clean toilets. Hengisbury Head beach is also good and has a little Noddy road train.
Attractions with entry fees include the world-famous National Motor Museum at Beaulieu which was voted the best large visitor attraction 2013 by VisitEngland, while Calshot Activity Centre has a great indoor activity centre with dry ski slope, climbing walls, velodrome as well as sailing, kayaking and windsurfing courses, which should guarantee burning off some energy! For younger children, the slightly less frenetic Furzey Gardens in Minstead is described as a haven of peace and tranquility and has lovely little fairy doors hidden around the garden for children to find and open. Other family attractions include Peppa Pig World, Marwell Zoo, New Forest Wildlife Park, Longdown Activity Farm and the New Forest Centre.
Although this gives a flavour of some of the things to see and do around New Park Manor, you can look at our local attractions page for more suggestions or ask a member of staff, any of whom will be only to happy to give you some suggestions as to what is available in in the area.