The New Forest may look peaceful on the surface, but it’s overflowing with opportunities to step outside your comfort zone and get your adrenaline pumping. Don’t believe us? Here are ten fantastic activities in the New Forest that will make you change your mind.
New Forest Marathon
Break away from your usual running route and hit the trails at the New Forest Marathon. They cater for runners of all abilities with five different races ranging from 5 kilometres to a full marathon as well as races for juniors and a woodland walk. With a well planned route that weaves its way through picturesque villages and ancient forest, it’s about as far away from your boring suburban streets and parks as you can get. If you can’t make the marathon in September, there’s always the New Forest Running Festival in March which takes place at the Red Shoot Camping Park in Linwood.
Sure you can appreciate the majesty of the New Forest from the ground, but you can get a better feel for it up high. Go Ape! at the Moors Valley Country Park is a breathtaking mix of zip wires, obstacle climbing, and Tarzan swinging, as well as Segway tours and cycling trails.
Solent Rib Charter
Forget a humdrum dingy and step aboard a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) for an experience that will have you whooping with delight. Solent Rib Charter boasts the largest fleet of Ribs in Europe and takes pride in maintaining their vessels to the highest standard. As they say: “there’s water but no speed limit” so push yourself further than you’ve been before.
The New Forest has 571 square kilometres to explore so save your feet and see it on horseback. There are several stables providing horses to suit riders from novice to experienced equestrians. Burley Villa offers the chance to ride out traditional English or Western style with a great choice of rides and activities from a ‘brush n ride’ for the kids to a BBQ trail through the forest!
Adventure presents itself in many forms in the New Forest, but none of them are as colourful as Paultons Park! Well known to pre-schoolers as being the home of Peppa Pig, Paultons Park has more than 70 rides, a dinosaur themed world (Lost Kingdom), and exciting rides like Magma and The Edge. It doesn’t matter if you define a “white knuckle” experience as spinning on an enormous disc high in the air, or travelling at a more sedate pace in a swinging chair, you’ll get a thrill at Paultons Park.
Ditch your desk, chuck your bike on the bike-rack, and less than an hour and a half from London you could be breathing fresh New Forest air as you pedal along more than 100 miles of designated cycling routes. If your legs need a real challenge why not take Blissford Hill, aka “The Wall” for its steep 25% gradient. If you don’t have your own wheels, you can easily hire a bike to suit your riding style from several top firms. Trax is based in Lyndhurst but will deliver to your holiday cottage, while Cyclexperience is in Brockenhurst, and Forest Leisure Cycling is in Burley.
New Forest Water Park
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to wakeboard, or had an urge to dive from an enormous inflatable playground, you will love the New Forest Water Park. There are two types of wakeboard cables, an aqua park, and kayaks and stand up paddleboards which you can take out on the adjoining lake. You’ll leave exhausted but happy, with plenty of exciting moments to share with your friends.
National Motor Museum
F1 is one of the most adrenaline fuelled sports. While you can’t open the throttle around the grounds of Beaulieu, where the National Motor Museum is, you can see the incredible collection which features racing cars, vehicles from movies and TV, and the exhibits in the World of Top Gear.
New Forest Outdoor Centre
The team at the New Forest Outdoor Centre have a thing about firing missiles. They’re happy to help you whether you want to shoot arrows or crossbows, fire a rifle, or even throw an axe. If that wasn’t enough, you can take the “Leap of Faith” from their mobile climbing wall, and feel pretty awesome about what you’ve achieved in the process. There is also a high rope, zip wire, giant tree climb, and abseiling. If there are a few of you holidaying together, speak to the team about a bespoke programme.
Family Battlefield is not an argument with the kids in the car but an exciting outdoor game of laser tag at New Forest Activities. Laser tag is all the excitement and strategy of paintballing without the mess and pain which means younger kids can get stuck in as well. You don’t have to be in a family group to take part either, though it’s a fun way to bond.
The New Forest is well known for its more decorous activities like walking and sailing, but this list proves there’s something for adrenaline junkies to enjoy too. Start planning your next adventure in the New Forest and take a look at our self-catering cottages.