Buckler's Hard
Destination UK

10 Fun Attractions to visit with the kids in the New Forest

Posted on
August 13, 2018

The New Forest is a fabulous destination to visit with kids where you can explore the woodland, discover wildlife around every corner, get up close to New Forest ponies and fish for minnows in the streams.

Much as we love exploring the great outdoors, sometimes the kids want and need a little more structure to the day and there are some fabulous places to visit within the New Forest National Park.

10 Fun Attractions to visit with the kids in the New Forest

Buckler’s Hard

Have you ever wondered how to build an 18th warship?

Buckler's Hard Beaulieu
At Buckler’s Hard Maritime Museum you can step back in time and discover the best-preserved example of an 18th century shipbuilding village in the world, where the ships built for Nelson’s fleet at Trafalgar.

Buckler's Hard Museum
Characters are brought to life in the educational museum with historic displays and exhibitions, living history, fun quizzes and hands on activities, like trying your hand at some old-fashioned games.

Buckler's Hard
Some of the old houses are also open to the public, so you can see how people would have lived and worked in this historic village.

Buckler's Hard Home
There is plenty to see outside too; learn about the trees used in shipbuilding in the Shipwright school workshop, where they still teach traditional boat building and rural building crafts.

For a small extra charge you can catch a boat down Beaulieu river and see the edges of Exbury Gardens, spot an old American landing craft on the shores and birdwatch at the neighbouring North Solent National Nature Reserve – we spotted a heron and its young on the mud flats.

Beaulieu River
TOP TIP: Stop at the cafe and order a Towey Tea. Named after the last ship built at Buckler’s Hard, it is the perfect treat after exploring everything the site has to offer.

Towey Tea


Have you got a Top Gear / motoring fan in the family?
Beaulieu is a fantastic day out for all the family with something for everyone to enjoy as there is so much to see – the Palace House and Gardens, the historic site of Beaulieu Abbey along with a museum, and of course the National Motor Museum which houses a number of motoring themed exhibitions including the fantastic World of Top Gear.

World of Top Gear
There are over 250 vehicles in the world-famous National Motor Museum; from the legendary Chitty Chitty Bang N=Bang to F1 racers and land speed record breakers, to classic cars dating back to 1875.

Beaulieu Motor Museum
Just one ticket gives you access to the gorgeous, landscaped gardens of Beaulieu Estate, the treasures of Palace House and the ruins of the local abbey.

Palace House Beaulieu
If you don’t fancy walking, an open-topped replica of a 1912 London Bus will ferry you around the large estate, or you can view it from up high on the high-level monorail which even takes you through the heart of the museum.

National Motor Museum
My kids love Dipstick’s Driving Circuit, where they can drive their very own mini-cars and the brilliantly themed Mini Motor Play Area.

National Motor Museum

New Forest Wildlife Park

New Forest Wildlife Park is what can only be described as a hidden gem.
Set in the heart of the New Forest, it is just a mile up the road from Longdown Farm another of our favourite places to visit.

Deer - New Forest Wildlife Park
The park offers you the chance to see indigenous species in their natural surroundings by following the easy to follow woodland trails throughout the park.

New Forest Wildlife Park Hedgehog
You get to see Sika, Fallow and Roe deer roaming freely throughout the park, excitable and very noisy otters at feeding time, plus whole host of other fascinating animals including owls, wolves, bison, wild boar, wallabies, adders, polecats and butterflies fluttering in the butterfly house.

As you wander through the park you will also find two huge adventure playgrounds, ‘Go Wild’ and ‘Mini Go Wild’, that are packed fill of huge climbing frames, zip wires, climbing ropes, swings, spider nets and much more.

New Forest Wildlife Park 115

Longdown Farm

Longdown Farm is situated in Ashurst, New Forest.
The farm promises a daily schedule of activities which run throughout the day meaning you won’t miss out no matter what time you arrive.

Longdown Farm
From bumpy tractor rides, feeding the animals, cuddling chicks, guinea pigs and rabbits, larger animals to see plus lots of open space to run around, there is plenty to keep the kids entertained.

Longdown Farm Tractor

Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary

Bolderwood is situated just outside Lyndhurst, Hampshire and is home to a famous herd of Fallow deer which live in and around the site.

Fallow Deer
Between April and September, the herd is fed daily by a friendly local New Forest keeper so is well accustomed to the presence of observers and there is a large deer viewing platform where you are treated to a clear view of the herd.

With a variety of graded walks, ranging for all abilities amongst the tall trees, this is one of the most popular family spots in the New Forest.

New Forest Reptile Centre

Discover more about British reptiles and amphibians and how they are being conserved in the New Forest with specially created display enclosures that allow you to study these animals in close-up at the New Forest Reptile Centre.

They have the only collection of all the native lizards, snakes, frogs and toads, including Britain’s only venomous snake, the adder and rarest lizard, the sand lizard to see.

Marwell Zoo

Marwell Zoo is one of our favourite days out with the kids.

Marwell Zoo Tropical House
Not only is it full of wonderful animals to see, but the kids love racing around its wide pathways, and testing their climbing skills in their numerous play areas.

Snow Leopard
It has seen a lot of investment in recent years and has some fabulous new exhibits including a new Tropical House, powered by zoo poo, the Lemur Loop and the Wild Explorers exhibit where you can see Rhino wandering with Zebra, Scimitar horned-oryx and Ostrich.

Marwell Rhino
You can even become a zookeeper for a day, where you spend time with their trained staff in preparing food and enrichment for our animals, mucking out their enclosures and then meeting and feeding some of them behind the scenes.

Paultons Park

If you kids are after something more thrilling to do, then Paultons Park is the place for you.
Peppa Pig World
Home to Peppa Pig World, the Lost Kingdom, animals and birds and 70 rides and attractions, it is the perfect destination kids from tots to teens.

Paultons Park -
Peppa Pig World is the ideal destination for under 6’s and they have just opened two new rides, whereas the Lost Kingdom is aimed at 6 and overs, with animatronic dinosaurs around every corner and two child friendly rollercoasters to try.

Peppa Pig
There are a couple of other exciting rides for older teens, such as The Edge, Cobra and Detonator drop ride, but I would recommend the park for those age 0-12.

The Edge
TOP TIP: Take swimwear and towels if you are visiting on a hot day. Paultons Park has two splash parks; Peppa Pigs Muddy Puddles and a larger one for older kids.

Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway

Get back to nature at Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway, with beautiful gardens and the world-famous for the Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, rare trees and shrubs.
Exbury Gardens
Railway enthusiasts can enjoy the superb 12 ¼” gauge railway which runs along a 1 ½ mile track through the gorgeous gardens, where younger visitors can spot animals such a deer, squirrel, rabbits and owls.

Exbury Gardens Train
There is also an Adventure Play Area featuring an the Sky Walk Trail, Explorer Tower and Bird’s Nest Swing for older kids, whilst their younger siblings will enjoy the Play Hut, Bucket Swing and climbing apparatus.

Exbury Gardens House

New Forest Water Park

New Forest Water Park offers a range of activities suitable for families with older children including kayaking, paddle boarding, cable wakeboarding and the inflatable water park.

New Forest Water Park
Measuring in at an impressive 4,000sq meters, the floating, inflatable Aqua Park has 2 trampolines, monkey bars, flippers, slides, hurdles, springboard, rockers, rollers, an overhang climbing wall, a swing, a giant iceberg(!) and much more.

New Forest Water Park Leap
Entrants must be able to swim and be aged 6+ and 110cm in height.

Isaac New Forest Water Park
I hope this has given you some fun ideas to do with the kids in Hampshire. The New Forest and surrounding area is filled with great things to keep them entertained if you want to travel slightly farther afield.

Have you visited any of these attractions?

  1. Reply


    August 13, 2018

    I’ve never been to the new forest but it sounds like there’s so much to do and see, great for taking the kids over the summer holidays! xo

  2. Reply


    August 13, 2018

    I have not been to any of these attractions but seems like great places to visit and explore with the family

  3. Reply


    August 13, 2018

    The New Forest has so many great options for the kids – I always thought it was just a place to ride bikes to country pubs!
    C x

  4. Reply


    August 13, 2018

    We were in the New Forest this weekend, it’s such a lovely part of the UK. I hadn’t heard of some of these attractions and would definitely like to visit Exbury Gardens and Buckler’s Hard – thanks for sharing

  5. Reply

    Elizabeth allcock

    August 13, 2018

    Looks super fun! I’ve never visited any of those but love discovering different parts of the UK.

  6. Reply


    August 14, 2018

    Wow, this looks like an amazing place to visit! Plenty of fun for all the family! My kids would LOVE this!

  7. Reply


    August 14, 2018

    I would especially have enjoyed visiting the old houses – I love seeing the staff dressed in traditional costume!

  8. Reply

    Cath - BattleMum

    August 14, 2018

    I had no idea there was so much to do with kids in the New Forest. The Bucklers Hard sounds like Bunratty Castle in Ireland or St Fagans in Cardiff. And I’d love to visit Marwell Zoo, Paultons Park and also the water park. I think a holiday there is going to have to be added to our travel list!

  9. Reply

    Jaime Oliver

    August 14, 2018

    we would love to visit this neck of the woods and it looks like there are some epic things to do!

  10. Reply

    Katherine Hackworthy

    August 14, 2018

    What a wonderful selection of family activities. Some brilliant ideas, perfect for the holidays and something for everyone.

  11. Reply


    August 15, 2018

    I absolutely love trains, they’re my favourite mode of transport lol so I’d love to go to see the steam railway! There looks like theres loads to do in the New Forest, far more than I knew of. Definitely somewhere I should visit xxx

  12. Reply

    Jillian Michelle

    August 15, 2018

    The shipbuilding village looks so fun! I would absolutely love to spend a day there! <3

  13. Reply


    August 15, 2018

    All looks fab! However, bolderwood deer samctury looks like an amazing day out x

  14. Reply


    August 15, 2018

    I’ve never been to New Forest but looks like there is just so much to do there. I would have the Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary and the Water Park at the top of my list

  15. Reply

    Stephanie Merry

    August 15, 2018

    The New Forest looks likes there’s so many great attractions for the whole family x

  16. Reply

    Fashion and Style Police

    August 15, 2018

    These places are amazing. I would love to visit them with the kids. I really like the sound of New Forest Water Park.

  17. Reply

    Chris Bloomfield

    August 16, 2018

    What a great mix of fun and learning. Hands on is the best way for a kid to learn. The New Forest sounds like quite the place to visit. We got to see some of the movie props from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Mid America Museum in Hot Springs, AR. I would love to get to see the car too!

  18. Reply

    Musings of a tired mummy...zzz...

    August 16, 2018

    I live in Hampshire so just north of the New Forest but out of these we have only been to Marwell Zoo! Time to organise some days out…

  19. Reply

    Super Busy Mum

    August 17, 2018

    I think it’s great when locations have SO many things for kids to do in and around it. Go New Forest!!

  20. Reply

    Mary Louise

    August 17, 2018

    You have provided so much great information, I think it is time to take a trip back to Hampshire.
    We have been to Beaulieu and Paultons park.
    The new Forest is Beautiful.

  21. Reply

    Sarah Bailey

    August 17, 2018

    The New Forest is such a great place isn’t it! I used to love visiting in my younger years, though haven’t been in a while now. I always used to love going to see the ponies.

  22. Reply


    August 17, 2018

    This looks like so much fun. A nice balance of fun activities for the kids, animals and even educational!

  23. Reply


    August 18, 2018

    There is so much to see and do in this area, we live about 30 minutes away from The New Forest and visited many of these places. I agree their all brilliant!

  24. Reply

    Kaz | Ickle Pickles Life and Travels

    August 19, 2018

    So much to do! I have been to Beaulieu and Paultons Park is such a fantastic place. Kaz

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