The villages and towns of the New Forest: your complete guide for an incredible English countryside retreat
From the native ponies to miles of heather and woodland, one thing we’re blessed with here at Green Hill Farm is direct access to the breathtaking New Forest.
For lovers of winding trails, there’s nothing more magical than wandering through ancient, formerly royal, woods and ending up at a quintessential New Forest village. It’s no secret that they’re some of the prettiest in the country and we count ourselves very lucky to have them on our doorstep.
Use this guide to plan a trip from ours to our favourite cluster of charming New Forest villages. Each of them is well connected to our park and many of the villages are close enough to cycle between. Let’s get started.
The best villages and towns to visit in the New Forest
Beaulieu promises 13th-century charm, glistening rivers and the National Motor Museum, whilst Landford, Ashurst and Brockenhurst all offer incredible natural scenery, wildlife, boutique indy shops and idyllic village vibes. For sorcery and thatched cottages, Burley is a must-see, not forgetting Lymington’s Georgian cobbled streets or Milford’s colourful beach huts and jaw-dropping coastal panoramas.
Landford— the peaceful, wildlife-rich northern tip of the New Forest, a short drive from Peppa Pig World
We’ll start from ours. Little Landford is where we - and many New Forest natives - call home. Step through the gate at the bottom of our park and you’ll be greeted by New Forest ponies (we’ve actually written a guide to the best pony-spotting hotspots in the region), as well ducks, geese, owls and otters. On a good day, you may even spot deer coming for a drink at our lake on park. What a treat!
On the edge of the New Forest, our sleepy village of Landford offers the perfect escape for peace and wildness in equal measure. The unspoilt open green pastures set a peaceful precedent long before you reach your home from home on park. From locals selling eggs outside their homes to the gorgeous waft as you drive past the New Forest Lavender Farm, charm exudes from every corner of Landford. The wild element swoops in via Landford’s own Forest Falconry, offering the ultimate birds of prey experience.
After the ultimate day out for family fun? The younger New Forest explorers among us might be very interested to learn that the much-esteemed Peppa Pig World is just a 10-minute drive away from Landford…
Beaulieu — for charming, chocolate box village views and world-class automobiles
Imagine life in a quintessential, chocolate box village. You’ll likely conjure up a picture of Beaulieu. The clue’s in the name, with Beaulieu translating to 'beautiful place' in French.
Tucked away deep in the New Forest, Beaulieu has sat on the riverfront of its namesake Beaulieu River since the 13th century, and so much of its charm remains untouched. The Beaulieu Palace House is the perfect example. This beautiful period home spills out onto immaculate grounds while inviting guests to explore the workings of a Victorian household indoors.
While Beaulieu is steeped in history, this Hampshire bolthole is also home to the National Motor Museum, offering a great day out for car lovers. May we recommend the World of Top Gear exhibition? If you’d rather explore on foot, Beaulieu has a range of independent boutiques to peruse.
Burley — for native ponies, sorcery, cider sampling and an adventure back in time
Burley’s pretty thatched cottages are as common a sight as the ponies that wander through the village. Burley is a village that is reminiscent of times gone by with a past steeped in folklore, magic and witchcraft. The witchcraft connection has not been forgotten by the locals; there are many shops in the village centre selling witchcraft and magic related souvenirs, books and even spells.
For those seeking respite from the smuggling and witchcraft, a short walk outside the villages takes you into the breathtaking open healthland. Burley is also home to New Forest Cider where you can try samples straight from the barrel, complete with animals for the little ones to enjoy.
Brockenhurst — a blissful New Forest escape with a thriving high street and ornamental drive
Oozing with charm and beauty, Brockenhurst is an idyllic village in the heart of the New Forest surrounded by some of the loveliest Forest landscapes. This is another New Forest beauty spot where you can see the wildlife roaming freely, with its lovely high street offering ample opportunity to sample the wares of quaint gift shops, cosy pubs and independent bakeries.
The beauty of the New Forest is all around you here, but if you want a day out steeped in it, we’ve got you covered. Head to The Rhinefield Ornamental Drive come spring, where your car will pass through some stunning flora and fauna; a special shout out to the rhododendrons in bloom.
Ashurst — a New Forest hideaway for natural landscapes and family-friendly animal fun
Surrounded by wetlands, woodlands and walks, the village of Ashurst covers every landscape you could expect to find in the New Forest.
When the family’s ready for an activity, Ashurst is on the cusp of many New Forest favourites, including the New Forest Wildlife Park in Longdown where you can see everything from lynxes to wolves up close. The New Forest Reptile Centre is also close to here.
The Longdown Activity Farm just outside Ashhurst where the whole family can enjoy bumpy tractor rides or even bottle feed kid goats if you want to get even closer to New Forest nature.
Lymington — for Georgian history, coastal adventure and a beautiful, bustling town centre
Lymington is set on the coast in the beautiful New Forest National Park, between Southampton and Bournemouth. As the New Forest’s answer to coastal and forest landscape, worlds collide in lovely Lymington where you can boat watch in the marina, explore ancient salt ponds and peruse charming indy shops on the same day trip.
Savour a peaceful stroll along The Solent Way, take a dip at the open-air Lymington Sea Water Baths, head out to spot some wildlife on the Lymington & Keyhaven Marshes — or just explore the quaint cobbled streets. Lymington proves that the New Forest also does the coast.
Milford on Sea— for seaside serenity, colourful beach huts and 16th-century fortifications
Whilst the native ponies, heathland and thatched cottages may take much of the limelight when we talk of the New Forest, it also has a selection of fabulous beaches which mustn’t be overlooked.
You won’t find a more Instagrammable sight than Milford on Sea’s rows of colourful beach huts at sunset, which is why it sneaks into our guide to the best villages and towns in the region. This is particularly the case if you’re adventuring through the New Forest with Fido. Did you know that the beach actually holds the prestigious gong of being the most dog friendly beach in Hampshire?
For you architecture and history buffs, be sure to pay a visit to nearby Hurst Castle, a 16th-century artillery fort established by everyone’s favourite Tudor monarch, Henry VIII.
Looking for a base to explore the New Forest villages?
We’re in the perfect place. Green Hill Farm Holiday Village is our holiday park nestled at the heart of the New Forest, in Landford.
As well as a range of excellent amenities and accommodation — luxury lodges, cosy holiday homes, safari tents, glamping and camping and touring pitches — our park is also completely dog friendly. You can bring along up to two of your canine companions for your stay.
If you’re wanting to return time and again, you might even want to consider holiday home ownership in the New Forest with us.