New Forest fun for the whole family: Great days out that are more than just ponies
17 September 2019, 08:46 | Updated: 17 September 2019, 11:02
It's easy to go on a great family day out with South Western Railway, and with over 200 destinations, there's loads to see and do across the entire network.
The New Forest is located in the heart of Hampshire, and known all across the world for its resident wild ponies.
However, there is so much more to this area of natural beauty than just 9000 four-hooved locals - including deers, cattle and donkeys - with historical towns, gorgeous chocolate box villages and attractions that will capture the imagination of the entire family.
Just 90 minutes from London Waterloo on a South Western Railway train, the National Park spreads across 220 square miles of ancient woods, meadows and heathlands.
Walking and cycling are relatively easy along this largely level part of the world, with many routes passing historic pubs for a bite to eat.
It's also very easy to hire bikes, meaning you don't need to bring your own, or can decide on the day if you're in the mood for a ride.
This is a perfect autumn destination and probably one of the most dog-friendly holiday hot spots in the UK.
Here are five things to enjoy in this very special corner of the world.
Lymington is a historical town that was once a smuggler's paradise.
These days there are still treasures to be found, particularly on a Saturday when the High Street is transformed with a traditional street market.
With around 100 stalls, everything from local fine foods to craftwork and antiques is on offer.
If that's too much hustle and bustle, the town is also home to the oldest traditional salt baths in the UK.
With so much space, it's unsurprising that there are plenty of activities to do in the New Forest - and something to suit everyone's fitness and adrenaline levels.
From cycling to walks, horse riding to canoeing, there's bound to be a sport you enjoy or have always wanted to try.
Start your engines
The National Motor Museum is home to a huge selection of 285 classic and special edition cars that are sure to delight, impress and rev up the whole family.
Located in the village of Beaulieu on the edge of the New Forest, there are other attractions on site, the Palace House and Gardens, Beaulieu Abbey and, if you want even more car-based fun, the World of Top Gear.
Immerse yourself in nature
Why not pack a picnic and some art supplies and enjoy a few hours losing yourself in the beauty of the natural world?
Whether you're encouraging kids to pick up leaves and sticks for a collage to make on site or at home, doing bark rubbings, or just painting some of their surroundings, give kids and teens a reason to put down their tech and experience the world in 3D.
Of course, it's also a great opportunity to look out for horses, donkeys, cattle and pigs!
This Tudor castle was once the most advanced naval military base in the world, but these days it's a museum jam-packed with history about the 400-year old building - and some of its famous residents and prisoners, including Charles I.
Entry is £5.50 for adults, and £3.50 for kids and is open seven days a week.
Great days never leave you – so have more of them by enjoying a brilliant family day out with South Western Railway.