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The River Avon, New Forest, Hampshire

Choose a hotel in the New Forest and get close to Del Boy’s banger and Campbell’s Bluebird at the motor museum. Gallop among the woodland wild ponies or pop on your deck shoes for a day in yachty Lymington.

Things to do in the New Forest

You’ll get a good overview of the region on a New Forest Tour Bus as it takes in the sights of Brockenhurst, Lymington, Lyndhurst and Beaulieu. Follow this up with a visit to the New Forest Museum in Lyndhurst, which explains why it’s a really bad idea to feed the wild ponies. After breakfast in your New Forest hotel, cycle, walk or ride through the many paths winding through the forest. The less energetic can simply soak up the sun and enjoy the miniature railway at glorious Exbury Gardens. Set aside a day for Beaulieu village’s National Motor Museum and the Georgian hamlet of Buckler’s Hard where many of Napoleon’s fleet were built.

New Forest visitor tips

Ponies, donkeys, cows and pigs roam free over 145 square miles of open forest and farmland, but don’t let that put you off walking its paths. As long as you don’t approach any mare, cow or pig with their babies, there won’t be a problem. Take an Ordnance Survey map and a compass if you intend to take a long walk as it can be hard to get a mobile phone signal should you get lost. Don’t feed the animals – their ability to forage has kept them alive and fit long before tourists arrived.

Things to do around the New Forest

Shoppers love the cute boutiques of Lyndhurst and Lymington for their antiques, crafts and homemade products. Yachty types adore the Solent’s maritime history and sailing opportunities, and nature lovers have miles of coastline mudflats and salt marshes to explore. Locals and visitors get away from it all at Bolton’s Bench just outside Lyndhurst where a giant yew tree shades picnickers and grazing ponies.

Eat, drink and shop in the New Forest

Spot the New Forest Produce Marque and you know you’re eating food that was reared and sourced just a few miles away. That doubles the quality and halves the food miles guilt. For fish recently still flapping, head to Lymington’s busy quay and marina where restaurants and cafés crouch within the period cottages and fishing boats. The Royal Oak pub in Fritham, once known as the New Forest parliament where local bigwigs used to meet, serves an irreproachable pint. There is always a good variety of ales on tap.

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