The best kids’ days out in the New Forest

The New Forest offers a wealth of fun days out with the kids and is a wonderful place for families to enjoy quality time together. Explore the great outdoors and marvel at the acres of woodlands and heathlands, discover local history at one of the fascinating museums, or laugh your socks off at one of the many visitor attractions. Take a look below at some of the best kids’ days out, which are all within close proximity to our New Forest holiday cottages.

Paulton’s Family Theme Park and Peppa Pig World – Ower

A huge highlight for any child on their holiday in the New Forest is to meet Peppa Pig and her friends at Peppa Pig World in Paulton’s Family Theme Park. This award-winning attraction has seven themed rides which babies, toddlers and young children will love; ride in a car with Daddy Pig, fly the clouds of the Windy Castle, take a flight on Miss Rabbit’s Helicopter and enjoy a trip on Grandpa Pig’s Boat. As well as these fantastic rides, delight little ones with a photo opportunity as they meet Peppa Pig and George for cuddles and fun. Children can explore some of the great landmarks of the TV cartoon show such as Peppa’s house, the library, and the school to name a few, then feast on a delicious snack from Daddy Pig’s Big Tummy Café or try one of Miss Rabbit’s ice creams at her parlour.

If that’s not enough, explore over 70 rides and attractions within Paulton’s Family Theme Park; see a live Justin Fletcher show, come face to face with walking dinosaurs in the Lost Kingdom, splash the day away in the Water Kingdom, or challenge the family to an exciting round of Adventure Golf.

Suitable for: All ages

Opening Hours: School Holidays, Saturday and Sunday 10:00-17:30, Monday to Friday (Term Time) 10:30-17:00

Pricing: Adult/Child (over 1m) £31.75, Under 1m Free, Senior (60+) £29.25, Family from £92.75

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New Forest Waterpark – Fordingbridge

Make a splash at New Forest Waterpark, the UK’s first outdoor floating inflatable aqua park. Experience a thrilling 80-metre-long course including two trampolines, monkey bars, flippers, slides, a swing, climbing wall, a giant iceberg and much more. They also offer wakeboarding, paddleboarding and kayaking, perfect for an active family looking to enjoy some adventure and water-based activities.

Suitable for: Ages six and above – check the website for restrictions

Opening Hours: Wake Park: Tuesday to Friday 12:00-dusk, Saturday to Sunday 11:00–dusk. Aqua Park: Monday to Sunday 10:00-20:00. Days opened vary in winter, see website for details

Pricing: Aqua Park £15.00 per person, Kid Zone Aqua Park £10.00 per person, Single Kayaks £15 per person, Double Kayaks £25.00 per person, Stand Up Paddleboards £20.00 per person, Wet-suit hire £5.00 per person

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Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary – Newtown

Spend a sunny afternoon at Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary and witness the magnificent sight of fallow deer grazing in the meadow. 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. There is an easy to reach wooden viewing platform for the whole family to watch the spectacle and a large grassy lawn, perfect for a picnic or a game of football or rounders afterwards. 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.

Suitable for: All ages

Opening Hours: Daily daylight access most of the year

Pricing: Free admission

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Beaulieu - Brockenhurst

Beaulieu is an award-winning family day out with one ticket granting access to countless, stunning attractions suitable for children and adults to enjoy a great day out together. Be amazed by over 250 vehicles in the world-famous National Motor Museum; from legendary F1 racers and land speed record breakers to classic cars dating back to 1875, it houses one of the finest collections of cars, motorcycles and motoring memorabilia in the world. See iconic cars from some of the most memorable and ambitious challenges from the TV show in World of Top Gear and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the cars and grounds from the ‘Skytrain’, a high-level monorail which passes right through the roof of the museum.

Located in the gorgeous, landscaped gardens of Beaulieu Estate, you can also see the magnificent rooms and treasures of Palace House and the ruins of the local abbey. If you don’t fancy walking, an open-topped replica of a 1912 London Bus will ferry you around the large estate. Kids will particularly love burning off some energy on the Dipstick’s Driving Circuit, the World of Top Gear Test Track Challenge or the Mini Motor Play Area.

Suitable for: All ages

Opening Hours: 27th March-24th September: Monday to Sunday 10:00-18:00, From 25th September: Monday to Sunday 10:00-17:00, Closed Christmas Day

Pricing: Adults £24.75, Kids (5-17) £12.50, Seniors (60+)/Students £23.75, Under-five’s Free, Family (two adults, three kids or one adult, four kids) £64.00

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Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway – Exbury

Kids will love getting back to nature at Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway, with beautiful gardens, an enchanting woodland full of unusual plants and 20 miles of meandering paths to get gloriously lost in. A Family Trail is available to purchase at the Visitor Entrance, which includes a fun map with questions, a word search and a packet of salad seeds to take home and sow.

Hop aboard the Steam Railway and enjoy a delightful 20-minute journey through the gardens where children can spot Exbury’s woodland creatures made from moss including rabbits, deer, a squirrel and owl; a lucky young passenger will be invited by the guard to wave the green flag to the driver to commence the journey. Be sure to check the website before your visit for details of special events throughout the year, including Ghost Trains and Seasonal Specials.

Visit Mr Eddy’s Tea Rooms to purchase a pick-your-own children’s lunch box and enjoy a relaxing picnic by the Jubilee Pond with its lazy koi carp and hovering dragonflies, an endless source of fascination for little ones. The Adventure Play Area featuring an Explorer Tower, Sky Walk Trail and Bird’s Nest Swing is ideal for children aged five to 11, whilst younger visitors will enjoy the Play Hut, Bucket Swing and climbing apparatus.

Suitable for: All ages

Opening Hours: Open daily from 12th March to 6th November from 10:00 until 18:00

Pricing: Gardens & Rail (separate tickets also available): Adults £15.50, Child £7.80, Family £43.30, Kids under three go free

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Marwell Zoo - Winchester

Unleash your little one’s wild side with a visit to Marwell Zoo, located in a stunning 140-acre park in Winchester. There are hundreds of different animals to meet including ring-tailed lemurs, gentle giraffes, waddling penguins and bat-eared foxes. Daily talks and animal feeds are a fun way for kids to get closer and learn more about their favourites, and there is a road train if little feet get tired to make sure they don’t miss a thing.

There are several adventure play areas where kids can climb like monkeys and swing like lemurs, and a wide range of food and drink outlets for parents to enjoy a well-earned break. What’s more, the knowledgeable zoo keepers are always on hand to help little guests learn all about the incredible range of exotic and endangered species.

Suitable for: All ages

Opening Hours: April to 9th July - Monday to Friday 10:00-17:00, Saturday and Sunday 10:00-18:00. 10th July to 4th September - Monday to Sunday 10:00-18:00, 5th September to 29th October - Monday to Sunday 10:00-17:00, 30th October to 31st December - Monday to Sunday 10:00-16:00, Closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Pricing: Adult (17+) £17.26, Child (3-16) £13.62, Under two Free, Family of four £57.22, Concession £14.99

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Go Ape Moors Valley – Ringwood

Little monkeys will love swinging through the trees at Go Ape Moors Valley, offering 1000m of high ropes and adrenaline-filled adventure courses. Brave a fun-filled three-hour course in the heart of the Hampshire woodland with activities ranging from rope ladders to skateboard zip wires, the Big U, a double Tarzan Swing and the perplexing Pendulum Pass. They even have a brand-new forest Segway experience where you can zoom off into the rolling countryside.

Safety gear is of course mandatory, and the trusty team are always there to guide you through the course.

Suitable for: Ages four and above (there are certain restrictions with some of the activities so please check the website before visiting)

Opening Hours: February to November - check website for details

Pricing: Tree Top Adventure - Adults (16+) £26, Children (10-15) £20, Tree Top Junior (all ages over one metre in height) £14, Forest Segway (10+) £32

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New Forest Wildlife Park – Ashurst

Experience a wildlife adventure deep in 25 acres of unspoilt woodland at the New Forest Wildlife Park. Get up close to indigenous species in their natural surroundings; see Sika, Fallow and Roe deer roaming freely throughout the park, excitable otters at feeding time, and a whole host of other fascinating animals including wolves, bison, Scottish wildcats, wallabies, adders, polecats and ferrets to name a few.

Friendly keepers are always on hand to provide further information, giving regular informative talks and feeding demonstrations throughout the day. There is also the opportunity for kids to take part in incredible Keeper Experiences, where they can become one of the team for the day and learn more about their favourite animals’ daily lives and habits.

Little and big kids alike will love the fantastic adventure playgrounds, ‘Go Wild’ and ‘Mini Go Wild’, full to the brim with zip wires, climbing ropes, swings, spider nets, sand pits and diggers – an unforgettable family day out!

Suitable for: All ages

Opening Hours: Autumn/Winter - Monday to Sunday 10:00-16:30, Spring/Summer - Monday to Sunday 10:00-17:30

Pricing: Adult £11.50, Child (3-16) £8.50, Family of four £35.00, Senior £10.25, Disabled Adult/Child £10.25/£6.95, Serving Military personnel (with ID) £10.25

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Buckler's Hard Museum – Beaulieu

Step back in time and discover the best-preserved example of an 18th century shipbuilding village in the world at Buckler’s Hard Maritime Museum. Children will be amazed to find out what it was like to live and work in this unique village, home to the ships built for Nelson’s fleet at Trafalgar. Characters are brought to life in the educational museum with historic displays and exhibitions, living history, fun quizzes and hands on activities. Follow the fun woodland trail and learn about the trees used in shipbuilding and if you’ve got time, catch a boat down river to birdwatch at the neighbouring North Solent National Nature Reserve.

Suitable for: All ages

Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00 from 25th March to 30th September, 10:00-16:30 from 1st October to 24th March

Pricing: Adults £6.90, Seniors (60+) £6.40, Children (5-17) £4.70, Family tickets £19.70

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Lepe Country Park – Exbury

Lepe Country Park is a lovely place to keep the whole family entertained with attractive beaches to build a sandcastle and paddle in the sea, scenic coastal walks, cliff tops to fly a kite and an adventure playground to let off some steam.

Pack a picnic and take in the spectacular views or visit the tearoom and indulge in some delicious locally sourced produce. Explore the beautiful landscape on a countryside walk, use the hide for a spot of birdwatching, or join in one of the family fun events that run throughout the year. It’s the perfect place to get out into the fresh air and enjoy some good old-fashioned fun in the countryside.

Suitable for: All ages

Opening Hours: Open every day, 07.30-20:00 or dusk, whichever is earliest

Pricing: Entry free. Parking April to November – two hours £2.30, four hours £4, all day £6. November to March – two hours £2.30, all day £4. Blue Badge holders and motorbikes are free

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If you're looking to stay close by and explore these attractions and the rest of the beautiful National Park, take a look at our full collection of cottages in the New Forest for some inspiration on where to base your next holiday.

Posted by Kate Atkin on 7th September 2017