There are lots of places to visit and activities within a couple of hours of the New Forest National Park. We have included a variety of ideas and suggestions that you might like to explore - some places have an admission fee, some may need booking in advance of your stay, some are seasonal and others are open all year. Not every activity will be accessible to everyone - so please check first if you have specific requirements or access needs. These are some of our favorites, but we would suggest carrying out your own research too!
Love animals - then why not plan a day trip to the zoo and discover Marwell's penguins, giraffes and big cats. There are 140 acres to explore - a land train (takes one wheelchair), daily talks and animal feeds and an adventure playground too. They were the first zoo in the UK to install a Changing places facility, they also offer a sensory trail mp3 which you can download in advance. Marwell Zoo.
A fun theme park and indoor play world - Wild Things - ideal for family fun and adventure. Theme park rides, live shows, and seasonal entertainment, level paths, wheelchairs available (first come first served) - more details
A fantastic heritage railway in Hampshire with a variety of events through out the year - they have two wheelchair accessible carriages, please see website or telephone 01962 733810 for up-to-date information about operating times. It makes a great day out for all the family. Watercress Line.
An amazing safari park - in fact it is the UK's number 1, there is a drive through safari to enjoy, Longleat House and gardens to discover, an Adventure Castle offering a dream playground for children, a river cruise to see the Gorillas, a giant maze and a railway. They host the Mobiloo on several dates during the year, and hold an active programme of events - the Festival Light each winter is stunning, the ballooning events in the summer incredible, well worth the drive. Longleat.
Park at Highcliffe Castle, walk through the grounds and on to the Nature reserve - from there you can enjoy a tarmac walk down to the sea and along the promenade all the way to Mudeford Harbour, there are kioisks for coffee, a tea room and a pub at the end of the walk - along with an accessible toilet and then you can walk back again along the promenade next to the sandy shore looking out accross Christchurch Bay, or in summer - this is a great place for sandcastles - are nearest sandy beach.
We love this place - 19 acres of ramparts, outer fortifications, underground tunnels and more in this restored Victorian Fort run by the Royal Armouries and amazingly it is free for everyone. There are ramps to most of the site, the galleries are stunning containing some of the biggest guns ever made and you can enjoy a glimpse into the past with the barrack rooms, hospital and kitchen. Fort Nelson.
Hengistbury Head is a fascinating places for its wider variety of habitats, explore heathland, grassland, freshwater wetland and the coastline. There are smooth tarmac paths to follow, a fantastic visitors centre and there is an accessible route to the top of the headland. There is a wheelchair friendly land train too, which is great if you don't want to talk to far, it departs regularily near the car park. More details
The chance to learn about the armoured warfare from World War one to present day - six large halls to explore and over 300 vehicles regarded as the best collection in the world. The site is fitted with broad paths, lifts and ramps so it is easy to get around. This is an incredible museum a and a great insight into our miltary history. Find out more - the Tank Museum.
Money World is a well known Dorset attraction, famous for its Monkeys. It is a great place for families to explore together. Dual Control and manual wheelchairs are available for visitors as well as motorised scooters - so you can explore the park with ease - they even have a wheelchair swing in the child's playarea! More details.
Winchester with it's Christmas Markets, Catherdral and historic Round Table.
One of the big cats at Marwell Zoo.
The Watercress Line for a great family day out.
Take time to explore Salisbury and Stonehenge.
Spend time in Bournemouth - they have a regular event programme including the Air Show every August.
Spend a day on the Isle of Wight, regular crossing from Lymington. This was taken at the Needles Pleasure Park.
As well as individual attractions to visit for a day, there are towns, cities and islands that we would recommend taking the time to explore - there is usually something there for everyone, so we have just included a few key places to start looking at... there are many more.
The ferry to the Isle of Wight regularily departs from Lymington, discounts are available for disabled guests and extra room for your vehicle can also be booked through their website if required - Wightlink Discount. It is lovely to take the car across to the Island, drive round to Colwell Bay and enjoy a walk along the promende overlooking the sandy beach to Totland Bay, alternatively you can visit one of the many attractions on the Island. What to do on the Island that is accessible is a handy guide to choose where you might like to visit, during your day trip.
The city of Portsmouth is home to Gunwharf Quays, a fantastic outlet shopping centre alongside Portsmouth harbour with the shop mobility scheme available. You can experience one of the highest views in the south, by going up the Spinnaker Tower, enjoy discovering our Navy Heritage at the Portsmouth Dockyards, Mary Rose museum or on a harbour boat trip tour.
One of the wonders of the world - you can explore the ancient landscape and exhibition centre at Stonehenge - explore the neolithic houses, enjoy a 360 audio visual seasonal view from inside the stones in the visitors centre and walk around the stone circle. Pop into Salisbury and discover the beautiful Cathedral - home to the Magna Carta, discover the ancient fort of Old Sarum, or even take up the challenge of an Escape Room! If you are looking for a wow treat - Salisbury is a great sky diving location and is a popular spot for Hot Air Balloon rides.
The city of Southampton has a fantastic shopping centre - West Quay, complete with changing places facilities and shopmobility. There is a fantastic outdoor event space surrounded by restaurants, bowling, cinemas and more. The Mayflower Theatre regularily hosts West End Shows, the Sea City Museum enables you to disover more about the Titantic whose final sailing was from Southampton. There is lots to discover.
The south's favorite seaside town, miles of sandy beaches - with a road train and tarmac promenade, two fantastic piers, beautiful gardens and home to some fantastic indoor entertainment - bowling, zip wires, cinemas, night clubs, oceanarium and more. Bournemouth also hosts some amazing events during the year - include the south coast largest free air festival - the Bournemouth Air Show, the Christmas tree festival, various beach and watersports events, plus fireworks every Friday evening during the summer holidays. There are cliff lifts, disabled access beach huts you can hire for the day. Changing places facilities and beach wheelchairs available. Accessible Seafront.
Winchester is home to one of the largest Cathedrals in Europe as well as being famous for being the home of King Arthur's Round Table. On the 2nd and last Sunday of the month it hosts one of the UK's largest farmer markets and has a regular program of events including the Winchester Hat Fair which is the longest running festival of outdoor arts. There is lots of history to discover, and just outside Winchester you will discover the Winchester Science centre and planetarium, a brillant interactive venue to explore whatever the weather. Perfect for inquisitive children.
Owned by the National Trust and in the middle of Poole Harbour, Brownsea Island is the home to scouting, the red squirrel and some amazing wildlife. In 2016, an accessible landing craft was purchased to enable wheelchair users to visit the Island - The Brownsea Seahorse. An electric buggy service and all terrain wheelchairs are also available on the island.
NB - * We don't feel this is accesible to wheelchairs or power users, but they facilities may have been updated - we advise you check if you require this.