Our Bench - New Forest Accessible Accommodation - Places to explore in the New Forest

Explore the New Forest

There are lots of places to visit and activities to try in 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.

New Forest Heritage Centre

The New Forest Heritage Centre is in Lyndhurst in the main car park - a town with lots of restuarants and tea rooms to explore and within walking distance of "Bolten Bench" the landmark hill at the base of the high street - which inspired the name of our holiday cottages. Head into the New Forest Centre and you can find our more about the forest history and traditions, learn about forest wildlife and conservation, and younger family members can get involved in the interactive activities. The museum is free to visit - New Forest Heritage Centre.

New Forest Wildlife Park

A chance to meet some of the native and some not so native woodland animals of the New Forest. See badgers, hedgehogs, foxes, all 5 species of deer that roam the forest, as well as otters, owls and more. There are opportunities to meet the keepers, woodland trails to follow, there is an impressive adventure playground for children surrounded by Red Deer. The Forest Kitchen Restaurant where you can stop for coffee or enjoy lunch. It is a woodland environment, they welcome scooters and wheelchairs but suggest you contact them for specific access concerns. Open all year, more details at New Forest Wildlife.

Liberty's Owl, Raptor and Reptile Centre

Just outside the village of Burley, at Liberty's you will find a wide range of birds on display and get to enjoy daily flying displays. There is a reptile house to explore, all weather flying and they offer fantastic photography workshop and falconary and owl experience days if you were wanting to add a wow surprise to your holiday. More details of Libertys

Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World

Did you know that Paultons Park is the UK's number 1 family theme park and it is here in the New Forest. There are a variety of big rides, small rides, play areas, live entertainment, animals and birds all set within 140 acres of landscapped parkland. Peppa Pig World is a must for any preschoolers and includes a fantastic indoor playzone and for older children there are dinosaure to find. Christmas at Paultons is definitely worth booking... so come and stay for a winter break and book in advance to see Santa in his grotto as it is a really magical experience. It is useful to know that wheelchair or scooter dependent guests have free admission and they have a queue assist policy - more details can be found here. More details about Paultons Park are on their website.

Beaulieu

Just outside the peaceful village of Beaulieu you will find the world renown National Motor Museum - discover everything land speed record breakers, F1 cars, to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and cars made from lego - alongside this there is Palace House where you can step back in time with their costumed tour guides, the historic Beaulieu Abbey and discover the impact that Beaulieu had on the 2nd World War. To make exploring easier they have a limited number of electric scooters which you can hire free of charge (advance booking recommended) - disabled guests get a concessionary rate and carers have free admission. Buy tickets at least 24 hours in advance to save money and you can return for free within 6 days - so make sure you pick up your pass on the way out if you did not complete everything you wanted to do! Beaulieu.

Buckler's Hard

Buckler's Hard is on the Beaulieu River, this is an 18th Century ship building village, there is a maritime museum telling the story of Bucker's Hard, river cruises, living history, a ship wrights workshop and more to explore. There is a tea room or if you fancy something stronger a pint of local ale at the Master Builders, as well as picnic areas in the sunshine overlooking the river. Due to the age of the site there are some access restrictions but these are detailed on their web site. There are savings available for advance ticket purchase too. There is an option to walk from Beaulieu to Bucklers Hard, via a gravel foothpath enjoying some of the river views. You can view a walking route here. Find out more about this historic village.

Lepe Country Park

Lepe Country Park is right on the sea shore, the car park overlooks the beach which is accessible by ramp acess. There is a fantastic cafe called "The Lookout" which overlooks the Solent, ramped access as it a raised building and on cooler days, a roaring woodburner keeps away the chill. You can enjoy the beach, coastal walks and their nature area - all for the price of parking your car. The pond dipping is accessible with platforms at the side of the pond and there is a Landeez all terrain wheelchair available to use - this is bookable. More details - visit Lepe.

Exbury Gardens

A beautiful landscaped garden, 200 acres to explore - renowned for its spring and autumn colours. Explore the gardens, enjoy a ride on the narrow steam railway and have fun in the adventure playground! Carers have free admission, there is free wheelchair hirer on a first come first served basis at the main entrance, the train has been adapted for wheelchairs and chauffeur driven buggy tours of the garden are available too. Discover Exbury.

Longdown Activity Farm

A wonderful family run farm - lots of hands of animal handling, some great play areas, tractor rides and animal feeding. We just love bottle feeding the goats and calves. The farm encourages accessible guests with a changing spaces facility which is available to all. More details

Moors Valley Country Park

An amazing woodland area - a huge adventure playtrail for children, a miniature railway, a lake to fish from, an awesome play park, golf, Go Ape, bike hire, Battlefield Live, Segway and more ... lots of activities and fun for all the family. They have two trampers available to book as part of the countryside mobility scheme, which are available free of charge. They have accessible toilets and an adult changing room. They have even produced a visual story for visitors with Autism. There is a lovely cafe for lunch too. Explore Moors Valley

Hurst Castle

This huge English Heritage castle was built by Henry VIII, it is an amazing place to explore BUT it is a mile and a half along a shingle spit. Your can also get their by boat, however there is limited access for wheelchair users, but it is a fantastic place for children to explore with lots of stairs to climb, dark passageways and views over the Solent. It is usually quiet quiet, unless there is an event on - so is a great place for guests seeking quieter locations to explore. There is a cafe - and all the supplies are brought in along the gravel spit. Hurst Castle.

Furzey Gardens

Discover an enchanted informal woodland garden complete with fairy doors, a children's playground, accessible paths and a delightful tea room to explore. Furzey is run as a social enterprise supporting people with learning difficulties and they host a variety of events during the year. Access for disabled visitors and their carer is free. More details on Furzey Gardens

Blashford Lakes

A fantastic location for bird watching, managed by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust - there are 8km of rolled gravel paths to explore, gates accessible by Radar key and bird hides with ramped access. There are two Tramper All-Terrain Mobility Scooters; available to hire by prior arrangement. (Telephone: 01425 472760) to arrange - more details on Blashford.

Changing Places

Changing places in LymingtonThere are a few changing places around the New Forest, the ones that we are aware of include the public toilets in Lymington (SO41 3SE), New Milton Public Toilets (BH25 6EB), Boscome Pier Toilets (BH5 1BN), West Quay Shopping Centre in Southampton (SO15 1BA)

The ones situated inside tourist attractions includes Londown Activity Farm (SO41 7EH), Moors Valley Country Park (BH24 2ET), Paultons Park (SO51 6AL), Lepe Country Park (SO45 1AD) The Quays Swimming and Diving complex in Southampton (SO15 1BA)

Barton on Sea

Sloped footpath down from the cliff top at Barton on Sea

Lepe Country Park

Lepe Country Park with their amazing views accross the Solent

Testwood Lakes Nature Reserve

Resting in the sunshine at Testwood Lakes, near Totton

New Forest Wildlife

A chance to meet the animals at New Forest Wildlife Park near Ashurst.

lounge with riser recliner chair

Family fun for the whole day at Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World

Wheelchair Bikes in the New Forest

Miles of cycle paths to explore - or try out a bike with New Forest Pedall

Activity Ideas

Pedall - New Forst Inclusive Cycling

Pedall runs cycling sessions for people who need support. They have a huge variety of bikes from Platform Bikes - wheelchair cycles, hand cyyles, upright tricycles, side by side tandems, rear steer tandems to semi recumbent bikes - sessions run through out the year, they recommend a starter session and then you can join them on a one to two hour guided cycle. More details

Cycle Hire

Cycle Experience at Brockenhurst provide a range of bikes to hire and information on recommended routes. If you are looking for more inclusive bikes - they do have some specialist bikes available for hire too. Bike Hire

Horse Riding

There are a variety of opportunities to ride a horse around the New Forest - some offer walks within their own grounds, others will take you out into the New Forest National Park - Burley Villa welcomes rides of all abilities - and has special offer treats on their website which include Western Style riding and a BBQ lunch. Burley Villa

Calshot Activity Centre

Calshot is one of the UK's largest outdoor activity centres - there are a range of activities from dry slope skiing to a climbing wall, action adventure days for children, a velodrom and water based activities - more details

Canoeing, Kayaking, Archery or Bushcraft

New Forest activities at Beaulieu offer a variety of activities on and off the water all year round - if you want to have a real adventure and try something new - check out - New Forest Activities - for their changing program of events.

Go Ape High Ropes Course and Full Throttle Segways

If you are looking to climb to new heights this holiday, there is a fantastic high ropes course at Moors Valley - The Go Ape and Segway need advance booking... for both this activities a certain amount of fitness is required - if you can climb up a rope ladder you should be fine for the High Ropes and for Segways you will be standing for an hour. Details of their accessibilty guidlines are here, best to check before booking. Go Ape at Moors Valley

Wild Play

Playing outdoors in a natural environment, building dens, jumping in puddles, clambering over fallen logs and making mud pies is what wild play is all about and much, much more! Opportunities for free play offer countless benefits to children and often are the source of standout childhood memories. Part of the joy of wild play is its simplicity, there is no need for any complicated equipment, just you, your family and some good old wellie boots! Leave the toys and computers at home, get your imagination in gear and start exploring.

Wild play takes places throughout the New Forest inclosures and if you look carefully you can see evidence of dens and rope swings that others have left for you to find.

New Forest Water Park

New Forest Waterpark offers cable wakeboard, an Aqua Park, stand up paddle boarding and kayaking on their lake in the New Forest, which can all be viewed from the lakeside clubhouse. Note: Their outdoor changing block is accessible but there are no disabled toilets on site.

Walking Picnics

Guided walks in the New Forest National park with seasonal produce, pointing out the amazing local wildlife and the history of the New Forest, they normally walk between 3 to 4 miles and take groups of about 6 people. If you have particular walking needs or dietary requirements they are happy to discuss building a walk for you. More details: Walking Picnics

More Places to explore

Milford on Sea

Milford on Sea is a seaside village about 6 miles away, you can park overlooking the sea and there is a tarmac path along the sea front - it changes to compact gravel and you can continue then along the cliff top. There are greats views to the Isle of Wight, a children's play area and coffee at the Needles Eye Cafe. Time it right and there is beautiful pink sea clover blowing in the wind on the cliff top.

New Forest Walks

There are lots of walks throughout the New Forest National Park that are accessible - they usually on firm gravel through the enclosures - many of them incoporating cycle routes or circular trails. When you arrive at your holiday cottage, you'll find a map you can borrow and some information about of our favorite walks.

Barton On Sea

Another cliff top location, but apart from a lovely cafe - The Beach Comber - at the top of the cliff. There is a slope down to the sea and you can enjoy watching the waves crash onto the beach with paragliders in the sky overhead, when the wind is right it really is quite special.

The Bakehouse

A bakery in the village of Brockenhurst and they sell the most amazing doughnuts! They do great pastries, lardy cake and other delightful treats too. We think they are the best doughnuts in the New Forest! Best eaten on the day.. (SO42 7RB) so drive on to the Ornamental Drive and enjoy your treats overlooking the forest! The Bakehouse.

Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary

In the heart of the New Forest - Boldrewood is one of the best places to see Deer in the New Forest, as they are fed their daily from April to September in the afternoons. A free location with disabled toilets available and some great spots nearby for a picnic! Details here.

The New Forest Reptile Centre

Near Lyndhurst - the New Forest Reptile centre encourages you to find out more about the New Forest Reptiles with frog and snake pits to explore, bird quizzes and a signposted trail. More details.

Car Parks

There is a variety of car park through out the New Forest where you can park, walk the forest or sit back and admire the view. Each car park is individually named so we have included this handy map.

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.