It’s not all ambling, cycling and trotting in the New Forest; if you fancy a lovely day out then there are some pretty art galleries, stunning gardens and atractions a plenty! Here are four of our favourites:
Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway, New Forest
The Estate Office, Exbury, SO45 1AZ
Exbury Gardens are a real jewel in the heart of the New Forest and a great day out for all the family; however tiny your tot might be! The flowers are stunning throughout the summer and there are beautiful walks to be found throughout the gardens, with its world famous collection of plants, trees and shrubs and 200 acres full of woodland and glades, all easily accessible by well-kept pathways. You can also hop on the steam train for a delightful twenty minute steam journey around the gardens; the children will love it and you are sure to enjoy the stunning views! There is a café, gift shop and a plant centre.
Open daily 10am – 5.30pm
Tel: 023 8089 1203 www.exbury.co.uk
Beaulieu National Motor Museum, Palace House and Abbey
Beaulieu, Nr Brockenhurst, SO42 7ZN
Beautiful Beaulieu lies in the heart of the New Forest and has plenty to delight every member of the family. The National Motor Museum is a must-see for all car enthusiasts. However, there is so much more than just the magnificent motor collection at Beaulieu! There are bus rides aboard the 1912 Vintage open-topped London bus to be enjoyed and the monorail if you like your transport with a view, or for something quieter there’s the tranquil Abbey and the stunning Palace House and gardens. Your day out will be packed from start to finish!
Open daily 10am – 6pm
Tel: 01590 612123 www.beaulieu.co.uk
St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery
New Street, Lymington, SO41 9BH
This is quite simply one of the most toddler friendly museums in the UK!! Every display has an appropriate activity. There are farms to play with, fish to catch, dressing up, and many more activities. Every area of the museum has a corresponding children’s activity. There’s always a new exhibition running and staff at the museum go to great lengths to make sure that there is always plenty for kids to do. We’d highly recommend this little museum for parents of tots!
Open Mon – Sat 10am – 4pm
01590 676969 www.stbarbe-museum.org.uk
New Forest Otter, Owl and Wildlife Conservation Park
Deerleap Lane, Longdown, Marchwood, Southampton SO40 4UH
This magical wildlife centre is a truly memorable day out for young children. Watch the otters playing, then take a peek at the night barn where the badgers snore with their nocturnal pals, unaware of the visitors peering in.
You can spend hours wandering around the park, spotting the owls, wallabies and wild boar on the Wildlife Walkabout. There’s a great children’s quiz to keep the little ones engaged.
Open daily 10am – 5.30pm
02380 292408 www.ottersandowls.co.uk